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Las Vegas Sands Corp. Flexes Trade Show Muscles in Macao

Several Multi-Year Trade Shows Already Signed Up for The Venetian Macao
LAS VEGAS, May 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) today added to its trade show presence in Asia by announcing that the company has negotiated and signed contracts for five multi-year trade shows that combined represent 13 separate events. The company also said it has received several new letters of intent from other trade show organizers and is working with a large pipeline of shows which it expects to sign up by the end of 2006.

"Almost every week the momentum of our Cotai Strip(TM) development reaches a new level," said Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. "Whether it's another addition to our distinguished list of hotel brands, exciting entertainment acts like Cirque du Soleil, or the finest and most exclusive names in retail, all the pieces of the puzzle needed to create Asia's Las Vegas(TM) continue to fall into place."

The following is a short profile of three of the five multi-year trade shows contracted to take residence at The Venetian Macao(TM), a destination resort situated on the Cotai Strip in Macao, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China:

Asian Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo -- Produced by William T. Glasgow, Inc., the Asian Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo will follow in the footsteps of the successful AAPEX shows in Mexico City, Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas show is the 34th largest show in the United States with almost 500,000 net square feet of exhibition space, over 2,000 exhibiting companies, and hosting 80,000 attendees each year. The Asian Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo is booked for two annual shows with the first taking place in 2008.

"Our relationship with WT Glasgow began more than 15 years ago when they were the first customer of the Sands Expo and Convention Center," said William Weidner, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. "As we have grown, so have they and we look forward to bringing this highly successful show to Asia together."

CMP Asia Jewelry and Watch Show -- Organized by CMP Asia Ltd, this show will be a complementary event to the very successful Hong Kong Jewelry and Watch Fair. The Hong Kong event is Asia's largest jewelry fair and one of the top three events of its kind in the world and the 18th largest tradeshow in Asia. In 2005, the Fair attracted 811 exhibitors from 26 countries and regions, and 19,603 visitors from 102 countries and regions. The Jewelry and Watch Show will open at The Venetian Macao in January 2008.

"We anticipate this to be the first of several shows we sign with CMP Asia and while they are new to our international network of trade show organizers, it clearly illustrates the importance of our long history in the business," said Weidner. "Our company has a deep understanding of the needs of these organizers. We can provide them with the best resources to plan and execute their events and more importantly we can anticipate their needs and react swiftly to meet those needs."

Global Gaming Expo Asia -- Organized by Reed Exhibitions, the largest show organizer in the world and close partner of Las Vegas Sands, Global Gaming Expo Asia (GGEA) is initially booked for two annual shows with the first taking place in 2008. The Global Gaming Expo Asia is modeled after the successful Global Gaming Expo (G2E) which is held annually in Las Vegas and is the 78th largest tradeshow held in the United States, occupying almost 300,000 net square feet of exhibition space with 720 exhibiting companies and 17,000 attendees.

"Reed Exhibitions and Las Vegas Sands have a long and significant history together. Over the years, we have worked with them on a countless number of shows and to this day most of the major shows they hold in Las Vegas are right here in our building," concluded Weidner.

The Cotai Strip is a master planned development of resort, hotel and casino properties on Cotai, an area of reclaimed land between the islands of Taipa and Coloane in Macao. Las Vegas Sands is developing The Venetian Macao, which is currently under construction, as well as hotel projects including a Four Seasons Hotel, Starwood's Sheraton and St. Regis brands, a Shangri-La Hotel and a Traders Hotel, and a Hilton Hotel and Conrad Hotel.

Statements in this press release, which are not historical facts, are "forward looking" statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties or other factors beyond the Company's control, which may cause material differences in actual results, performance or other expectations. These factors include, but are not limited to general economic conditions, competition, new ventures, government regulation, legalization of gaming, interest rates, future terrorist acts, insurance, and other factors detailed in the reports filed by Las Vegas Sands Corp. with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Source : Press Release
 

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Sands Macao Hotel to Open Late October

Las Vegas Sands Corp. continues its expansion in Macau with the announcement of the new Sands Macao Hotel.


