LVS eyes new IRs in Japan, South Korea

SAYING the IR model (integrated resorts, a term coined by Singapore) is going to be the model of the world, and Asia its new centre, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is eyeing further expansion in the region, with Japan and South Korea as its next targets.

  29/04/2010 10:37

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) president and COO Michael Leven said the company had started doing the groundwork to build an IR in Japan - "Tokyo, Osaka and possibly Okinawa" - as the country was seriously looking at legalising gambling. South Korea might take longer however as the locals were not allowed at its casinos, he said.

He was not keen on Vietnam, which also does not allow locals at its casinos, and the Philippines, which he said had "too much gaming" and junket rollers.

Responding to questions from TTG Asia after the opening of the Marina Bay Sands Singapore yesterday, Leven said Singapore had motivated countries such as Japan and South Korea to look at IRs as the model to bring in more MICE and tourism growth.

Japan "has been late" in getting inbound tourists and did not have adequate convention centre space, being behind Stockholm even in the global MICE ranking, he added.

LVS is only eager to convince these countries to legalise gambling - though a small part of the IR model, it is still an essential part to support the IR infrastructure and revenues - and modify their tax rates. Leven told TTG Asia when its Singapore IR was fully opened, 85 per cent of LVS EBITDA would come from the two IRs in Macau and Singapore, and 15 per cent from the US.

(Sources: Raini Hamdi, Singapore, TTG Asia)



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