Las Vegas Sands Eyes Thai Casino Market Amid Stalled New York Permit Quest

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Las Vegas Sands, one of the largest gaming firms globally valued by the marketplace, has found itself pitted against time and ongoing legal issues in its pursuit of a New York casino permit. While complications persist on American soil, the company’s gaze towards Thailand is met with optimism and anticipation of better opportunities.

The officials of the gaming giant expressed their growing frustration regarding the delay in New York’s bidding process during Wednesday’s conference call with analysts, which followed the company’s first-quarter earnings report.

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In response to UBS analyst Robin Farley’s query, Las Vegas Sands’ CFO Patrick Dumont opened up about the company’s disappointment regarding the slow-paced process. What was once hopeful anticipation of the start of the bidding process this year has now transformed into the glum acceptance that it might not happen until 2025 or 2026.

“We don’t have any real clarity,” lamented Dumont. He further admitted the process to be complex and disappointing. Given the amount of work and time invested in New York, the present scenario has left the CFO with little guidance on the matter.

Las Vegas Sands has set its sights on solidifying its presence in Uniondale by constructing a $6 billion casino hotel at the site of Nassau Coliseum.

As the year began, the New York gaming giant hoped that the New York Gaming Commission and other regulatory bodies would be able to encourage bids from almost a dozen companies chasing the three coveted downstate licenses. The allure was an expected budget benefit from the application fees.

However, in a surprising move, the budget for the ongoing financial year presented by Gov. Kathy Hochul left out the receipts related to those application costs. It also didn’t factor in the anticipated $500 million, or possibly more, that the triumphant bidders would pay to the state for the licenses.

Legal and zoning complications facing some gaming companies further add to the delay in the process. Of note, Hofstra University has sued Las Vegas Sands, alleging that the company’s lease agreement with Nassau County violated the state’s open meeting laws. The case, presently moving through New York’s higher courts, casts a dark cloud over the future of the company in the city.

“Uncertainty shrouds New York,” said Dumont during the call. He wished for more transparency and direction from the city officials and expressed hope for a timely resolution.

Whilst the New York process trudges along, Las Vegas Sands is simultaneously eyeing opportunities in Thailand. In stark contrast to New York, the Thai casino process is progressing at an impressive pace. The idea of establishing entertainment districts equipped with casino hotels is gaining traction and shows real potential of government approval this year.

Las Vegas Sands’ interest in Thailand seems natural given the company’s powerful standing in the Asia-Pacific gaming industry. The CEO of Las Vegas Sands, Rob Goldstein, expressed this interest, acknowledging that the Thai market is scintillating on many levels. He praised the country’s population sizes, accessibility, and the people’s readiness to travel domestically.

“It is inarguable to deny Thailand’s position as the number one resort destination city in Asia,” Goldstein remarked. While the future remains uncertain in New York, the gaming giant eagerly awaits opportunities in Taiwan, expecting the tides to turn in their favour.