The new 24-story hotel is situated next to casino Sands Macao, which opened in 2004. The hotel adds 289 suites, seven restaurants, a heated rooftop swimming pool and a 660-seat theater to the 800 table games and 1500 slot machines in the casino.

The Sands Macao Hotel will be the second casino hotel opened by the chairman of Las Vegas Sands, American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who hopes to transform Macau into a top vacation spot.

The casino operator opened its massive new casino and hotel resort The Venetian Macao last month in the former Portuguese colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1999.

“We are now uniquely positioned in Macao to offer all the integrated amenities necessary as a destination to attract a diverse range of multi-night visitors,” said Mark Brown, president of Sands Macao and the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel.

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Las Vegas is Catching up With Macau

Even as Macau’s new resorts become more like those on the Strip, their American owners see them as a gateway to Las Vegas for Asian players

When the Macau government opened its gambling market to foreign investment a few years ago, it sought companies that could help transform the Chinese seaport from a seedy outpost into a top luxury resort destination where gambling is but one of many popular attractions.

The former Portuguese colony wanted to accomplish what it had taken about 40 years to achieve in Las Vegas, where at least half of the Strip’s revenue is generated beyond the casino floor.

One of Macau’s top choices for the job was Las Vegas Sands, a company officials wanted so badly they created a new ownership system, called a subconcession, to accommodate it. The subconcession with Galaxy Entertainment, a Hong Kong construction supplier with political contacts, would pave the way for Las Vegas Sands to begin work on the Asian equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip.

Although tourists might not be booking shopping trips soon, experts say the Sands’ Venetian Macau, the $2.4 billion replica of its Las Vegas resort that opened last month, already is accelerating Macau’s Vegas-like transformation by growing that market.

That growth has big implications for Las Vegas, where the Venetian and competitor Wynn Las Vegas are using Las Vegas attractions together with their Macau operations to cultivate a new crop of Asian high rollers.

With 3,000 rooms, a 550,000-square-foot casino floor, 1 million square feet of retail and a 1.2 million - square-foot convention center, the Venetian Macau is the second - largest building in the world and boasts the world’s largest casino.

The Venetian Macau’s convention center is about as big as the Las Vegas version (excluding the company’s adjacent Sands Expo Center) but has a mall that’s more than twice as large - in a region with little convention or retail space.

Venetian Macau drew more than 500,000 people in its first week, with daily foot traffic surpassing that of the largest and most profitable resorts on the Strip.

“This property completely changes the market,” said Bill Lerner, a stock analyst with Deutsche Bank.

Historically, Macau has been a high roller market, attracting the rich from Hong Kong, less than an hour away by ferry, and mainland China.

A few years ago the Chinese government loosened travel visa restrictions to Macau, boosting tourism to the special administrative region.

What has most surprised Wall Street in recent months isn’t the boom in mass-market gamblers but the rise in high roller play, which is growing from a much larger base. (Unlike Nevada, Macau’s government separates mass market from high roller gaming revenue.)

Some of these high rollers - those willing to gamble from tens of thousands to millions of dollars per trip - are among China’s newly minted millionaire entrepreneurs. Others are players from Japan, Taiwan and Korea - who might have previously avoided Macau’s dingy casinos for more luxurious resorts in Australia and Malaysia.

“Two years ago people thought there would be no more growth in high roller gambling. You now have five-star properties with the opening of Wynn and Venetian and they’re attracting new customers,” Lerner said.

That’s good news for Las Vegas resorts.

There’s clear evidence that, more than ever before, high rollers familiarized with the Wynn and Venetian brands in Macau are being wined and dined on the Strip.

Revenue from baccarat, the game of choice for Asian high rollers, was up 22 percent on the Strip in July from a year ago. Baccarat revenue over the past year was $916 million, growing twice as fast as revenue from blackjack, which generated $1.5 billion. Revenue for pai gow, another game favored by Asian players, grew 37 percent, faster than that of any other card game measured by the state.

