This Is a Cool Spot for Las Vegas Sands' Newest Asian Casino

South Korea could follow Macau and Singapore in rewarding gaming companies and investors with Asian gaming growth. Las Vegas Sands' newest casino here, and the really cool spot the company picked, provide more reasons to bet on this company.

Jun 19, 2014 at 6:00PM

The World Peace Gate built for the 1988 Summer Olympics still
stands at Olympic Park in Seoul. Photo:

With massive, rising gaming revenue coming from Macau and Singapore, gaming companies and investors are looking for the next Asian country that will allow them to continue reaping huge profits from Asian gaming. Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), and Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) are among the companies that are looking at other Asian locations for expansion. South Korea might be that next best bet. 


The torch of the 1988 Olympic games, hopefully to burn again for a Las Vegas Sands casino. Photo:

Las Vegas Sands has stepped up with a new bid in South Korea, and has picked a really cool spot for its potential new property. Sands wants to build a casino resort at the site of the 1988 Summer Olympics.

A casino resort in South Korea would complement Sands' casinos in Macau and Singapore by providing a third spot for Asian gaming revenue, which has helped push the company to record profits. While other U.S. companies have only one Asian bet, like Wynn in Macau, or zero, like Caesars (which has no Asian operations as of yet), Las Vegas Sands is clearly a winning bet on Asian expansion which is now working on its third location.

Sands does what Wynn and Caesars can't
In May 2006, Las Vegas Sands won the first successful bid to build in Singapore with a $3.2 billion investment for an integrated resort, beating out 18 other operators for the spot. Las Vegas Sands' plans to create an integrated resort with live theater and world-class tourism appeal helped sway the government. It worked, and as a reward, Las Vegas Sands received a 30-year concession to operate the casino as well as assurance that the government would not allow additional casinos into the country for at least 10 years. Las Vegas Sands' success in Asian expansion has not been matched by Wynn and Caesars.

Marinabaysands Evening
The picturesque casino built by Las Vegas Sands has become an icon of tourism in Singapore. Photo: Marina Bay Sands

Wynn couldn't win in Singapore
Pleasing the Singaporean government was not easy, and other companies beat out by Las Vegas Sands could not do this. Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts(NASDAQ:WYNN), criticized the Singaporean government after his company dropped from the running for micromanaging the project to the point of making it unprofitable for the casino operator. This is important because there are many similarities between the likelihood of winning over the Singaporean government in 2006 and winning over other Asian governments today that are looking for a winning bidder to bring more than just gambling to their countries.

Caesars first failed attempt in South Korea
Caesars attempted to rectify its lack of an Asian presence in 2013 by bidding to enter the South Korean market. Throughout the first half of 2013, the deal seemed confirmed with the government expected to let Caesars build its casino resort near the capital city of Seoul. However, in June 2013, the government declined the bid, reportedly because of worry over Caesars' huge debt load.

The company is currently undergoing a debt restructuring following this event, which included the sale of its Macau property so it could pay down a portion of its debt, and restructured some of its coming maturities through subsidiary companies. The company was moving in the wrong direction without a casino in Macau. CEO Gary Loveman has said that not entering Macau was the worst mistake he has ever made.

Pyeongchang Olympics

Caesar's casino could be open by 2018, in time for the winter Olympics there. Photo: KoreaTimes

But now Caesars is trying again
Caesars is now trying again at the site near Seoul, and was recently granted "preliminary approval" from the South Korean government to build this proposed $794.7 million casino and hotel.

But just like in 2013, preliminary approval certainly does not guarantee that Asian casino dreams will come true for Caesars. The company still needs to meet a series of other criteria laid forth by the South Korean government, which it failed to do last time. Until this preliminary approval becomes an actual building permit, continue to watch if this actually becomes a viable bet for Caesars.

Foolish takeaway: What South Korea could become one day
South Korea could become a very lucrative gaming market. Actually, South Korea already has 17 casinos, but 16 of those are only open to foreign players. Unfortunately, the only casino where nationals can play makes more profit than all of the other 16 casinos combined. However, if a decision from the South Korean government eventually opens these casinos to nationals, in a wealthy country where the GDP per capita is similar to that of Japan, a company with a casino-resort there could make massive gains from the untapped market.

Looking at which company has the best track record of success in Asian gaming expansion, it's clear that Las Vegas Sands is a better bet than either Wynn Resorts, which lost out to Sands in Singapore, or Caesars, which is clearly not a sure bet to build a casino in South Korea even with preliminary approval. Sands' new South Korea bid, at the really cool spot of the 1988 Olympics, is one more reason to take a Foolish look at Las Vegas Sands.

Warren Buffett's biggest fear is about to come true
Warren Buffett just called this emerging technology a "real threat" to his biggest cash-cow. While Buffett shakes in his billionaire-boots, only a few investors are embracing this new market which experts say will be worth over $2 trillion. It won't be long before everyone on Wall Street wises up, that's why The Motley Fool is releasing this timely investor alert. Click here to learn more about what's keeping Buffett up at night and the one public company we're calling the "brains behind" the technology.

Bradley Seth McNew owns shares of Las Vegas Sands. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information

Compare Brokers