VIP player owed millions after junket and Wynn Macau found liable

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Wynn Resorts announces expansion into UAE

Macau’s highest court has upheld a ruling that found Wynn Macau was jointly liable with junket operator Dore Entertainment for the repayment of a A$1.065 million debt to a VIP player.

Asia Gaming Brief reports that according to legal experts in Macau, the case has been seen as crucial for the future of the local casino industry in that it defines the responsibilities of the concessionaires for the actions of the junkets.

The Court of Final Appeal upheld a ruling by the Court of Second Instance that found Wynn and the junket were jointly responsible for a 2015 incident when Dore was the victim of an internal theft by a casino cage manager.

She left after stealing more than A$100,000 by using her position in a VIP room to illegally pool deposits.

At the time, four people had pressed charges against the junket and Wynn demanding the repayment of some $64 million deposited, either in the VIP room or in gaming chips.

Case goes through multiple Macau courts

The Court of First Instance initially ruled that neither were responsible as the money the client was said to have deposited could not be considered a loan.

That was overturned by the Court of Second Instance.

In a March report in Gaming Law Review, lawyer Antonio Lobo Vilela wrote that the case could change the face of VIP gaming in Macau.

“The decision is crucial to the Macanese gaming ecosystem and the way it is structured. Whatever the decision may be, it will reshape forever the relationship between casino operators and gaming promoters, finally understanding that the latent financial risks could eventually outweigh the perceived profitability of the VIP gaming,” he wrote in the article.

In a worst-case scenario, should a gaming promoter with no significant assets in Macau or elsewhere file for bankruptcy, this would leave the casino left honouring their obligations, he added.

Wynn Macau said it would be seeking legal advice from its Macau counsel in relation to the judgment.

Macau bounceback on the cards – Wynn CEO

The chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts said the world’s largest casino centre will bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt Maddox is optimistic about Macau’s return to better fortunes.

He spoke bullishly about the Chinese special administrative region and said it could rebound on par with Las Vegas.

“I have a very, very bullish view of the future of Macau and what we’re going to see going forward,” Maddox said.

Last week, shares of all six Macau concessionaires plunged, resulting in more than $20 billion in evaporated market value in a single day.

That’s after authorities there roiled markets by laying plans investors interpret as efforts to rein in the gaming industry.

Wynn’s Wynn Macau arm controls two integrated resorts there – Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace – and the SAR typically drives about two-thirds of the parent company’s revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in a standard operating environment.

As such, shares of Wynn are proving vulnerable to the regulatory headwinds, with the stock of 15.7 per cent month-to-date.

The Wynn chief said that a lot of folks probably haven’t read or misunderstood the consultation report recently issued by Macau officials.

He noted policymakers are prioritising the health and the stability of Macau.

Maddox said the Macau government is going to take into consideration “the overall employment picture of Macau, coupled with the return on investment for shareholders” when considering licence renewal.

Wynn Macau employs 15,000 people in the region.

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