Billionaire Adelson Seeks Land to Add Singapore Hotel Rooms

Las Vegas Sands Corp. has asked Singapore authorities for more land to increase rooms at its resort in the city-state by about 60 percent after facing almost full occupancy, billionaire Chairman Sheldon Adelson says.

The world’s biggest casino operator plans to add 1,500 rooms to the 2,563-room Marina Bay Sands, Adelson said at a briefing in Singapore today. The company will also add meeting rooms, ballrooms and exhibition spaces to the $6 billion casino resort and largest hotel in Singapore, when the government releases more land, he said.

“We need more rooms,” Adelson said. “We are running at a 100 percent occupancy; on a bad day it’s 98 percent, no other hotel in the world runs like this except some in Vegas.”

Sands is benefiting from Singapore’s decision to overturn a four-decade ban on casinos to spur economic growth. The Marina Bay Sands resort, opened in 2010, lies in an area being developed under a government plan that includes waterfront pedestrian areas, performance spaces, a museum, restaurants and one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels.

Marina Bay Sands “has been a catalyst for enormous tourism growth,” Adelson said. The executive said he met government officials yesterday and repeated his request for more land.

The Singapore resort has about 1.2 million square feet of meeting and convention space and two theaters for Broadway shows, concerts and gala events, according to a company filing.

Higher Room Rates

The room revenue at Marina Bay Sands rose 11 percent to $360.3 million last year, the filing showed. The occupany rate was 98.6 percent in 2013 with an average daily room rate of $396. Hotels in the city filled 86.3 percent of their rooms last year, according to data from the Singapore Tourism Board.

Still, Sands posted fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 30 that trailed analysts’ estimates as revenue in Singapore fell 8 percent to $659.8 million. Gains in mass gaming and non-gaming revenue were countered by “softer VIP play,” the company said.

Adelson has a net worth of $38.5 billion, making him the world’s ninth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Bllionaires Index.

Sands is ready to invest as much as $10 billion in Japan to build a gambling, hotels, entertainment and shopping complex that would lure tourists to Asia’s biggest economy after China, Adelson said, repeating comments made last month.

Japan should allow Sands to build an integrated resort by 2020, before the Tokyo Olympic Games, said George Tanasijevich, chief executive officer of Marina Bay Sands. The Tokyo facility should have at least 200 rooms for meetings, conventions and exhibitions.

The company invested in Macau a decade ago and has since become the largest foreign casino operator in the city, which is about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong.

Sands plans to focus on Asia after the operator abandoned a plan in December to build a $30 billion mega-resort in Spain.

“We want to develop a network of resorts around the Pacific Rim,” Adelson said.

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