Las Vegas Sands Corp. Earnings: Will Luck Be a Lady on Thursday?

On Thursday, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) will release its quarterly report, and investors expect the casino giant to keep growing at a healthy pace. Yet as competition from Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN  ) , Melco Crown (NASDAQ: MPEL  ) , and other casino companies remains fierce, especially in the key market of Macau, Las Vegas Sands has broadened its horizons in hopes of scoring new locations to add to its worldwide empire.

Las Vegas Sands' name is now somewhat misleading, as its profitability has increasingly come not from its Las Vegas headquarters but rather from the Asian gaming capital of Macau. A region full of flush gamblers who used to make the pilgrimage across the Pacific to Vegas now largely stays closer to home, and Las Vegas Sands has taken full advantage. But can the company retain its first-mover advantage in some other promising potential markets? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Las Vegas Sands over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.

Stats on Las Vegas Sands

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.93

Change From Year-Ago EPS

31%

Revenue Estimate

$3.88 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

17.5%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

2

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Las Vegas Sands earnings be a big winner?
Analysts have been more optimistic about Las Vegas Sands earnings in recent months, boosting their first-quarter estimates by $0.06 per share and their full-year 2014 and 2015 projections by double and triple that amount, respectively. The stock, though, has pulled back by around 6% since mid-January.

Las Vegas Sands' fourth-quarter earnings showed just how critical Macau has been for its overall prospects. As with Wynn Resorts and Melco Crown, Las Vegas Sands had huge growth in Macau, where its Venetian Macau resort on the increasingly popular Cotai Strip saw revenue rise by 36%. That dramatically outpaced overall growth for the industry in Macau during the quarter, and ongoing expansion of its Sands Cotai Central also added to growth, even though Las Vegas Sands' properties in the older area on the Macau Peninsula struggled by comparison.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Source: Las Vegas Sands.

But Las Vegas Sands' efforts to go beyond Macau in Asia haven't gone as well as the company had hoped. Fourth-quarter results in Singapore were weak, with sales falling 8% due to a substantial decline of high-roller play. That sent shares of Las Vegas Sands down substantially, as investors have increasingly taken Macau's success for granted.

Still, that hasn't stopped Las Vegas Sands from looking at potential expansion elsewhere. Vietnam and South Korea offer interesting opportunities for growth, but arguably the most exciting prospective market is Japan, which is looking at the potential boost to tourism as an impetus for considering opening up its lucrative developed-economy market to gaming. With Las Vegas Sands having a history of breaking ground successfully in other areas, it has an edge over Wynn Resorts and Melco Crown in gaining valuable concessions connected to possible future projects in these countries.

In the Las Vegas Sands earnings report, watch to see how the company does in its various markets. As Wynn Resorts gets closer to opening its Cotai property, Las Vegas Sands will need to be ready to deal with rising competition in order to avoid losing some of its lucrative stranglehold in Macau while still positioning itself for regional growth.

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