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Soccer star Beckham will promote casinos in China

  • ASSOCIATED PRESSFILE - In this July 7, 2013, file photo, former soccer star David Beckham greets media and youth in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands. Beckham has signed on to help promote Las Vegas Sands' properties in Singapore and the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. Sands said in a statement that it hopes to cash in on Beckham's popularity in the region. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    FILE - In this July 7, 2013, file photo, former soccer star David Beckham greets media and youth in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands. Beckham has signed on to help promote Las Vegas Sands' properties in Singapore and the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. Sands said in a statement that it hopes to cash in on Beckham's popularity in the region. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

LAS VEGAS >> Retired soccer star and sometime underwear model David Beckham has signed on to help promote Las Vegas Sands’ properties in Singapore and the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.

Sands said in a statement that it hopes to cash in on Beckham’s popularity in the region.

The Las Vegas-based company is the largest casino operator in Macau, the center of the modern day gambling world.

The deal may help Sands win attention in mainland China, where casinos are illegal and casino advertising 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 kids 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 will 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 kids at a Sands casino there.

Sands owns four booming casinos in Macau. The Venetian Macau is the largest casino in the world.

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Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

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