This week's casino news focuses on one of the richest men in the business getting richer, an Olympic gold medalist with debt problems, and an overhaul on the Las Vegas Strip. Here is a look at the key casino headlines for this past week:
Adelson Earns Nearly $2 Billion In One Week
It's been a good week for Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands. The casino mogul made himself nearly $2 billion in less than a week's work. The profits come from his ventures in Macau - the Las Vegas of Asia - which have seen a significant uptick in revenue.
Adelson previously decided to build a few casinos in Macau, costing the Sands over $10 billion to do so. However, because of that investment the Sands' shares are up 7%, due to an increase of 23.7% in revenue from Macau. This is great news for Adelson, who has seen his worth go up to $34.9 billion thanks to the $1.7 billion he's collected in the last six days or so. Adelson (who made the Sands a public company in 2004) is now the 18th richest person on Earth. At 83, he doesn't seem to be slowing down as he recently joined President Donald Trump on his trip to Israel. Adelson has given more than $50 million to Trump and other Republican candidates. Adelson has also been one of the leaders in opposing online casinos and online gambling.
Gold Medalist Skips Out On Casino Bill?
Olympic athletes are supposed to carry themselves with a certain level of integrity but apparently not all follow that credo. Kong Linghui, who made his name as a champion in the world of table tennis and won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, has apparently skipped out on a casino bill. Linghui is being sued by the Marina Bay Sands for about $330,000, which is what they claim he owes in gambling debts. Luinghui is claiming that there this is a misunderstanding. His side of the story is that he came to the casino with family and friends, and negotiated a debt so that everyone could play. The debt was in his name but others were supposed to repay it. At any rate, the debt is in his name and it has yet to be repaid.
What doesn't make it look like Linghui has a strong case is that the legendary ping pong player has been suspended as the coach of the Chinese women's table tennis team and has been recalled to China.
Struggling SLS Sold to Reno Resort Owner
The SLS Las Vegas has been sold to a Reno resort owner as the casino continues to find its way at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. You might recall that the SLS, which was formerly the Sahara, underwent a $415 million renovation less than three years ago. While it's a nice-looking casino and much more modern than what was previously there, it has still struggled to get traction. They lost nearly $84 million in 2015, which was the last time they publicly announced their results.
This past week, the Meruelo Group, which also owns the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, announced that it was buying the SLS from Stockbridge Capital. Stockbridge Capital ended up losing quite a bit on the deal as they bought the place for $400 million and then made about $415 million in renovations. The question is how will the new owners find a way to attract players to what is now considered the less popular end of The Strip.