Vegas Shocker: Las Vegas Sands exits the Strip, leaving Venetian, Palazzo and expo center

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Las Vegas Sands is selling the iconic Venetian casino resort and its Sands Expo and Convention Center for $6.25 billion, leaving gambling operations on the Las Vegas Strip after changing casino history there and everywhere else – globally.

The name Venetian, the expo center as well as the Palazzo, the Sands’ luxury casino and resort that is part of the same complex, will remain, and the company’s corporate headquarters will stay in Las Vegas.

The company led by the late Sheldon Adelson closes US operations and will focus on Asia, where revenue now outpaces the Las Vegas Strip.

Under the two-part deal announced this week, VICI Properties will buy the casino, resort and all assets for $4 billion. While Apollo Global Management will acquire the operations of the Venetian for $2.25 billion.

The global pandemic broadsided Las Vegas, quaking the Strip where Las Vegas Sands has rules as the biggest influence for years.

The sale comes just two months after the death of Adelson.

Adelson reframed the target audience in Vegas, focusing on conventioneers and even families. He recognized that the real potential was not on the casino floor, as it was in the 1960s, but at the hotels, resorts and convention centers that surround them.

After explosive growth in Las Vegas, Adelson turned his eye to Asia. Sands expanded to Macao, China’s only legal casino gambling destination, quite literally creating man-made the Cotai Peninsula. Operations in Asia quickly outgrew Unites States effort.

Sands said  Asia is where the company’s focus will remain:

“The Venetian changed the face of future casino development and cemented Sheldon Adelson’s legacy as one of the most influential people in the history of the gaming and hospitality industry,”

said Chairman and CEO Robert Goldstein.

“As we announce the sale of The Venetian Resort, we pay tribute to Mr. Adelson’s legacy while starting a new chapter in this company’s history. This company is focused on growth, and we see meaningful opportunities on a variety of fronts. Asia remains the backbone of this company and our developments in Macao and Singapore are the center of our attention.”

Some industry analysts also expect Sands will use the proceeds from the sale to push more aggressively into online gambling, something Adelson had once lobbied against.

The Venetian, located on the Las Vegas Strip, has three luxury hotel towers with gaming, entertainment, shopping and dining. The resort includes more than 7,000 all-suite rooms, 225,000 square feet of gaming space and 2.3 million square feet of meeting space.

Travel-related companies, from airlines, to hotels and resorts, are roaring back with the rollout of a slew of new vaccines.