The Singapore casino market is likely to recover in 2022, driven by a high Covid-19 vaccination rate domestically and the opening up of inbound travel, said Robert Goldstein, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp, the parent of the promoter of the Marina Bay Sands gaming resort (pictured) in the city state.
“I think there will be a big turn in 2022, and the recovery will begin in ’22,” said the executive, during the group’s third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.
“When we get back to US$1.7 [billion] and maybe beyond that in EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation], I don’t know,” added Mr Goldstein.
The Singapore government had approached the whole opening up process with “a lot of leadership and thoughtfulness,” he added.
The Singapore market was not dependent on customers from mainland China, he noted. “We can still make a lot of money: maybe a billion and a half [U.S.] dollars without Chinese input,” said Mr Goldstein.
In response to an analyst’s question, the Las Vegas Sands boss said he thought there was “no chance… whatsoever” that the company would not be operating casino business in Macau beyond June 2022 when its current licence expires.
The executive said he was “beyond confident that we will be operating in Macau.” He added: “I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever that we wouldn’t be. I’m not saying that rhetorically.”
Mr Goldstein stated: “Every indication we have got is the opposite. I’m very proud of our track record, proud of our development, and our investment.”
“I think the government has recognised we have been an awfully good licensee and partner, and friend of China and of Macau,” added Mr Goldstein.
Regarding a proposal from the Macau government that it should vet casino operator plans to issue dividends to investors, Mr Goldstein said that after operating for two decades in Macau, “we have never found the government to be not thoughtful”.
Noting the initial concerns of investors, with a big fall in Macau casino operator stock prices the day after the September announcement, the CEO said: “We don’t have those concerns.”
“We are assuming that the process” post June 2022 “will be fair and equal”.
“They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue at all,” Mr Goldstein added.
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Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office