Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) is reportedly considering dumping its Las Vegas casinos in a $6 billion sale.
Because the casino operator currently derives just 16% of its business from Nevada, the remaining business would be focused solely on the Asian gambling markets of Macao and Singapore.
It's a risky bet, though, because Macao monthly gambling revenue, which represents 60% of Sands' business, has declined 90% or more for the past five months due to the coronavirus pandemic and China is cracking down on money flows out of the region, potentially dampening a rebound.
Although Sands is not expected to lose its casino concession when renewals begin in 2022, the awards process is expected to be more open than last time and more competitors may be allowed entry into the market.
Going all in
Las Vegas Sands is saddled with a $13.8 billion debt load that comes from its extensive expansion efforts in Macao and Singapore, a market that has also been shuttered to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The casino operator's revenue plunged 82% in the second quarter to just $586 million, generating a loss of $0.74 per share. Analysts don't expect many of the markets to markedly improve anytime soon, especially Las Vegas, where ratings agency Fitch Ratings recently said the outlook was "dim" and "lackluster."
Japan is a potential new market Sands could eventually enter, but it announced in May that it was withdrawing from the competition for one of the first three licenses that are to be issued. The matter has been complicated by the resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was a strong proponent of introducing legalized casino gambling in the country. While his successor is also a proponent, public opinion in Japan is decidedly against the casinos.