If Macau’s new resorts rival the Strip’s, why would Asian gamblers bother making the trip halfway around the world?

For the same reason domestic players do, so they and their entourage can take advantage of a wider variety of amenities, intended as high roller freebies, a mere walk or short car ride from the casino.

For Asian players, visits are usually triggered by special events such as Chinese New Year or a title fight. Events centers such as the Venetian Macau’s 15,000-seat arena will bring more Las Vegas-style events to the region. One example is a series of exhibition games with NBA players and tennis pros held in conjunction with the resort’s debut. But for variety and number of events, Las Vegas is king.

In that respect, the Wynn and Venetian casinos in Macau, destined to be more profitable than their Las Vegas counterparts by virtue of sheer gambling volume, also serve as superior marketing offices for the companies’ Las Vegas resorts.

“That’s where the fish are and you have to fish where the fish are,” said Larry Woolf, who runs the casino management company Navegante Group and has worked in Macau. “It’s about staying close to your customer. The more you’re with your customer the more you find out their wants and needs, like whether their wives love Elton John or take special shopping trips.”

With more amenities to offer, Las Vegas becomes an added attraction for big players cultivated in Macau, he said.

How closely Macau will eventually resemble Las Vegas isn’t clear. On a revenue basis, analysts say, the addition of more non gambling amenities will never catch up with the growth in gambling revenue, which now tops $7 billion - including the value chips the casinos give to high rollers that they play with and lose - and is expected to exceed $10 billion by 2010. At least $5 billion of that is now generated by high rollers. Excluding given-away chips , the Strip generated $6.8 billion in gambling revenue over the year that ended July 31.

Non gambling revenue in Macau is negligible today but might eventually become 20 percent of the total, Lerner said.

Some experts say Macau visitors might eventually stay for two days - less than the typical four-day, three-night stay for Las Vegas visitors.

Longer visits may be elusive for Macau because many customers are factory owners who don’t have the kind of free time to which Americans are accustomed, Woolf said. Many gamblers take the ferry trip from Hong Kong and return the same day.

The rapid transformation of Macau, with more than $20 billion in casino resorts in the pipeline, can’t be understated.

The slew of recent openings might be something like witnessing, within three years, the rise of 20 or so of the modern mega-resorts built in Las Vegas over nearly two decades.

Families have flocked to the Venetian Macau in recent weeks. Analysts also noted some vacant slot machines and tables. Such details are part of the Las Vegas landscape but newer to Macau, where gamblers will stand two to three people deep waiting for a seat to play.

“What’s amazing is that there are so many other things to do at Venetian Macau besides gamble,” Morgan Stanley stock analyst Celeste Mellet Brown said.

“You used to go into a property and see almost everything that’s happening by standing in the middle of the gaming floor. I saw buses full of people lined up to go to the Venetian and when they got there they kind of disappeared, dispersing inside the property.”

Much like they do in Las Vegas.

Courtesy : Las Vegas Sun

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Las Vegas Sands says going concern doubts removed

NEW YORK (AP) -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. said Monday that doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern have been removed after the completion of an offering of common stock, preferred stock and warrants provided about $2.1 billion of additional capital.

The Las Vegas-based casino operator's independent accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the actions taken Friday have helped to erase worries about the company's ability to continue to operate.

Las Vegas Sands also said it reissued 2007 financials and now feels it has enough liquidity and capital resources to fund ongoing operations and fulfill its new development plans.

Friday, Las Vegas Sands said it sold 200 million common shares for $5.50 apiece for $1.1 billion, which included 18.2 million shares purchased by the underwriters. The company also sold 5.2 million units consisting of one share of preferred stock plus a warrant to buy stock at $6 a share. The units sold for $100 each.

Founder and Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson and his wife also purchased roughly 5.25 million shares of preferred stock and warrants at the same terms as the public offering. The warrants included in the public offering and sale to the Adelsons could raise an additional $1.04 billion.

