The Macau Metro Monitor, March 3, 2011
MACAU GOVERNMENT ASKS SANDS CHINA FOR REPORT ON US INVESTIGATION macaubusiness.com, Macau Daily Times
Secretary Tam said the Macau government has asked Sands China for a “detailed report” on the LVS investigations. Tam added that Sands China’s operations in Macau appeared to have proceeded “without problems” in recent years. DICJ Director Neves said DICJ has received a report from Venetian Macau regarding the investigation. Venetian Macau stated that the case will not affect company operations and the company will cooperate fully with investigations. SJM CEO Ambrose So said he was aware of the investigation and stressed that SJM operations abide by local laws and follow the operating guidelines of a listed company. He said it is still too early to comment on whether the case will affect the development of Macau’s gaming industry in future.
Meanwhile, Sands acting CEO Leven said that Sands China has dropped its CEO search and will maintain its current structure, with president and COO Edward Tracy leading the operation supported by Chief Casino Officer President David Sisk. Nevertheless, Sands China is still looking for a representative to liaise with the government. “The person would have some government experience,” Leven remarked.
SANDS CHINA FILES CRIMINAL SUIT AGAINST JACOBS Macau Daily Times
Sands acting CEO Leven said, "Sands China has filed a criminal complaint (on Jan 21) in Macau for defamation and with evidence of extortion” against Steven Jacobs. Leven confirmed he was aware of talks between Jacobs and representatives from Caesars Entertainment on a possible partnership in Macau, but he argues he told Jacobs a decision like that couldn’t be made without the involvement of Adelson. Leven said, “Gary Loveman eventually came to see us and did have a conversation with us. We talked about it, possibly for one of the sites here [on Cotai] – 3, 7 or 8 at the time – and then we tested it with some people here in Macau. The comment that we got [here in Macau] was they [Caesars Entertainment] wouldn’t get the licence. I delivered that message back to Gary Loveman. It never got to a negotiation, it was just a matter of enquiry."
WYNN POINTS OUT SOME KNOWN-UNKNOWNS Intelligence Macau
While it is a concern, IM says its smart for Wynn Macau to disclose in its annual report that it cannot guarantee that its room operators are always going to be in full compliance with Macau gaming regulations. Room operators, given their murky backgrounds, are difficult for anyone, even the most compliance-minded concessionaire, to manage perfectly. But it is interesting that Wynn Macau decides to disclose this risk in the midst of the LVS investigation.
GST FINE THE WAY IT IS, SAYS THARMAN Strait Times
Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam rejected calls by opposition Parliament member Low Thia Khiang to cut the goods and services tax (GST) from 7% to 5% or tweak it to combat inflation. Tharman said this is not the solution since the bulk of GST is collected from higher-income groups and foreigners, so cutting the rate would benefit them more.