Macau casino taps David Beckham's star power as it courts mainland China
David Beckham named promoter of Sands to edge up Macau and Singapore businesses -- but also mainland China, where casinos are illegal
Associated Press in Las Vegas
Retired soccer star and sometime underwear model David Beckham has signed on to help promote Las Vegas Sands' properties in Macau and Singapore.
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 centre of the modern-day gambling world.
The deal may help Sands win attention in mainland China, where casinos are illegal and casino avertising is also banned. Soccer is hugely popular in China.
Beckham appears to have started his new gig already.
In November, he posed for photographs with 100 local children at the Venetian Macau and gave an hour-long 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.
Michael Leven, Sands' president and chief operating officer, said in a statement that the Beckham brand will help Sands "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 children at a Sands casino there.
Sands owns four booming casinos in Macau. The Venetian Macau is the largest casino in the world.