The best bet in gaming, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS ) , showed yesterday exactly why it has the deck stacked in its favor. The company has the best properties, in the best locations, and is the best operator to boot.
During the third quarter, that advantage helped send revenue 26.2% higher to $2.41 billion and adjusted property EBITDA to $924.1 million. Marina Bay Sands, one of just two casinos in Singapore, led the way with revenue climbing 63.1% to $792.4 million and property EBITDA exploding 71.3% higher to $413.9 million. That's an incredible 52.2% EBITDA margin.
These incredible results are in contrast to an earnings report from Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN ) that had investors wishing for more. In Macau, results for Las Vegas Sands weren't very different from Wynn, with EBITDA down slightly from the second quarter at the Venetian Macau. Sands Macau, which is located on the Macau Peninsula with Wynn, took a bigger hit, so we're likely seeing some move of gaming dollars to Cotai, where Las Vegas Sands and Melco Crown (Nasdaq: MPEL ) dominate the action. But that's something we've seen coming from a mile away.
Wynn's and Las Vegas Sands' results should give us a good peek into what Melco Crown and MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM ) will report for the third quarter. Even though Macau's gaming revenues grew tremendously during the quarter, with Galaxy opening a casino on Cotai the wealth was spread around, and growth will likely be flat or negative quarter over quarter.
Foolish bottom line
Las Vegas Sands has been my top pick in gaming for quite some time, and a quarter like this proves why. Despite slightly lower performance, the company's Macau casinos are still performing well -- and with Sands Cotai Central on the way next year, the Cotai Strip should continue to pay dividends. And none of the other U.S.-traded gaming operators can give you exposure to Singapore and its tremendously profitable casinos like Las Vegas Sands can.