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The Macau Metro Monitor, March 12, 2012

NEVADA PROBES JUNKET OPERATORS WSJ

Mark Lipparelli, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said that outside junket operators are "becoming an area of increased attention for us."  Nevada regulators in the past six months have increased their scrutiny of whether junket operators that are business partners with casino companies have connections with people tied to organized crime, a person familiar with the matter said. That person declined to say what companies are under scrutiny or to cite any evidence.

US DROPS SIDE-BETTING ALLEGATIONS Macau Business

The latest annual U.S. State Department on international money laundering has dropped the claim that the value of side-betting in Macau could exceed GGR by ten times.  Several industry players had rebuffed the claim, made in last year’s report.

Even so, in its latest report, issued last week, the U.S. State Department continues to say “Macau’s gaming industry relies heavily on loosely-regulated gaming promoters. Increasingly popular among gamblers seeking inscrutability and alternatives to China’s currency movement restrictions, junket operators are also popular among casinos aiming to reduce credit default risk and unable to legally collect gambling debts in China. This inherent conflict of interest, together with the anonymity gained through the use of the junket operator in the transfer and commingling of funds, as well as the absence of currency and exchange controls, present vulnerabilities for money laundering,” the report says.

Even so, the U.S. State Department acknowledges Macau “continues making considerable efforts” to develop an anti-money laundering framework that meets international standards.


THE UNRAVELING OF A CASINO MARRIAGE WSJ

WSJ details signs of a waning Wynn-Okada partnership way before the current legal battle.  Okada needed cash to build his Phillippines project and to support his foundering pachinko business which was being cracked down by the Japanese government but he couldn't sell his Aruze shares, which holds the WYNN shares, due to an amendment which prohibits Wynn and Okada from selling WYNN shares without the other's consent.  Wynn feared his control over Wynn Resorts could be threatened if Okada sold shares in WYNN or lost control of Aruze.  Okada asked Wynn to allow him more control in the company and wanted the authority to nominate WYNN board members.  Okada also wanted more compensation on the board since he was seeking future business for the company in Asia.  Meanwhile, Okada kept trying to persuade Wynn to join the Philippines project.

On Sept. 30, 2010, two attorneys from Wynn Resorts presented Okada's attorney with the board's corruption concerns from its investigation and said that because Okada's casino in the Philippines may compete with Wynn's businesses, he was violating his fiduciary duties as a board member.  A few days later, Wynn and Okada, flanked by lawyers, met together in Las Vegas.  Wynn accused Okada of using the company's intellectual property and misrepresenting his project, including handing out his Wynn Resorts business cards.  He also raised corruption concerns connected to Okada's Philippines project.  Wynn told Okada he should step down from his role as a director.

LABOR FORCE TO INCREASE BY 10 PERCENT IN 2012 Macau Business

Macau's secretary for economy and finance, Francis Tam Pak Yuen, said Macau’s labor force could increase by as much as 10% in 2012.  According to the secretary, this figure takes into account the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in hiring workers and also the current and future needs of the gaming industry.  To ensure 10% growth, the government would be forced to allow the number of imported workers to increase by over 30,000.