Sands Confidential

Government Relations Profile: Andy Abboud

In 1998 while The Venetian was still under construction, Andy Abboud, now senior vice president of Government Relations, began his career meeting local lawmakers and spreading the word about the new development on the Las Vegas Strip.  At the time, the company was planning on opening the property without union representation, to the apprehension from many locals.       

“The company was looking for someone from outside of Nevada with fresh eyes, and politically I didn’t have any ties here so I was neutral in that aspect,” he said.  “When I was out in the community talking about the company being non-union, we had a lot of people who didn’t want us to succeed.  It was one of the most important things Mr. Adelson wanted for this property and its Team Members.”

Today, his primary role is overseeing government relations in current markets where LVS operates and potential future jurisdictions, building relationships with elected officials and stakeholders in those regions.  Regarding potential new markets, Abboud said it’s a collective decision amongst all that are involved.  With Brazil as an example, there isn’t a gaming market already established so the company looks at the viability of the market, focusing on whether it can operate a successful Integrated Resort and also meet the compliance standards that have been established.   From there, it is the responsibility of Abboud and his team to promote the value of the hospitality industry and what it can bring to the region.   

“Brazil is beautiful and underused by tourism,” he said.  “While we always do a market analysis making sure it’s a place where we can succeed, we also have to look at the political environment, which tells us the judgements that are in place, and also if it’s stable.  I’ve been able to impact legislative processes and I’ve been able to make legislature look at tourism in a different way when we’ve entered other markets.  They now see it as a benefit and aren’t weary of us opening a casino in their city or country.  Some of my key successes have been the bids in Singapore and Macao but also heading up the effort to open Sands Bethlehem.  The way we look at a market and our overall evaluation makes us a leader in that process.”

Being one of the first employees to join the company, he has seen many changes occur in his career.  At first, he had challenges meeting with local government representatives, but as the company has established itself as a leader in gaming and hospitality, respect has been gained in both business and politics.  Now, community and industry leaders ask the company for advice and guidance. 

“It’s been a great ride getting to this point,” Abboud said.  “We are the best at what we do and we’re at a point where we lead the industry in so many areas.  The reason I love my job is because I get to talk about the company and sell our strategy.  We have so many great accomplishments in our portfolio from our Team Members to Mr. Adelson’s vision to create a company like we have today.  I’ve seen ideas go from 0-100 in a very short amount of time and things are constantly changing.  When we do something, we do it right and I think that’s what has made us such a respectable company amongst our peers.”  

Abboud says one of his biggest challenges is changing the false stereotypes of gaming and he hopes that he can educate people on the positive impacts that an Integrated Resort can bring to a market.  As leaders in the community, the company is also establishing themselves as good corporate citizen by tackling issues like homelessness, mental health and the opioid crisis.   

“We’ve become a global company and our reputation is what it is today by what we’ve able to accomplish in business and the community,” he said.  “What this company ingrained in me, and I think all Team Members, is that we have a commitment to do things in an extraordinary way.  Mr. Adelson challenges the status quo over and over again.  We’ve done it differently, we’ve done it well, and we take care of our people and our communities.  The company has a great energy and it’s always changing.  It’s not your typical corporate culture because the company has always taken risks and done fun things.  Someone’s always thinking outside the box and no other company can do this like we do.”