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Case Code: BSTR481
Case Length: 15 Pages 
Period: 1933-2015
Pub Date: --
Teaching Note: Available
Price:Rs.600
Organization :Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Industry :Gambling and Hotel Industry
Countries : US, China
Themes:  Entrepreneurship/Business Strategy
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Building a Gambling Empire: The Sheldon Adelson Way

 
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EXCERPTS

 

THE FIRST MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH

In 1979, Adelson, along with partners, Robert Lively and Richard Katzeff, launched a computer trade show called the ‘The Computer Dealers Expo’ (COMDEX), at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. And Adelson’s foresight about the growth potential of the computer industry paid off. The late 1970s and early 1980s were a period when public interest in computers was on the rise and computer-based companies were experiencing exponential growth. COMDEX drew thousands of participants and exhibitors, with industry leaders vying with each other to deliver keynote addresses at the show. The expo served to enhance the reputation of several upcoming companies. It also acted as the launching pad for many products in the computer industry, apart from being a venue for making major new product announcements...

 

 
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A NEW WAY TO DO BUSINESS

In the early 1990s, Adelson had visited Italy on a holiday. The architecture of Venice, with its unique canals and artwork, captivated him and made him take the decision to build a themed hotel-casino-resort at Las Vegas on the lines of Venice. For his new venture, Adelson decided to go it alone without any business partners...

EYEING INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS

The success of Venetian prompted Adelson to be on the lookout for opportunities to expand into other countries. And in 2001, the opportunity he was looking for surfaced. The Chinese government began giving gambling licenses to international companies interested in setting up operations in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, near Hong Kong. Macau, which had been a part of China since 1999, was the only part of the country where gambling was legal, but it had a very seedy reputation......

THE SUCCESSFUL IPO
 

The massive profits from the Venetian and Sands Macao, prompted Adelson to go in for an IPO for LVSC in December 2004. Speaking about the prospects for the IPO, Marc Falcone, a Deutsche Bank Equity Gambling Analyst in New York, said, “My gut tells me this will be a very high-demand or hot initial public stock offering......

RISING ABOVE ADVERSITY
 

The global financial crisis that started in 2007 brought hard times for Adelson. The crisis squeezed gambling’s growth and led to the cancellation of several conventions, thereby adversely affecting LVSC’s business. At a time when other gambling operators had pulled the plug on expansion keeping in view the tough market conditions, Adelson continued to take loans to expand operations at multiple locations...

FUTURE EXPANSION PLANS
 

As of 2012, Adelson had almost US$ 12 billion invested in casinos, condominiums, and hotels in Macau. This made him the largest foreign investor in China of all time. Adelson believed that Asia as a whole had the potential for more gambling places; he thought that there was room for the equivalent of five Las Vegases...

ADELSON AND THE TWILIGHT YEARS
 

Even in his advanced years and having to get around with the aid of a scooter (he had reduced mobility stemming from a nerve condition), 81-year-old Adelson displayed no signs of giving up or even cutting down on his role in business...

EXHIBITS
 

Exhibit I: Pictorial Representation of the Ups and Downs in Adelson’s Life

Exhibit II: Forbes Rich List 2015

Exhibit III: Top Gambling Locations in the World 2014

Exhibit IV: Biggest Casinos in the World 2014