PlayUSA Rewind: Las Vegas Sands Eyes Exit From Las Vegas

Posted By Nicholaus Garcia on March 11, 2021

Welcome back to the PlayUSA Rewind!

Lately, we have been breaking down common gambling topics like sports betting and online casino gaming and will continue to do so.

Some of this week’s stories include: Las Vegas Sands‘ exit from Vegas, Connecticut sports betting inching closer to legalization, and Illinois extending remote registration.

To ensure we are giving our readers as much information as possible, we decided to add a new section to the Rewind called “Market Teasers.” Here we will list a few gambling stocks making headlines on Wall Street and provide a bit of analysis.

For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

On the rewind:

Las Vegas Sands saying goodbye to Vegas

It was fun while it lasted.

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. is shipping out of Las Vegas and with it, collecting a hefty check in the process. The company is selling its assets for a massive $6.25 billion. There are a lot of moving parts involving Apollo Global Management and VICI Properties, the latter of which will acquire The Venetian Resort.

The takeaway: The backbone of LVS has always been Asia. With cash on hand, the company plans to further expand its empire overseas while still keeping its headquarters and a watchful eye on Las Vegas.

Connecticut tribe, Governor strike agreement

There are two tribes in Connecticut: the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Indians. But only one has an agreement with Gov. Ned Lamont to legalize sports betting.

The Lamont-Mohegan CT sports betting agreement comes with:

  • 13.5% tax rate
  • One skin (online website) for Mohegan Indians
  • Connecticut Lottery gets one online sports betting skin + 15 retail locations
  • New lottery-run retail locations in Bridgeport and Hartford

The takeaway: One tribe is not happy about this, I’m sure you can guess which. On top of this, there are 17 rogue legislators from Eastern Connecticut that are also not on board with this one-sided agreement. Things could get messy before they get better.

Cuomo’s problems good for NY mobile sports betting?

At one point last spring there was buzz about NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a Presidential nominee down the line. I think that ship has sailed. But with Cuomo’s political clout slowly diminishing, this could open some doors for NY mobile sports betting.

The governor and his followers want a single operator, state lottery-run sports betting operation. But proponents of an open market could take this opportunity and run with it, much like politicians do. Commercial casinos are even securing 20-year deals with sports betting operators going against the whole idea of a single-operator system.

The takeaway: None of this is certain. However, history has shown us when political leaders are weakened, the sharks will come. And it just so happens these kinds of sharks carry their own agendas. Perhaps mobile sports betting in the Empire State just found its way in.

South Dakota is a signature away from legalized sports betting

Talk about getting to work. Three months after a referendum to legalize sports betting was passed during the November elections, the South Dakota House passed SB 44 by a 58-8 vote.

Although the bill limits SD sports betting to casinos in Deadwood, it does include the state’s 11 tribal casinos. However, a major downside is customers must sign-up for sports betting accounts in-person.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Kristi Noem for her signature.

The takeaway: I’ll give South Dakota this, they passed a sports betting bill. It might not be the best bill but if people really want to place bets, they will find a way to do so.

Kansas could legalize sports betting too…

There are still a few more steps to take but the Kansas State Senate passed SB 84 by a 26-12 vote. The bill now heads to the House where it will be discussed and likely voted on.

Sports betting in Kansas will function like many other jurisdictions in the US. The state’s four casinos get retail sportsbooks and can partner with three mobile operators. The Kansas Speedway and Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park can also partner with casinos for online sports betting. Tribal casinos can renegotiate compacts to allow for sports wagering and the bill also permits betting on in-state colleges.

The takeaway: There was never any doubt that Kansas wanted to legalize sports betting, it was simply trying to figure out the best way to do it. It appears the state has embraced the open-market concept and is in a prime position to make an immediate impact on the industry.

Illinois governor extends executive order

Our last story brings us back to the Land of Lincoln where the mayor of Chicago recently announced professional sports arenas can reopen at 20% capacity.

But this story deals with Gov. JB Pritzker once again extending mobile IL sports betting registration till April 3. Due to the shuttering of casinos in Illinois, remote registration has been in place since August 2020. Pritzker’s extension is good news for sports betting operators that have yet to launch like the Barstool Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook.

The takeaway: It’s no surprise Pritzker would make this decision. Others have wondered why he hasn’t made the change permanent. The short answer, the governor doesn’t have the power to do so. Regardless it’s good news for sports betting operators gearing up for March Madness.

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Market Teasers

There have been several gambling-related stocks making waves on Wall Street. More and more SPAC’s are being created to help facilitate the launch of online sports betting and iGaming publicly traded companies. And with additional states passing sports betting legislation the casino and online gaming space continues to expand.

Penn National Gaming

$PENN: $115.86 | 6.2% change

  • Barstool Sportsbook continues to be the media focus for Penn, but experts believe its 41 properties in 20 states post-pandemic will continue to be its core strength.

Las Vegas Sands

$LVS: $62.77 | -0.78% change

  • VICI Properties has agreed to acquire the Venetian Resort from Las Vegas Sands for $4 billion in cash. The deal also helps LVS, which is slowly planning its exit from the Vegas casino market.

Scientific Games Corporation

$SGMS: $47.45 | 2.51% change

  • The companies overall business was negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in revenue being down 11.7% year-over-year. However, now that states are beginning to lift restrictions and increase casino capacities, things could rebound.

**To reiterate, Market Teasers is not financial advice nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken at March 9th’s market close.

Photo by John Locher / Associated Press
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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