Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson aims to invest in India

The billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson reportedly met with Indian trade and tourism ministers on his way to Macau for the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel. Macau and Singapore are not the final destinations for Las Vegas Sands in Asia, he said. “We would like to build a Cotai Strip in India,” he says.

In Macau, Adelson told an Indian reporter, “You could have the equivalent of Las Vegas. If your government wants to invite us there, we would be happy to commit USD 12 billion – USD 14 billion.” But India isn’t the only Asian market being eyed by LVS.

According to a report from China Economic News Service, the developer is also looking at the possibility of a casino on Taiwan. William Weidner, president of LVS, told the Chinese-language Economic Daily News that his company is exploring the opportunity to establish a casino in the city of Taipei or Kaohsiung – if and when the government allows casinos on the island nation.

The Taiwan legislature has rejected several attempts to create a casino industry but is scheduled to again address the subject by the end of this year. However, the front-runner among possible locations for initial casino development is the offshore islands of Penghu, not major cities like Taipei.

Weidner said that LVS is not interested in developing a casino resort on the islands. The company once had plans to build there, but things went awry in 2000 when promised political support vanished. Instead, LVS took its money to Macau and built the Venetian. He believes that the best site for a casino on Taiwan is someplace with a large population and good transportation, meaning a major city like Taipei or Kaohsiung.

In typical Vegas style, Adelson is not worried about over-development. “We would like to build a Cotai Strip in India that would not affect Macau whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the market in India with 1.1 billion people would justify more than one Cotai Strip,” he told reporters.