A casino giant says the new world's longest sea bridge is a 'game-changer' for its China business

  • Casino giant Las Vegas Sands says the recent opening of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is a game-changer for its Macau business.
  • The 29.6 kilometers bridge that connects Zhuhai and Macau with Hong Kong opened for traffic on October 24, and massively cut the travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai. It also made it possible to get from Hong Kong to Macau without taking a boat.
  • Las Vegas Sands management is optimistic about the ongoing US-and-China trade war and China’s economic slowdown, saying tourism metrics from mainland China are still robust.
  • Watch Las Vegas Sands trade live.

Casino giant Las Vegas Sands says the recent opening of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest sea bridge, is going to be a big boost for its business in Macau.

The 29.6 kilometers bridge that connects Zhuhai and Macao with Hong Kong opened for traffic on October 24, 2018. Prior to the project’s completion, people had to take a one-hour boat ride to get from Hong Kong to Macau. Now, the travel time between the two places has been shortened to about 30-40 minutes, and doesn’t require a boat.

“The bridge is a game-changer,” Robert Goldstein, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands, told investors on Wednesday’s earnings call. “The bridge makes it easier for people to get over and back over time. It runs all night. You don’t have to worry about a boat.”

Las Vegas Sands is one of the biggest gambling players in Macau, operating five casinos there. Together with Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International, the three American casino giants account for half the gaming revenue in Macau, according to Bloomberg.

Some gambling companies said they are under pressure amid ongoing the US-and-China trade war and China’s economic slowdown. In November, Wynn Resorts‘s CEO warned last month that its Macau operations have seen a notable slowdown after China’s National Day Golden Week, a seven-day holiday at the beginning of October.

But Las Vegas Sands’ management is optimistic, saying the tourism metrics from mainland China are still robust. A total of 25.2 million visitors from mainland China came to Macau last year, accounting for 1.8% of the total population in mainland China, Las Vegas Sands management says, citing data from National Bureau of Statistics of China. That’s up 14% from the previous year.

In the wake of the bridge’s opening, Las Vegas Sands said it generated $US2.26 billion revenues from Macau operations in the fourth quarter, up 7% year-over-year. It also reported $US786 million EBITDA in Macau, up 7.7% year over year but slightly missing the Wall Street consensus.

Las Vegas Sands shares were down 27% last year, were trading near $US55.68 on Thursday.

LVSMI

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