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Sands China revenue plummets in 2020 due to Macau travel restrictions

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Sands China, the Macau-focused subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands, made a loss of $1.52bn, representing three-quarters of the parent company’s 2020 loss, after revenue dropped 80.8% to US$1.69 billion amid travel restrictions.

Casino gaming brought in $1.17bn in revenue, down 83.3% while rooms produced $144m, down 80.3%, and shopping mall revenue declined 49.3% to $269m.

Food and beverage revenue dropped 80.2% to $59m and convention, ferry, retail and other revenue was down 80.0% at $46m.

The casino revenue of $1.17bn came as turnover fell 81.3% to $19.67bn, down 81.3%. This was made up of $12.1bn in VIP chip turnover, $4.65bn in non-VIP chip turnover and $2.92bn in slot turnover.

Breaking revenue down by resort, the Venetian Macau remained Sands China’s top property, though revenue dropped 79.0% to $738m.

The Londoner Macau – formerly Sands Cotai Central – saw revenue plummet 85.5% to $297m. The Parisian Macau, meanwhile, saw revenue drop 84.3% to $259m.

The Plaza Macau was Sands China’s most resilient resort, but revenue still dropped 69.8% to $265m. Sands Macau revenue was down 80.8% to $120m. Ferry and other operations revenue was down 84.6% to $21m.

The decline in revenue was similar to the decline seen across the Macau gaming market, with GGR down 79.3% for the year.

Sands China’s expenses also declined rapidly, by 55.2% to $2.93bn.

This included $625m in gaming taxes, down 81.7%, and $1.05bn in employee benefits, 19.7% less than 2019, as well as $684m in depreciation and amortisation costs and $544m in other expenses.

After a net interest expense of $268m, Sands China’s pre-tax loss was $1.51bn, compared to a $2.03bn in 2019. After $16m in tax expenses, the operator’s loss was $1.52bn, which again compared to a $2.03bn 2019 profit.

While 2020 was a difficult year for the operator, chief executive Robert Goldstein expressed confidence that gaming in the region would recover strongly.

“While the pandemic and related travel restrictions negatively impacted the market in 2020, we firmly believe the Macao market will recover and will benefit in the future from the meaningful infrastructure investments being made in Macao and throughout the Greater Bay Area,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein also honoured Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson, who died last month at the age of 87

“Mr. Adelson was a visionary,” Golstein said. “He pioneered the development of the Cotai Strip in Macao, leading the company and the team he created in the rapid and market-leading development of a critical mass of world-class integrated resorts in Macao.

“Mr. Adelson’s commitment to pushing forward with diversification and investment in non-gaming amenities in Macao was unwavering, as was his belief in a strong, healthy and cordial US-China relationship, based on mutual respect.

“The company, with the full and wholehearted support of the board and the Adelson family, will continue to honor Mr. Adelson’s vision and commitments, including through additional investments that will contribute to the diversification of Macao, while building upon his legacy.”

Las Vegas Sands also announced the combined group’s revenue last month. Revenue fell 73.7% to $3.61bn while the operator made a $2.18bn loss.

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