Asia round-up: The Star CEO resigns; APE revenue down 81% & more

The Australian operator’s board has accepted his resignation, which comes amid the ongoing review into The Star Sydney. The review was established under the Casino Control Act 1992 and was commissioned in October 2021 by the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA). 

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Public hearings in connection with the review last week heard that Bekier reacted angrily to a 2018 report by global audit firm KPMG, which raised concerns about anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. 

The review remains ongoing, but Bekier has informed the group’s board that, as Managing Director and CEO, he must take responsibility for many of the decisions the company made in recent years. 

A statement from the operator read: “Mr Bekier’s decision follows issues raised in the public hearings in connection with the review of The Star Sydney being undertaken by Mr Adam Bell SC. 

“While the Review remains ongoing, Mr Bekier informed the board that as Managing Director and CEO, he is accountable for the effectiveness and adequacy of the company’s processes, policies, people and culture. Mr Bekier said the right thing to do was for him to take responsibility.” 

Bekier’s final departure date has yet to be determined, but The Star has confirmed he will step down from the board immediately. He will, however, work together with the board to “transition his executive responsibilities in an orderly manner.” 

APE reports losses of 81% from the prior year 

Asia Pioneer Entertainment (APE) has reported its full-year revenue for 2021, which is down 81% from the prior year. The company’s yearly revenue stood at HK$7.6m (US$975,180). 

APE attributes its sharp fall in revenue to a decrease in profits from electronic table games that are distributed, sold and serviced by the company.  

"Mr Bekier informed the board that as Managing Director and CEO, he is accountable for the effectiveness and adequacy of the company’s processes, policies, people and culture. Mr Bekier said the right thing to do was for him to take responsibility” The Star Entertainment Group, Spokesperson

Although year-on-year losses totalled HK$23m, this is down on losses made of HK$32m from 2020. The electronic games distributor can be pleased with a narrowed loss from the previous year, at least.  

Yet gross profit and gross margin for APE were HK$1m and 12% respectively. Again, this is a marked downturn from FY2020, when gross profit stood at HK$12.2m and gross margin was 31%.  

Alongside a poor return on electronic casino games, APE cites the continuing travel and social risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic as a cause for its low return.   

A lack of demand for new electronic games in different locations has also affected the distribution of equipment, which is down 86% year-on-year.  

This is sure to affect what APE claims is its start-up phase in the distribution of electronic games, the majority of which were set up in Macau-based casinos at the back end of 2021.  

APE claims it will be able to overcome its financial issues with the help of its other subsidiaries. The company feels its multi-faceted brands will enable the group to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Golden Dragon satellite casinos set to close 

Four satellite casinos in Macau associated with the Golden Dragon Group are likely to close by the middle of 2022.  

All four are linked with Chan Meng Kam’s formally owned company, although there are further ties between these satellites to both SJM Holdings and the Grand Dragon Casino, a subsidiary of Melco Resorts & Entertainment.  

The report from Allin Media does not detail the names of each satellite operation. The news, however, comes as no surprise following the decision of Macau’s Legislative Committee to regulate the operating capabilities of satellite casinos. 

Under the new measures, which will come into place in three years following a period of grace, all satellite casinos must be wholly owned by their licence holder.  

This has raised serious concerns for satellite casinos, who now fear the impact legislation will have on local employment in the region.

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