Retired soccer star and sometime underwear model David Beckham has signed on to help promote Las Vegas Sands Corp’s properties in Singapore and the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.
Sands said in a statement that it hoped to cash in on Beckham’s popularity in the region.
The Las Vegas-based company is the largest casino operator in Macau, the center of the modern-day gambling world.
The deal may help Sands win attention in mainland China, where casinos are illegal and casino advertising is also banned. Soccer is hugely popular in China.
Beckham appears to have started his new gig already.
Last month, he posed for photographs with 100 local kids at the Venetian Macau and gave an hourlong interview. The children were selected with the help of several local community groups, including the Macau Special Olympics and the Association of Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers of Macau.
Details about what the partnership will look like over the long term are scarce. Sands said it would use the Beckham brand in dining and retail options at its casinos.
Las Vegas Sands president and chief operating officer Michael Leven said in a statement that the Beckham brand would help the firm, “as we aggressively explore opportunities to further expand our presence in Asia.”
Over the summer, Beckham staged a similar event in Singapore, meeting about 60 kids at a Sands casino there.
Sands owns four booming casinos in Macau. The Venetian Macau is the largest casino in the world.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands chief executive Sheldon Adelson said he was considering building individual integrated resorts (IR) in major European cities, 10 days after abandoning a plan to construct a US$30 billion mega-resort in Spain.
“I’m looking at a different model of doing Singapore-like or Japan-like or [South] Korea-like individual IRs in individual cities,” Adelson said in an interview in Herzliya, Israel, on Sunday.
“We will just take the major cities in Europe and see whether or not there is a possibility to pursue that,” he said.
Las Vegas Sands said on Dec. 13 that it was dropping plans for what would have been Europe’s largest resort.
Adelson had sought assurances that tax rates and other conditions would not be changed by future governments.
Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Athens and Paris are possible sites for new resorts, Adelson said.
Only cities with tourism infrastructure, including hotels, restaurants, transportation and exhibition facilities, would be considered, he said.
In Asia, it “looks like” Japan, [South] Korea, possibly Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand will allow the establishment of integrated resorts, said Adelson, who is ranked 12th globally in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“If they do, I’ll have a lot to keep me busy for the next five to ten years,” he said.