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Venetian dividend, employee bonus plan approved by regulators

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday voted 4-0 to approve distribution of a dividend of an estimated $620 million to Apollo Global Management investors and its plan to hand out bonuses to The Venetian’s 7,000 employees.

The distribution, recommended Nov. 2 by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, was required because the operating subsidiary of Apollo is a private equity investment company.

Regulators were required to review the distribution to be sure the company maintains an appropriate debt balance and financial stability of the operation.

Robert Brimmer, chief financial officer of The Venetian, said the resort has substantially outperformed expectations since the property was acquired for $6.4 billion from Las Vegas Sands Corp. in February.

He said the company has had better-than-expected financial results in the hotel, casino, food and beverage, and meetings and convention businesses.

The company managed to maintain high room and occupancy rates since the Apollo team took over. Brimmer said it intends to invest $1 billion in the property in the next three to four years to remodel rooms and expand and upgrade its casino floor with more slot machines.

Commissioners said they were comfortable with the distribution plan because the company will have about $200 million in available credit by the end of the year, including a financial agreement with Las Vegas Sands.

When executives appeared before the Control Board this month, they said the amount of bonuses to workers would be announced at an employee town hall meeting and that each employee would receive an equal amount.

There was no update on the bonuses, but executives said that some employee benefits that had been suspended during the pandemic have been restored, such as its 401(k) employer-sponsored retirement savings plan match program and a funding match program for employee education.

Brimmer said an ice cream machine that had been removed from the employee dining room had also been returned.

Commissioner Ogonna Brown said she appreciated the return of the ice cream machine as a morale booster for employees.

The Review-Journal is owned by the Adelson family, including Dr. Miriam Adelson, majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Las Vegas Sands President and COO Patrick Dumont.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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