The House Always Wins?

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It may be a bit premature to take up a rooting interest in who wins Gov. Deval Patrick’s three proposed state gaming licenses, but if the last few months are any indication, Bay Staters ought to start pulling for international casino magnate Sheldon Adelson—and not just because he hails from Dorchester and has a house in Newton. You see, Adelson’s Sands Corporation—operators of the famed Venetian—posted a $48.5 million third quarter loss this year.

Why? Bad management? Empty hotels? Corruption, even?

None of the above, actually. Try a bad run at the blackjack table.

Last year, The Venetian Las Vegas’s winning percentage in blackjack, baccarat and assorted other games was 23.4 percent. In the last quarter, though, the casino slumped to a 14.7 winning percentage, well below the forecasted 20-22 percent. While not fairing quite so poorly, Adelson’s other big ticket resort, the Venetian Macau, also had a subpar quarter at the tables.

A Bloomberg.com story cites Lawrence Klatzkin, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, as saying that the run of bad luck (or good luck, depending on your perspective) accounted for $33.5 million of the $48.5 million shortfall. On his less than stellar third quarter, Adelson was quoted saying:

“This is the nature of the business we are in..Some quarters are good, some are not so good, but a quarter does not a trend make. There’s nothing fundamental about it. It makes for a good opportunity for day traders and hedge funds. That’s all it does.”

If you ask us, it also makes for a pretty clear sign of whose blackjack tables we want to be getting comfortable at. Since Adelson’s proposed a plan to build a casino in Marlboro, it makes things all the easier. You people on Beacon Hill hear that? Get this man a casino here, STAT—or at least before his luck changes.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2007/11/06/the-house-always-wins/