Marina Bay Sands agrees to settlement with former patron

By Ethan Anderson Updated
Third party authorisations cause problems for Singapore casino

Singapore casino Marina Bay Sands has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a former patron.

South China Morning Post reports that Marina Bay Sands have made a payment of US$6.5 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Marina Bay Sands, run by US billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, also agreed to allow Chinese gambler Wang Xi back into the casino as long as he abides by its policies, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

A spokesman for Marina Bay Sands declined to comment.

Wang also declined to comment through his lawyer at Rajah and Tann Singapore LLC.

Wang sued the Singapore casino last year to recover money he said was sent to other patrons in 2015 without his approval.

Singapore police also investigated Wang’s complaint, Bloomberg reported in May.

The out-of-court settlement in June ends a dispute that helped trigger probes of the Singapore casino by local authorities.

There is a “non-admission” of liability from both sides as part of the settlement, the person said.

The US Department of Justice is also scrutinising whether anti-money-laundering procedures had been breached in the way the Singapore casino handles high rollers.

The US Justice Department in January issued a grand jury subpoena to a former compliance chief of Marina Bay Sands, seeking an interview or documents on “money laundering facilitation” and any abuse of internal financial controls, according to a copy of the subpoena seen by Bloomberg.

Singapore is considering tighter regulations at its casinos to prevent money laundering and financing for terrorism, according to the Casino Regulatory Authority.

The regulator and the Ministry of Home Affairs are reviewing the legislative thresholds in the Casino Control Act with a view to lowering them to the global standard of US$3,000.

In practice, the regulator said last month it has already arranged with casino operators to drop the threshold for cash transactions that are subject to due diligence.

Marina Bay Sands is one of the most profitable casinos in the world, accounting for about a third of operating income at the Las Vegas-based parent.

The Asian operations, which include Macau, contributed about 85 per cent of the company’s US$13.7 billion in revenue last year, and have helped make Adelson one of the richest men in the US.

Singapore casinos and attractions to reopen this week

Singapore’s casinos at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa are among 13 Singapore entertainment attractions granted permission to reopen from Wednesday.

Asgam reported in late June that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Singapore Tourism Board announced Sunday that it had granted permission for the attractions to open following careful assessment of reopening proposals.

However, operations will be limited to no more than 25 per cent of normal capacity and subject to strict health and safety measures.

In a press release issued last Sunday, Marina Bay Sands said it was restricting casino access to Sands Rewards Club members holding gold status and above, plus Annual Levy Holders.

“The casino will also abide by strict safe management measures,” MBS said.

“There will be limitations on the number of patrons at each gaming table, while seats at the electronic gaming machines and slots will be at least one metre apart.

“Safe Distancing Ambassadors will be deployed to ensure there are no bystanders.

“Customer-facing team members will don masks and face shields, and will sanitise their hands before and after shifts at gaming tables.”

MBS said it has trained more than 1000 staff to take on safe distancing roles and will also reopen its ArtScience Museum and Sands SkyPark.

Resorts World Sentosa will open its casino and Universal Studios Singapore from July 1, followed by SEA Aquarium from July 4.

The return of some casino operations comes almost two weeks after Singapore entered phase two of easing COVID-19 restrictions, with both MBS and RWS opening some retail and food and beverage outlets.

Both companies had suspended all operations in early April.

Aside from facilities at the two integrated resorts reopening this week, other entertainment facilities given permission to resume partial operations include Singapore Zoo, Madame Tussauds, Bounce, Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Zero Latency.

Back to top