as Vegas Sands is facing a billionaire lawsuit from a former partner in a Macau court, Asian American Entertainment Corporation, headed by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao, who is seeking damages of around 70% of Sands’ Macau profits from 2004 to 2022 over an alleged breach of contract for a casino license.
According to Reuters calculations, the figure would amount to around $12 billion. The trial will begin June 16, and it alleges that Sands breached its contract with Asian American for a casino license in Macau.
The lawsuit comes amid gambling revenues hit by the coronavirus travel and health restrictions, and a few months ahead of the expiration of Sands' casino license in Macau. The operator needs to re-bid for a license via a public tender in 2022.
Sands, which also runs a casino in Singapore, has been battling the claims from Asian American since 2007 when the case was first launched in the United States. It was lodged in Macau in 2012 after the U.S. case was dismissed for statute of limitations and procedural reasons.
The case dates to 2001, when Sands and Asian American jointly submitted a bid for a gaming concession. During the process, Sands switched partners, teaming up instead with Hong Kong group Galaxy Entertainment, according to the lawsuit. The Sands-Galaxy combination went on to win a license in the gambling hub over a decade ago.
Marshall Hao told Reuters that Sands terminated its joint venture with Asian American and then submitted a near identical replica of its previous submission with new partner Galaxy. "Asian American has been winning all major legal battles in the Macau lawsuit since we filed it in 2012...we are confident."
Sands has sought to avoid the trial by lodging legal action in Nevada and Macau. The company said in 2019 it "has consistently maintained that this case has no merit. We have confidence that ultimately the Macao judicial process will reach the same conclusion."
In its latest annual report, Sands said its management was “currently unable to determine the probability of the outcome of this matter or the range of reasonably possible loss, if any.”