In addition, the couple converted $475 million in notes they purchased last month into 86.4 million common shares at a conversion price of $5.50 apiece.

Las Vegas Sands did not seek shareholder approval for its financing plan, claiming an exception in New York Stock Exchange rules, even though it more than doubles the number of outstanding shares and significantly dilutes shareholder value.

The company warned that any delay caused by getting shareholder approval "would seriously jeopardize the ability to complete the offerings as well as the financial viability of the company."

Las Vegas Sands said it planned to use proceeds to help fund construction and development projects, which it said would be significantly slowed down. Last Monday, the company said it would suspend construction at its $600 million St. Regis condominium tower in Las Vegas and two sites on the Cotai Strip in Macau.

The move is not uncommon these days, as several other casino operators have scaled back or abandoned development plans due to economic and credit conditions. Boyd Gaming Corp. recently postponed work on its $4.8 billion Echelon resort in Las Vegas, while MGM Mirage's default rating was downgraded by Fitch Ratings partly due to the company's difficulty paying for the $9.2 billion CityCenter complex in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Sands is also looking to address some in-house concerns, disclosing in an SEC filing last week that its board created a committee to evaluate the company's decision-making and resolve disputes between Adelson and other senior managers. The filing said the committee was formed to address "a loss of confidence" by managers in how the company is being run.
 

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Las Vegas Sands Says Bubble in Macau’s VIP Market Has Burst

Las Vegas Sands Says Bubble in Macau’s VIP Market Has Burst


By Chia-Peck Wong

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Las Vegas Sands Corp., the second- biggest U.S. casino operator by market value, said the bubble in the so-called VIP market in Macau has “burst,” predicting a tough first quarter.

“I would expect it to be down fairly dramatically” as junket operators can’t collect the money they lent to Chinese businessmen to gamble, Las Vegas Sands President William Weidner said yesterday at an investor conference in Arizona.

Amax Entertainment Holdings Ltd., the controller of Macau’s biggest VIP gambling-junket operator, is among those affected, Weidner said. Amax lends primarily to businessmen from China’s southern Guangdong province to gamble in the only Chinese region where casinos are legal. The global recession is damping demand for China’s exports and hurting the businessmen’s ability to repay, according to Weidner.

Casino operators in Macau that are “very VIP-room dependent are going to be affected very dramatically,” Weidner said, adding that Las Vegas Sands is focusing on developing the mass market business to compensate for the drop in revenue from the high-roller segment. VIP gamblers spend at least 1 million patacas ($125,000) per visit.

Junket operators are cutting loans to VIPs as these customers’ net worth fall, Karen Tang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, wrote in a report today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chia-Peck Wong in Hong Kong at [email protected]
Last Updated: January 8, 2009 00:06 EST
 

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Sands CEO Says Critics Could Hurt Macau Casino

By TAMARA AUDI in Los Angeles and JONATHAN CHENG in Hong Kong

The chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp. is worried that an apparent attempt to foment anti-American sentiment by a prominent Chinese rival could hurt his company's operations in Macau, China's gambling enclave.

In several addresses to business groups last month, casino operator and political figure Stanley Ho urged Macau to "unite against" the Venetian, the towering casino that Sands has built in Macau, according to several Chinese newspaper accounts.

"We are Chinese. We should unite against foreign capital. We cannot keep silent. If not, the foreign capital will bully us," Mr. Ho said in a Feb. 9 speech, according to the accounts. Mr. Ho's spokeswoman, Janet Wong, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Sheldon Adelson, the Sands CEO, says he believes his company's growing presence in the market has unnerved Mr. Ho. Sands is depending on Macau to provide relief as U.S. consumers drastically cut spending at the company's Las Vegas properties. But new travel restrictions to Macau, imposed by the Chinese government, limit how often mainlanders can visit the city and have lowered gambling revenues there as well.

Las Vegas Sands has come under attack for delaying work on its Venetian Macau casino-resort complex, above.

