Asia round-up: Okada lawyers up; Entain and AHA partner & SJM Resorts shakes up

Another week another update as Kazuo Okada attempts to retain as much control over the Okada Manila as he can. 

asia news round up manila city skyline

It was just the end of last week (2 September 2022), when news broke that Okada had been indicted by the Philippines Department of Justice over “grave coercion” relating to his forceful takeover of the casino earlier this year. 

The tables of law turned on Okada, a man who once seemed to yield infallible power in the form of a Status Quo Order Ante (SQAO), a document granted to him by the Philippines’ Court of Appeals.  

It was with this SQAO that Okada was – under some form of legal jurisdiction – able to reclaim the Okada Manila without the threat of immediate repercussions.

These summer days of 2022 seem long gone now though, with Universal Entertainment (the company Okada was ousted from) now back in control of the Manila-based gaming destination, and a fresh indictment over the nature of Okada’s initial takeover looms large. 

Not one to lie down, Okada has hit back by appointing Attorney Rico Paolo R. Quicho as his new Spokesperson.  

Okada hopes Quicho will ensure his business interests in the Okada Manila are preserved, and that his control over the Okada Manila (on whose board Okada still has a seat) remains intact.  

Okada’s new Spokesperson currently manages his own law firm, having first worked in litigation with Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices from 2003 to 2007.   

Furthermore, Quicho previously served as Spokesperson to the Philippines’ former Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.   

Per Okada’s statement, Quicho will meet with members of the media the week starting 10th October 2022, and share updates on Okada’s pursuit of status protection and his long-term vision for the casino.    

Entain Australia partners with AHA NSW 

Further to the east, Entain’s Australian arm and AHA New South Wales have partnered to bring what they claim is digital wagering competition for New South Wales hotels. 

The deal will allow Entain Australia to promote its digital wagering brands Ladbrokes and Neds in NSW pubs through a new advertising and sponsorship arrangement. 

The CEO of AHA New South Wales John Whelan discussed the deal: “The reasons for this new partnership are simple. 

“For decades now, many NSW hotels have operated PubTabs for Tabcorp at a significant loss - primarily due to high Sky Channel and EBT (betting terminal) fees. In country NSW it’s even worse, with the majority of country pubs currently running their PubTab at a loss.” 

Entain’s agreement with AHA NSW is surely a sign of the times, with operational costs rising and businesses facing running at a loss for many sequential months.  

The gambling industry is not immune to the financial struggles felt in worldwide markets, despite the industry seeming worlds away from most others at times. 

SJM’s former Managing Director completes 10% shareholding transfer to replacement  

If things are starting to get tough for some gambling operators looking to cut costs, you'd be hard-pressed to find any who’ve had a harder time than Macau-based operators over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as SJM Resorts. 

Despite taking out a slew of loans in the last few months, mostly to try and secure a new gaming licence to remain one of Macau’s six concessionaires, it’s starting to feel like a fresh start at SJM. 

Not only is Macau starting to get back on track by accepting new evisa arrivals, but a change of personnel could symbolise a fresh start at the company. 

This is because the arrival of Daisy Ho as SJM’s new Managing Director is now signed, sealed and delivered after the previous Managing Director Angela Leong's 10% nominal shareholding amount in SJM was transferred to Ho.  

Leong had previously returned 300,000 Class B shares to SJM in early October, and now these have been given to Ho, per a directive under Macau’s gaming law stating a Managing Director must have a certain percentage of company shares.  

The amount differs from company to company and typically ranges between 10% to 15% depending on a company's make-up, such as whether it has a parent or manages any subsidiaries.  

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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