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Asia round-up: The Trojan Tiger; SJM’s revenue reshuffle, NSW warning & more

Macau concession holder SJM Holdings plans to implement a new revenue share arrangement with its satellite casinos. 

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SJM will ask for a more significant share, leaving satellites with reduced revenue amounts. 

The operator’s VP and CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai claims casino operators are subject to greater financial pressures due to rising costs. 

Speaking to Hong Kong media, So said: “[Gaming operators] cannot sack people [local staff] and have to afford the running expenses, as usual, averaging more than [HK]$10m a day, while the business volume has declined.” 

He added that the business environment had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese Government’s strict cross-border travel and illegal gambling policies. 

Universal Entertainment and Tiger Resort Asia reclaim Okada Manila 

Tiger Resort Asia (TRAL) has retaken control of Okada Manila, as stated by its parent company Universal Entertainment.  

Okada had held the casino since spring; now, though, it has been reclaimed after members of Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment’s (TRLEI) parent company TRAL – itself owned by Universal Entertainment – posed as casino workers and took control of the casino on Friday 2 September 2022.  

TRAL members were accompanied by representatives from PAGCOR and police officers when they reassumed control on 2 September. Despite videos and reports depicting violent scenes, Universal claims its reclamation of the casino has been “generally peaceful.”  

“[Gaming operators] cannot sack people [local staff] and have to afford the running expenses, as usual, averaging more than [HK]$10m a day, while the business volume has declined” Ambrose So Shu Fai, SJM Holdings VP and CEO

Furthermore, the Philippines’ regulator PAGCOR says it is withdrawing its recognition of Okada and its party as the legitimate operating partner of the casino.   

However, the operator claims the SQAO awarded to Okada would be recognised, but only in relation to Okada himself, not his co-conspirators. As such, Okada looks set to retain his position as stockholder, director, Chairman and CEO of the resort.  

The former President of Okada Manila, Bryon Yip, has been reinstated to his position following an order from PAGCOR. Okada’s group claims PAGCOR has defied the orders of the Supreme Court and that it will be taking legal action.

NSW Independent Casino Commission sends warning to operators 

The New South Wales Independent Casino Commission has warned casinos in the state they will face “very severe consequences” if they engage in misconduct. 

The Commission, which came into force today, has unprecedented powers to monitor casino activities and act against operators who take part in money laundering or other criminal activity. 

Casinos face fines of up to AU$100m (US$67.8m) under new laws, while senior executives and board members will be personally liable for any wrongdoing they are aware of but fail to stop. 

Former Chairperson of the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) Philip Crawford will serve as Chief Commissioner of the body.  

Calls for Australian national gambling harm regulator

The Okada Manila has been reclaimed after Okada’s rivals posed as casino workers and took control of the casino on Friday 2 September 2022

The Chief Advocate at the Alliance for Gambling Reform has called for the Federal Government and regional states to establish a national gambling harm regulator in Australia, amid new research that found Australians lost over AU$11.4bn (US$7.74bn) on poker machines in a single year. 

Pokies losses did decline in Victoria and New South Wales by around 17% compared to pre-pandemic levels, mainly due to pandemic closures and restrictions, but they were higher in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania compared to 2018/19. In Victoria alone, gaming machine users lost over AU$2.2bn over the 2021/22 financial year, with the average Victorian user losing around AU$2,800. 

The figures, compiled by the Gambling and Social Determinants Unit at Monash University, include poker machines at pubs and clubs, not at casinos. 

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