Mr. Adelson says anti-American sentiment could lead to a backlash that would make things even worse for U.S. casino operators in Macau.

"You never know the effect his words could have," Mr. Adelson said in a phone interview.

For decades, Mr. Ho held a gambling monopoly in Macau. But a few years ago the Chinese government began allowing foreign casino operators to set up shop.

Elaborate Las Vegas-style casinos began rising among Macau's cluster of relatively small, smoky gambling dens. A battle for Asia's high rollers and mass-market business began in earnest among Mr. Ho and U.S. operators, including Sands, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Mirage, which have all built large properties in Macau.

If Mr. Ho is trying to stir up nationalist feelings to help steer business from his rivals, it is unclear how much support, if any, he has in higher political circles. While he is a member of a top mainland Chinese political consultative body, it was with Beijing's blessing that the Macau government broke his monopoly on gambling in Macau earlier this decade.

Sands has made the biggest impact on Macau. It built the largest casino in the world there, the Venetian Macau. It began dredging land from the sea to build a sprawling new $12 billion resort complex -- now on hold as the company scrambles to cut costs -- and purchased its own fleet of high-speed ferries to shuttle gamblers from mainland China to Macau. The Sands ferries have challenged Mr. Ho's own ferry business.

Sands has recently come under attack for delaying its Macau development to concentrate on building a casino in Singapore. The delay has led to the loss of thousands of jobs in China.

An association calling itself the Concerned Macau Residents Group has filed lawsuits and held press conferences denouncing Sands for diverting resources from Macau to Singapore, it says on its Web site, "after years of making big money" wrung from privileges granted to it by Macau's government. The group, which in fliers describes itself as "by Macau people, for Macau people," didn't respond to requests for comment.

Write to Tamara Audi at [email protected] and Jonathan Cheng at [email protected]
 

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The anti-American sentiment is real and it's Americans typical arrogance's fault. Mr Adelson arrived to Macau with "i am the best speech" and his company keeps looking to Macau has a atm machine. What did he expect?
 

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Mr Adelson arrived to Macau with "i am the best speech" and his company keeps looking to Macau has a atm machine.
Yes, in the beginning, he thought Macau has an ATM machine, invest US$250 million on Sands casino and get the return back in 8 months. Then he invest US$5-10 Billion in Cotai Strip, can't even complete Shangri la/Westin/Sheraton projects, and his casino projects are barely breaking even now. Cotai jet project is losing US$25 million per year just to promote Cotai Strip and now lower courrt and SJM screwed him. I don't think he will look at Macau as ATM machine anymore.

On the other hand, he has invested more money in Macau in this last 5 years than Stanley Ho ever did in last 4 decades!!! He has created more value added jobs in Macau than Stanley Ho ever did too!!! Without him, Macau will still be back as the gang-infested corrupted slum city!!!
 

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What did Stanley HO ever do for Macau other than fill his pockets, his casinos are tacky as hell, full of gangsters and prostitues.
The Sands guys something come over as arrogant but at least they have a vision for Macau and run their properties professionally.
And what about Steve Wynn, Stanley HO will never have the ability to develope casinos like he does.
 

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Your speech is exactly the one not welcome by the Macanese people. Stanley Ho is a well respected person in Macau society. He did for Macau more than Adelson, Wynn and cia together. Attacking him is attacking Macau. That’s not the smartest strategy.
You guys constantly forget that Macau was already Macau before the America’s invasion. Most of you cannot understand that and it's why the anti-American sentiment is in the streets...

By the way I am on anti-arrogance camp ;)
 

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He did for Macau more than Adelson, Wynn and cia together. Attacking him is attacking Macau. That’s not the smartest strategy.
In that case, can you tell us what has Stanley Ho done for Macau? We know he has become a billionaire by owning the monopoly license for casino for a few decades. And we know that Macau was a gangster infested with daily homicide cases prior to the handover. And Macau's GDP did not take off till the deregulation of the casino industry. Many Macau people actually told me that Macau is much better now than before the handover and deregulation. Very few people know what he had done for Macau. Maybe you can enlighten us again.

