Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) has been the leader in its industry by a wide margin for the last few quarters when it comes to revenue and earnings, both actual and percent growth year over year. In Q2, Las Vegas Sands led the industry. It came in ahead of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) in earnings, just as it did in Q1 and throughout 2013. While Sands is the only one to have reported Q3 earnings so far, I expect its income growth will beat that of MGM and Wynn.
Las Vegas Sands is also investing heavily in its future growth to ensure that it remains on top for years to come. With construction of a new resort underway in Macau, applications filed in South Korea, and the possibility of a new resort in Japan, here is how Las Vegas Sands might be investing up to $15 billion in its future.
The next best thing in Macau
Las Vegas Sands already derives 88% of its total global revenue from Asia, with Macau properties contributing close to 60% of the company's total revenue. The Cotai Strip, where each of the major gaming companies are building new resorts that are slated to be opened in the next 12-24 months, is already dominated by Sands holdings.
Las Vegas Sands is spending $2.7 billion on its newest resort, The Parisian, which is slated to open in late 2015 and early 2016. This massive integrated resort, featuring 3,000 hotel rooms and suites, around 450 gaming tables, 2,500 slots, a retail mall, and a replica of the Eiffel Tower at 50% scale, is sure to be an impressive new addition in Macau. Adding more room capacity than any of the other new resorts coming to Cotai will help to drive more revenue for Las Vegas Sands as Macau's mass market segment increases over the coming years.
The next stop could be South Korea
While Macau is a bet on the massive market of Chinese gamers, development in South Korea might focus on a more developed, high-profit country, much like Singapore. Sands has submitted a bid to build a resort in South Korea at the spot of the 1988 Olympics. This resort would likely be around a $2 billion to $3 billion investment.
The South Korean government decided to allow large casinos in the country just two years ago. However, of the 17 casinos there (most very small), only one is open to South Korean nationals. This red tape is one thing that could stop this investment altogether, as Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has said that he is only interested in building if South Koreans are allowed to play as well. Still, if these restrictions are loosened -- something pro-gaming regulators are working on -- then this could also be a great future bet.
The wild card: Japan
The possibility of casinos in Japan has been an exciting story to watch unfold this year. The Japanese government currently prohibits casino gambling, but pro-casino lawmakers attempted to pass a bill in the summer and fall legislative sessions to allows casino resorts to be built in Japan. The legislation is still being considered.
The reason this development has been so exciting is that analysts expect the Japanese gaming market could be the second-largest in the world, behind Macau, at around $40 billion by 2020. Therefore each major casino company, including MGM and Wynn, is vying for a spot in Japan if the legislation passes. Adelson was quoted saying that "We will spend whatever it takes." He was quoted as saying at the same February media briefing, "Would I put in $10 billion? Yes."
While Adelson said that he would rather invest less than that, if $10 billion is what it takes, it seems that is what his company will do. Of course, it's ultimately up to the Japanese lawmakers which casino companies would win bids to build resorts. However, the bill is backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited LVS's Marina Bay Sands in Singapore earlier this year and announced he would seek that kind of integrated resort model for casinos operating in Japan. That's a good sign for Las Vegas Sands.
A low price for big investments
Las Vegas Sands has a lot to look forward to with the opening of its new megaresort in Macau next year, a possible new resort in South Korea after that, and, hopefully soon, a new resort in Japan. While only the $2.7 billion Macau investment is finalized as of now, Las Vegas Sands has the potential and ability to invest up to $15 billion in these new casinos around Asia, and has been seeking these opportunities more aggressively than any other gaming company.
With its investments in future growth, LVS shareholders could be in for some great gains over the next few years. That is even further compounded by the fact that shares of LVS are down nearly 30% since their highs in March of this year. For Foolish investors looking for long-term growth catalysts, as well as a valuable share price to enter at, this might be the right time to make a bet on this company.