- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. said its first-quarter net income rose 36 percent due to a strong performance in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market.

Billionaire CEO Sheldon Adelson said Thursday that the company delivered growth in every sector of business in Macau, and reported that plans to add thousands more hotel rooms are on budget and on schedule. He predicted demand in the enclave, the only place in China where gambling is legal, would not be satisfied anytime in the foreseeable future.

“From the time of Confucius … nobody has been able to suggest that the Chinese and other Asian peoples don’t want to challenge luck,” Adelson said on a conference call with analysts. “They have been wanting to challenge luck for 3,000 years and nothing, through thick or thin, tall or short, slim or fat, nothing has stopped them, and I don’t think anything will.”

Sands reported Thursday that it earned $776.2 million, or 95 cents per share, in the January-March quarter. That’s up from $572 million, or 69 cents per share, the year before.

Excluding one-time items, profit came to 97 cents per share.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $4 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet predicted profit of 92 cents per share on revenue of $3.9 billion.

Shares added 33 cents to $79.81 in after-hours trading.

Sands derives a majority of its revenue from the Macau, but also operates The Venetian and the Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, the Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Macau issued a limited number of gambling licenses in the early 2000s. Sands was the first U.S. casino corporation to enter the market and build up the Cotai Strip tourism district.

“I created the Cotai Strip, and now today everybody will cut off their right arm to get a piece of land in Cotai when everybody thought in the past that it wasn’t going to succeed,” Adelson said. “Well, today I have a warehouse full of right arms.”