Is Sheldon Adelson selling his Las Vegas properties?

Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: November 07, 2020 03:02 PST

Talks of Adelson exiting the U.S. market spring up on multiple media outlets

Sheldon Adelson stands as one of the most influential figures in the legal gaming industry. The Las Vegas Sands Corp., owned by the 87-year-old billionaire, functions as the parent company to the Venetian and Palazzo, two of the most prominent resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

According to reports from multiple media sources, however, Las Vegas Sands Corp. is engaging in talks that could lead to the sale of those two properties.

Bloomberg reported last week that Adelson wants to exit the U.S. market and focus solely on his assets in the Asian market. The Bloomberg article cited inside sources on the matter and speculated that Adelson wants to sell his Las Vegas properties because the U.S. is "already a small and shrinking part of his business."

Adelson's assets under the Las Vegas Sands Corp. include the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Expo Convention Center. Those properties earn an estimated $6 billion in annual revenue, but that figure is dwarfed by Adelson's earnings on his Asia-Pacific properties. Adelson's Sands China company earns nearly $10 billion annually.

Sheldon Adelson and the U.S. poker economy

The Venetian hosts one of the biggest live poker rooms on the Las Vegas Strip, with 32 tables and a reputation for some of the biggest live tournaments in the city. The venue functions as undoubtedly one of the biggest live poker hubs in the city.

A significant portion of the poker community takes an unfavorable view toward Adelson however, due to his status as one of the biggest and most influential figures opposing regulated online poker in the U.S. Many poker players choose to boycott the Venetian completely with Adelson's stance against online poker in mind.

In spite of that opinion from some poker players, the Venetian operates as one of the busiest live poker rooms in Las Vegas. The Venetian poker room was one of the first to open back up after the mid-March COVID-19 casino shutdowns, and was the first Las Vegas venue to offer eight-handed play after coming back.

The Venetian was also the first Las Vegas poker room to offer a major live tournament series in the post-pandemic-shutdown era. The Venetian Deepstack Showdown ran throughout October, pulling big numbers as players took to the poker room for the first large-field live tournament action available in Las Vegas in months.

The series continues throughout November with events run in partnership with the Mid States Poker Tour.

Despite the Venetian poker room's popularity, a number of players refuse to step foot inside the venue due to Adelson's efforts to thwart regulated online poker. The billionaire Adelson wields major influence in the legal gambling industry, as well as political clout in the Republican party in the U.S.

If Adelson exits the U.S. market, could that mean positive news for advocates of regulated-only poker in the states? That remains to be seen. A change in ownership of the Venetian would, however, open up one of the largest poker rooms in Las Vegas to a section of players that have boycotted the venue for years.

Featured image source: Flickr/Paul Kehrer