Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has often gone in the opposite direction of the rest of the gambling industry and he’s continuing that tradition even in these uncertain economic times. While casino projects are being put on hold across the globe, the Las Vegas Sands is quietly exploring the potential in what could be the next big market in the gambling industry – India.

With over a billion people, India has the potential to rival the enormous gambling revenues of the Chinese enclave of Macau, the home of the original Cotai Strip. Macau has already surpassed Las Vegas in gambling dollars in just a few short years. Adelson has already met with Indian trade and tourism ministers and spoke with Indian reporters regarding the potential investment in developing a casino industry in that country.

“You could have the equivalent of Las Vegas. If your government wants to invite us there, we would be happy to commit 12-14 billion US dollars,” he told one Indian reporter.

He also told reporters, “We would like to build a Cotai Strip in India that would not affect Macau whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the market in India with 1.1 billion people would justify more than one Cotai Strip”.

Since most gambling is illegal in India, it would take the state government passing legislation before any work could begin on a second Cotai Strip. Horse racing and lotteries are the only forms of gambling that are allowed under current Indian law, although there is one legal casino located in Goa. The government has been discussing the possibility of legalizing casinos in recent years, as a boost to the tourism industry of the country.