With sale of the Venetian, Las Vegas Sands exits the Strip

FILE - This Aug. 2, 2005 file photo shows the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas Sands is selling the real estate and operations of its Venetian casino resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center to VICI Properties and Apollo Global Management in a deal worth $6.25 billion. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File) (AP2005)

Las Vegas Sands is selling the iconic Venetian casino resort and its Sands Expo and Convention Center for $6.25 billion, withdrawing from gambling operations on the Las Vegas Strip after changing the nature of the casino business there and just about everywhere else.

The name of the Venetian, the expo center as well as the Palazzo, the Sands' luxury casino and resort that is part of the same complex, will remain, and the company's headquarters will stay in Las Vegas.

But the company led by Sheldon Adelson until his death this year will effectively cease U.S. operations. Under Adelson, the company's focus turned to Asia years ago, where revenue eventually outpaced even the operations on the Las Vegas Strip.

Under the two-part deal announced Wednesday, VICI Properties will buy the casino and resort and all assets associated with the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo for $4 billion. And Apollo Global Management will acquire the operations of the Venetian for $2.25 billion.

The global pandemic broadsided Las Vegas, shuttering the Strip where Las Vegas Sands has been the biggest operator for years. Sales growth vanished last March as infections spread across the U.S. The company posted a quarterly loss of almost $300 million in January.

The sale comes just two months after the death of Adelson, who transformed the landmark Las Vegas casino that was once a hangout of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack into a towering Italian-inspired complex.

Adelson reframed the target audience in Vegas, focusing on conventioneers and even families. He recognized that the real potential was not on the casino floor, as it was in the 1960s, but at the hotels, resorts and convention centers that surround them.

“Sheldon Adelson changed the Las Vegas market with his emphasis on conventions. He put a premium on that,” said University of Nevada, Las Vegas history professor Michael Green.