By the way I am on anti-arrogance camp ;)
We are all on anti-arrogance camp but just baffled by your statements. While you have accused us with special agenda in mind, none of us has done the same to you except asking for you to clarify what you meant with your statements.
 

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In that case, can you tell us what has Stanley Ho done for Macau? We know he has become a billionaire by owning the monopoly license for casino for a few decades. And we know that Macau was a gangster infested with daily homicide cases prior to the handover. And Macau's GDP did not take off till the deregulation of the casino industry. Many Macau people actually told me that Macau is much better now than before the handover and deregulation. Very few people know what he had done for Macau. Maybe you can enlighten us again.
The gangsters war that you are talking about was not sponsored by Uncle Stanley. Just someone who doesn't know a shit of Macau's history can say that Stanley did nothing for Macau. I really hope you're joking...

Macau people can say that economically Macau is much better than it was before. I fully agree with them. That's the truth! But you should give credit to Chinese visa policy and economic boom more than to the SJM's monopoly end. It helped as well I shall confess but it was the Chinese economic boom that helped Macau to eclipse Las Vegas. Am I wrong?
 

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Allow mainland visitors in was a by product of something done in HK, not by anyone in Macau, including Mr Ho.

Visitors were allowed into HK, hence Macau being another SAR. This was part of CEPA policy following SARS.
You can see this in two ways. HK (and Macau) should be grateful for how much help China has given the SARs. Or that the demonstrations in HK rattled China so much that they decided they need to act.
It has been incredibly fortunate that Macau has been in this position.
 

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I can not believe how you keep defending Stanley Ho, be became a billionaire because of his monopoly, sucking everything out of Macau while the people lived in slums.
I bet you are not even a millionaire, futhermore he always plays the local card so why then he lives in Hong Kong and his son is a Canadian citizen.
You sound like a Chinese who can not admit Mao was a dictator. Be straight and drop the misplaced proudness.

BTW I am not even american but european and the first to admit what sucks and not sucks in my country.
 

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Just someone who doesn't know a shit of Macau's history can say that Stanley did nothing for Macau. I really hope you're joking...
You have made many controversial statements. Everytime I asked you to explain further to enlighten us but instead of defending yourself with more clarifications and specifications about the law and about what Stanley Ho has done for Macau, you reverted back to personal attacks (such as "you guys have special agenda" and "arrogance camp") or simply diverting the subject (such as "you re joking") with no details.

In this case, I will close this discussion as there is not much exchange except heated rhetoric. I just hope you are not a senior civil servant in Macau government that advocate policy based on your personal view. That will simply scare off investors and revert Macau to its old days. But it will not surprise me if you are related or work for SJM or Stanley Ho's related company since your comment is no different from their PR departments.

Macau people can say that economically Macau is much better than it was before. I fully agree with them. That's the truth! But you should give credit to Chinese visa policy and economic boom more than to the SJM's monopoly end. It helped as well I shall confess but it was the Chinese economic boom that helped Macau to eclipse Las Vegas. Am I wrong?
No, you are not wrong that Chinese economic boom has helped Macau. But the Chinese institutions did not invest in Macau in big ways, neither did Stanley Ho. I do credit Sands with the vision to transform Macau to more than just a gambling city, with entertainment/convention/retails to come along with its casino. And it did invest money in big ways in Macau, to date more than US$5 Billion. Those who said Sands treat Macau like ATM machine does not look at its record carefully; it has invested more money than what it earns in Macau. In fact, it sold it most profitable shopping mall in Las Vegas to finance its operation in Macau. Too bad you cannot appreciate that; well, I think "Stanley Ho" camp will not appreciate that either since they only know how to use nationalist feeling to defend their market share without investing much money back to Macau.
 

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Very sad it has come to this

When the chips are down... jealousy runs deep.

