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Consumers Leaving Less in Vegas: Las Vegas Sands President

Saturday, 14 Jul 2012 | 7:18 PM ET

More people are visiting the Las Vegas strip, but they’re not spending as much as they used to, Michael Leven, Las Vegas Sandspresident & COO, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday.

Jerry Driendl | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

“In May, we had lousy numbers in terms of gross gaming revenue but visitation was up,” he said. “We're getting less spend per person and that's what statistically is happening.”

He continued, “People don't have as much money in their pocket and don't spend as much as they used to and that has a downward spiral to profits.”

That won’t change, Leven said, unless job growth picks up. “If we can't create more jobs, we can't get more spending," he said. “We're a consumer-driven society and Las Vegas is basically a consumer-driven place.”

He also said it’s becoming more challenging for Las Vegas Sands to develop gaming properties in the U.S. “We're not looking enough in the United States, and we can't, because the difficulty of doing business here is getting more and more difficult every day,” he said.

Instead, much of the gaming company's development has focused on Asia, including Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Leven said. (Related: World's Biggest Gambling Nations).

Betting on Creating US Jobs
Michael Leven, Las Vegas Sands president & COO, shares his thoughts on how to create jobs in America, and weighs in on growing the Asian gaming industry.

Las Vegas Sands is also looking in areas like Spain which are counter-cyclical, Leven said. “No one can make a prediction as to what Europe is going to look like five years from now and if we do anything in Spain we're making a long-term bet on the European population and the European economy,” he stated.

He also sees China as an opportunity and not a problem. “I think we ought to look at the great China consumer that’s growing,” he said. “It’s going to be the largest consumer market in the world and we need to manufacture and spend our money and time and research building business to sell to China."

For Las Vegas Sands, Leven said Chinese consumers are “the highest level gamblers and buyers of consumer goods that we have.”

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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