Las Vegas Sands Losses Mount

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. said Tuesday its first-quarter loss widened compared with a year earlier as its revenue stagnated and expenses rose, but the results were slightly better than Wall Street expected.

For the quarter that ended March 31, the Las Vegas-based company said Tuesday that it lost $87.7 million, or 14 cents per share, after paying dividends. A year ago, Las Vegas Sands lost $11.2 million, or 3 cents per share.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 1 cent per share on revenue of $1.08 billion, roughly flat with the first quarter of 2008.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who generally exclude one-time items, forecast a loss of 2 cents on revenue of $1.06 billion.

Billionaire Chairman and Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson said the company cut its annual spending about $470 million during the quarter as it combined some costs for The Venetian Las Vegas and The Palazzo on The Strip.

Pre-opening expenses, meanwhile, rose during the quarter, mostly for the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Sands Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa., to open later this month, and some resorts under development on the Cotai Strip. Those costs totaled $44.9 million in the first quarter, up from $26.6 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Depreciation and amortization expenses also rose, mostly related to opening The Palazzo and the Four Seasons Macao.

Business/Financial News

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