Asia round-up - China Focus: Steve Wynn, Hong Kong gambling arrests & Sands

Matthews: Steve Wynn “in touch” with ex-Chinese Government Minister 

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Speaking exclusively to Gambling Insider, Jordan Matthews, lead counsel in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) case against Steve Wynn, discusses: Wynn’s alleged relationship with then-Vice Minister of the People’s Republic of China Ministry of Public Security, Sun Lujin; and his supposed attempts to lobby President Donald Trump on behalf of Chinese interests in 2017.  

Matthews: On or around October 20, 2020, Elliott Broidy, a former RNC Deputy Finance Chair, pleaded guilty to violating FARA in connection with his alleged efforts to influence the prior Administration, to extradite Guo Wengui and to have the DOJ drop its prosecution of certain parties tied to the 1MDB scandal.  

During this process, Broidy allegedly contacted Steve Wynn due to Wynn’s relationship with Donald Trump, and considering Wynn’s prior position as the Chairman of the Republican Finance Committee. It was during this exchange that Wynn was allegedly in touch with Sun Lijun, the then-Vice Minister of the People's Republic of China Ministry of Public Security.  

The DOJ’s complaint against Steve Wynn alleges that he lobbied people in the Trump Administration, including then-President Trump, on at least three separate occasions.

For more on our exclusive interview with Matthews, click here.    

Sands China revenue falls to $374m while Marina Bay Sands soars 108% 

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) has seen starkly different financial results reported by its Macau and Singapore operations.  

Once LVS' breadwinner, Sands China (Macau) revenue has plummeted from $855m in Q2 2021 to $374m this quarter, a decrease of 56% year-on-year. 

“The DOJ’s complaint against Steve Wynn alleges that he lobbied people in the Trump Administration, including then-President Trump, on at least three separate occasions” Jordan Matthews, Partner at Weinberg Gonser Frost

Although significant, this is understandable given the backdrop of Macau’s ceaseless lockdown measures and travel ban policies. The region has fallen in line with mainland China’s all-encompassing mandate for zero-Covid in any of its communities.  

However, there are green shoots of hope, with Macau set to slowly emerge from its current lockdown on 23 July 2022.  

Nonetheless, in Macau's absence, Singapore’s gaming operations have stepped in after being boosted by the end of a lockdown on 19 April 2022. 

LVS’ flagship casino in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, has seen its revenue from gaming operations soar 108%, from $327m in Q2 2021 to $679m in Q2 this year.  

Chairman and CEO of LVS, Robert Goldstein, is pleased by more significant visitor volumes and has hope for a full recovery in Macau. He added: “We remain enthusiastic about the opportunity to welcome more guests back to our properties, as greater volumes of visitors are eventually able to travel to both Singapore and Macau.” 

LVS reported a total of $1.05bn across all operations from Q2 2022. 

Hong Kong gambling syndicate bust leads to 48 arrests 

Hong Kong police carried out a series of raids across the city on 21 July 2022, to cut down on a triad-controlled syndicate that has allegedly generated HK$33m (US$4.2m) from illegal gambling activity over the past two years. 

According to the South China Morning Post, authorities seized HK$13m in crime proceeds, including HK$2m in cash, two sports cars and 10 luxury watches; during busts in the Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long districts. 

Police raided seven gambling dens, arresting 35 men and 13 women. Of those arrested, 13 are said to be members of the syndicate, including the alleged ringleader, with an additional 35 gamblers. 
 
The suspects have been detained on suspicion of a range of offences, including money laundering, operating illegal gambling establishments, being members of triad organisations and drug dealing. 

Missed a big gambling industry story in Asia? Don't worry, Gambling Insider has you covered with our Asia round-up.   


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