There was such promise with the transformation of Macau's tourism offerings to world-class standard and a general upgrade of facilities for its residents - with enough benefits for all.
Hope it can get back on track.
PS How has Galaxy managed to stay out of this controversy?
 

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Las Vegas Sands’s Weidner Quits After ‘Conflicts’ With Adelson

By Beth Jinks
March 9 (Bloomberg) -- William Weidner said he quit as Las
Vegas Sands Corp.’s president and chief operating officer
yesterday, leaving behind the “junkyard” fights he had with
Sheldon Adelson, the casino company’s majority owner.
“Last year, with falling stock prices and worsening global
economic conditions, disagreements and conflicts arose between
me and the chairman, Sheldon Adelson,” Weidner, 63, said today
in a phone interview. “He’s the CEO, he’s the majority owner,
and just recently he’s insisted on having more control over the
day-to-day operations, and I figured it was time for me to then
move on.”
Michael Leven will replace Weidner, Las Vegas-based Sands
said today in a statement. Ron Reese, a company spokesman, said
details will be included in a regulatory filing this week.
Leven, a hotel executive, has been on the board since 2004.
Las Vegas Sands said in November that it had set up a board
committee to address “outstanding differences between our chief
executive officer and other senior management members,” and that
the board was addressing a “loss of confidence by certain senior
management members in the management of the company.”
“You can think of it as a junkyard dogfight,” Weidner said
Nov. 17 when asked about the disagreements. “We’ve got four or
five A-plus personalities and a couple of A-minus personalities
and the moderates are the As.”
Las Vegas Sands dropped 35 cents, or 20 percent, to $1.42
at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The
shares have plunged 76 percent this year.

Leven’s Experience

Leven founded US Franchise Systems Inc., the hotel company
that developed and franchised the Microtel Inns & Suites and
Hawthorn Suites brands, Las Vegas Sands said. He has 48 years’
experience in the hospitality industry.
He was chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide and
president of Days Inn of America and served on the boards of
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Hersha
Hospitality Trust.
“This is a company with Sheldon Adelson firmly in charge
with a strong team behind him,” Lawrence Klatzkin, an analyst at
Jefferies & Co. in New York, said today in a note to clients.
“While Leven is an unproven entity in the gaming universe, he
has considerable experience in the hospitality industry.”
Weidner, who joined Adelson in November 1995 as president
and chief operating officer of Sands, said he planned to
continue to live primarily in Las Vegas and would honor a one-
year non-compete agreement while “staying close to the
industry.”

‘Came From Nothing’

“We really came from nothing, a 700-room motel-type hotel -
- the Sands in Las Vegas -- to a worldwide presence in gaming,”
Weidner said. “In just over 13 short years, we built the world’s
largest resort casino in Las Vegas; we created the largest
casino-resort presence in Asia in Macau.”
Las Vegas Sands raised $2.14 billion in November, partly
from billionaire Adelson, 75, and his family. It suspended all
construction on its $12 billion of projects in Macau, China;
work on its St. Regis condominium in Las Vegas; and a hotel and
mall in Pennsylvania. The moves were meant to conserve cash and
let the company finish a Pennsylvania casino and a Singapore
resort, the first of two being built in the Asian city-state.
The decision to inject more capital was “a matter of robust
debate within the organization,” Weidner said in November. The
company, its shareholders and board took too long to decide, he
said, calling that “a monumental screw-up.”
“It’s fair to say, in difficult times, differences of
opinion become magnified,” Weidner said today.
Gambling revenue on the Las Vegas Strip, where Sands owns
the Venetian and Palazzo casinos, fell the most on record last
year. Also, China’s government imposed limits on visits to
Macau, the only place in the country where casino gambling is
legal. Las Vegas Sands already has opened the Venetian Macao,
Sands Macao and Four Seasons Hotel Macao.
“We rebuilt the Sands brand,” Weidner said today. “We just
scraped dirt and made it what it is. It was quite a run.”

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Cécile Daurat

To contact the reporter on this story:
Beth Jinks in New York at +1-212-617-5825 or
[email protected]
 
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