Las Vegas Sands Decides to Enter iGaming Industry

Las Vegas Sands Corp

The Las Vegas Sands company has finally changed course and decided to enter the online gambling industry.

For many years, the Las Vegas Sands was in opposition to the online gambling industry in the United States. Former CEO Sheldon Adelson spent millions of dollars to try and stop online gambling from becoming a reality in the nation. His efforts included legal action, but in the end, Adelson was unable to deter states like Nevada from offering iGaming services. Adelson passed away recently, and the company is under new management, with major plans underway. It seems the company is now looking to get involved in the industry it once fought against.

This week, the company announced it is looking to invest in the digital gaming technology market. In a statement, Sands said that a veteran investment executive will be helping the company become a strategic investor in the online sphere.

A Booming Market

Online gambling is a growing industry in the United States. Over 50% of the nation has legalized sports betting and most offer mobile and online options. Five states have legalized casino gaming options online. In Nevada, the home base of Las Vegas Sands, the state allows online poker gaming to take place.

It seems that Sands has been thinking for quite some time about online gaming and how it could enter the fray. Back in January, the company began to show interest in the industry, not long after Adelson had passed away after an extended illness.

Sands just recently hired Davis Catlin as its senior managing director. Catlin has experience in the investment world, having worked for more than a decade with Sands Capital Management. He has worked in the public and private sector within the digital gaming sector.

CEO and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands, Rob Goldstein, commented that digital gaming and other offerings related to the sector are in the early stages of development. There is opportunity to invest in the technologies being developed in this area of the industry.

The investment team will be led by Catlin, working to provide opportunities to invest in options that will generate long-term benefits for the Sands.

Changing Paths

It is interesting to consider the full 180 the company is making regarding online gambling. Adelson passed away in mid-January after battling non-hodgkin lymphoma. He had been a strong advocate against online gambling and felt that the activity would harm the land-based sector. Adelson also felt that there would be an increase in problem gambling as well as underage gambling.

Adelson reportedly understood the viability of the industry but felt that ethically, it should not exist. He was worried about how young people would be affected. He basically stood alone, as the Las Vegas Sands was the only major company in the casino industry that was opposed to legalized iGaming.

During his plight, Adelson spent millions of dollars to try and pressure lawmakers into standing up against the industry. The provided funding for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and provided financial support for a federal effort to bring the Wire Act back to its former state, before the Obama Administration changed it to reflect today’s environment.

While Adelson continued the fight till the very end, his viewpoint was not meant to be. The Wire Act has now been fully determined as standing based on the 2011 ruling by the Obama Department of Justice. This allows online gambling to be legalized by individual states.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the Sands approaches online gambling now that Adelson is no longer at the helm. Will the company become a major player or just get their toes in the water?

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.