Las Vegas Sands, the world’s second-largest casino operator, has abandoned its efforts to launch an online gambling platform, according to reports. The company had begun online-gambling initiatives less than 18 months ago, just a few months after the death of its former CEO, who was a strident online-gambling opponent. Las Vegas Sands may have sunk as much as $50 million into the failed online project.
Years late to the party and with a long prior history of being against the online-gambling segment, Las Vegas Sands Corporation has abandoned its efforts to carve out a niche in the legalized online-gambling space. The news of the re-reversal of the corporate plans regarding online gambling arrived via a Nevada Independent report published yesterday by veteran gaming-beat writer Howard Stutz.
Less than 18 months ago, Las Vegas Sands, which also operates the Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas, had begun online-gambling initiatives, only a few months after the death of its former CEO, who was a strident online-gambling opponent. In December, earnings newsletter Earnings and More reported that David Williams, who had been brought on by Sands to lead its new digital-gaming efforts, had left to found his own independent company.
Las Vegas Sands pulled out of numerous partnerships that were designed to carve out a toehold in the digital space, providing a more collective view of the situation, according to an Eilers & Krajcik newsletter update. Las Vegas Sands may have sunk as much as $50 million into the failed online sportsbook project.
The effect of Adelson’s legacy was not measured
It is certain that there was an effect on legalized online-gambling, though the extent of it remains unclear. Over the course of more than a decade, the chairman and CEO of LVSands spent tens of millions of dollars on political efforts nationwide in an attempt to cripple online gambling.
The American Gaming Association may have had a role to play in lobbying on behalf of online-gambling initiatives. Online gambling was an important voice in several federal and state efforts because of Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s threat to pull out of casino-entertainment lobbying growth.
Trying to rewrite that long anti-online legacy was always going to be an expensive and difficult process, with few wide-open paths available towards the company becoming a significant online player. Las Vegas Sands could always find startup partners as long as it was willing to foot the bill, but it needed to overcome distrust from other segments of the online industry and from the public at large in order to capture market share.
It is not known how much the anti-online-gambling beliefs of the late Adelson were held dear by the remaining Sands executives and board members. As investment costs became more clear, such anti-online sentiment could have been strengthened. It is not yet known if Las Vegas Sands will fully return to its prior anti-online stance. The company worked to damage its competitors in the online space through its political and legal spending. According to research, online gambling was mostly complimentary to live casino gambling, rather than cannibalizing casino profits.