International casino group Las Vegas Sands Corp wants to become “a strategic investor in digital gaming technologies,” said the firm in a release on Monday. The push – to be “focused primarily on the business-to-business space” – is to be led by Davis Catlin, a former executive at United States-based investment firm Sands Capital Management LLC. The latter is unrelated to the Las Vegas Sands group.
Las Vegas Sands did not announce much detail regarding its planned investment in the digital gaming sector. The firm neither disclosed the size of the planned investment nor potential targets or preferred areas of interest. The group did not mention any timetable for implementing the strategy, but company chairman and chief executive Robert Goldstein said Las Vegas Sands was “investing for the long term.”
Las Vegas Sands is the parent of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd, and of Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd, the operator of the Marina Bay Sands casino resort in Singapore.
Quoted in the company’s Monday press release, Mr Goldstein pointed out that “digital gaming and other related offerings are still very much in the early stages of development.” He added that management at Las Vegas Sands believed there was “an outstanding opportunity” for the company to invest in the sector, and that investments in digital gaming technology would “deliver significant returns for the company and its shareholders”.
He added: “We believe our company’s platform, expertise and financial resources, together with the investment team led by Davis, will provide meaningful opportunities to make investments that will generate significant long-term benefits for the company.”
The man responsible for leading Las Vegas Sands’ foray into digital gaming, Mr Catlin, previously worked for 14 years at Sands Capital Management. “For the last decade, Mr Catlin led that firm’s investments in both public and private companies in digital gaming,” Las Vegas Sands said in its press release.
The casino company announced in March an agreement to sell its Las Vegas, Nevada venues and operations for US$6.25 billion. The firm said at the time that it was “focused on reinvestment in Asia and high-growth opportunities in new markets.”
During the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, held in June, and hosted by brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd, Mr Goldstein stated Las Vegas Sands was not exiting the U.S. market and mentioned, under questioning, that with regard to online gaming, it was “committed to being in that space… not just in the U.S,” but also possibly in either Canada, Europe or South America.
The Las Vegas Sands executive stressed at the conference he was “steadfast” in his belief that China would not open up to legalised online gambling.
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