Las Vegas Sands has exited the city it was named after. On Wednesday, the company announced that it has sold all of its property in the city, including the famed Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center for $6.25 billion.
Taking ownership of the real estate will be real estate investment trust VICI Properties, spun off from Caesars Entertainment in 2017. VICI is paying $4.0 billion for the privilege, while an “affiliate of funds managed by affiliates of” Apollo Global Management is buying the operating assets and liabilities of Sands’ Las Vegas businesses for the remaining $2.25 billion.
Normally, this would sound like the typical landlord/tenant setup that we have seen with numerous casino sales over the last few years. VICI owns the property, Apollo pays rent. And that’s what it is.
The difference here, though, is that Apollo’s expertise is real estate management. It is not a casino and hotel operator. Thus, we still have the question as to who is actually going to operate the Venetian. Caesars is certainly a possibility, considering its close relationship with Caesars; Caesars operates VICI’s two other Las Vegas properties, Harrah’s Las Vegas and Caesars Palace.
And so Las Vegas Sands leaves Las Vegas, moving on to focus on its properties in Macau and Singapore, where the company makes the bulk of its revenue. In fact, now that the company will no longer have a casino presence in Las Vegas, it is dropping the city name and just calling itself “Sands.”
The company called Wednesday “bittersweet,” as it leaves behind its history.
“The Venetian changed the face of future casino development and cemented Sheldon Adelson’s legacy as one of the most influential people in the history of the gaming and hospitality industry,” said Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive officer Robert Goldstein. “As we announce the sale of The Venetian Resort, we pay tribute to Mr. Adelson’s legacy while starting a new chapter in this company’s history.”
While Sands will focus on continuing to develop its Asia properties and the communities in which they operate, the company said it is still exploring expansion in the United States.
Interestingly, the company has also indicated it is open to the possibility of online gambling. The company’s recently deceased founder, Sheldon Adelson, was online poker’s public enemy number one. He worked for years to not only stop the spread of online poker, but make it illegal altogether, using his massive political clout to influence the Trump Department of Justice.