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June 21, 2021

Allegations put an uncomfortable spotlight on the ways casinos do business in Macau

Las Vegas Sands case draws scrutiny to gambling industry

Las Vegas Sands case draws scrutiny to gambling industry
After Las Vegas Sands has agreed to pay more than USD 75M to Steve Jacobs, its former top Macau executive, people involved in the casino industry said that they expect the case’s implications to continue even without a trial.
Macau | 06/03/2016

After Las Vegas Sands has agreed to pay more than USD 75M to Steve Jacobs, its former top Macau executive, people involved in the casino industry said that they expect the case’s implications to continue even without a trial.

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xecutives at Sands and its rivals have long said they wished Sheldon Adelson would settle the case, as its allegations brought unwanted scrutiny to the entire industry.

According to some, the entire legal debacle could have been avoided. “It didn’t have to happen had it not been for a clash of big egos,” said George Koo, a member of Las Vegas Sands’ board from 2008 through 2014. The company declined to comment on Mr. Koo’s assertion.

The allegations in the former executive’s suit put an uncomfortable spotlight on the ways casinos do business in Macau, particularly regarding their use of middlemen called junket operators.

Many of these middlemen who bring in high-rolling gamblers, lend them money and collect debt have been known to have ties to organized crime, according to U.S. officials.

Allegations in the Jacobs case helped spur the U.S. Treasury Department to focus more heavily on casino companies, prompting them to change the way they account and report on the financial transactions of their customers, said Jim Dowling, a consultant for casino companies on their anti-money-laundering policies.

“The case brought attention to casino operators and regulators—like ‘Woah, what’s this. We need to take a look at this,’”  Dowling said. “Both sides started looking at it.”

 

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