After months of adamant denials, Crown Resorts unexpectedly admitted to New South Wales regulators late at night that its VIP services had indeed probably been used for money laundering. Coming after so many other damaging revelations about company management, the firm was forced to announce that its gaming facilities at Crown Sydney would not be opening as planned in December. Meanwhile, in Saipan, the CEO of Imperial Pacific International is now facing demands that he be put in jail due to the firm allegedly “growing comfortable” with defying court orders. We also take a closer look at how finance is increasingly seen as the best prospect for Macau diversification and, in our Nippon Weekly, we lay out what to expect next year in Yokohama’s IR development battle.
First, the news
- Crown delays Sydney debut after money laundering admission
- SkyCity Adelaide closed due to South Australia Covid outbreak
- Redcape acquires the Gladstone Hotel in New South Wales
- Lawyer asks court to put IPI CEO Donald Browne in jail
- No HK/Macau travel bubble until fourteen days of no new cases
- Operators may host two sporting events each in 2021
- Kangwon Land exhibits its own line of slot machines
- Seoul area casinos and racing limited to 20% capacity
- Fujiki vows he would give his life to stop Yokohama casino construction
- Aristocrat seen buying into real money online space
- Fantasy sports company PlayerzPot raises US$3 million in Series A funding
What you need to know
Crown Resorts will not be opening its $2.2 billion Sydney casino in December and will need to wait until February before it hears whether it will retain its license, which was thrown into further doubt after a last-minute admission of money laundering. A New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry has now heard months of testimony about serious lapses in corporate governance at the company and its failure to act on red flags. But it has taken until the 11th hour, literally, for the company to finally concede money may have been laundered through its VIP accounts.
The stakes are getting higher for Imperial Pacific International, particularly after a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs asked the court for Chief Executive Officer Donald Browne to be jailed for contempt of court. Lawyer Aaron Halegua, acting on behalf of seven construction workers who have filed a lawsuit against IPI, argued this week that it would be perfectly appropriate to put Browne behind bars.
Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng reaffirmed in his policy address this week that “promoting an adequate economic diversification” remained a key objective and a key way forward will be developing a financial industry. This possibility is clearly on the chief executive’s mind, as he discussed it at some length in comments that he made both on Monday in his policy address and on Tuesday to some legislators of the Legislative Assembly.
Barring some truly dramatic event, it’s already clear Yokohama faces a year of battle over IR development in 2021, pushing other public issues to the margins. Now that the national IR licensing window has been pushed back nine months to the period from October 2021 to April 2022, Mayor Fumiko Hayashi cannot avoid facing the voters before the final decision is made. This week, the anti-casino referendum campaigners turned in about 205,000 signatures, more than three times the roughly 63,000 signatures that they had needed to trigger a non-binding referendum.
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