Asia round-up: Steve Wynns, the “unknown” of Macau, blacklist confusion & Crown

Steve Wynn defeats US lawsuit naming him a Chinese agent 

asia round up CHINA

Founder of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, has defeated a US lawsuit stating that Wynn should be registered as a Chinese agent.

After winning the case, Wynn can no longer be ordered to register with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) as a foreign agent of China. 

The case began in May this year when the DOJ sued for a court order forcing Wynn to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Read more in Gambling Insider's exclusive interview with Jordan Matthews. 

DOJ officials alleged that Wynn lobbied former US President Donald Trump on behalf of China in 2017, a claim Wynn and his attorneys have denied ever since.

On 12th October 2022, US District Judge James Boasberg said that given allegations of Wynn’s association with China ended in 2017, he cannot be required to register as an agent for the country. 

In making his ruling, Judge Boasberg pointed to a past example that occurred in a Washington DC Federal Court.  

However, the Judge expressed that his ruling was not a determination that Wynn hadn’t lobbied on China’s behalf, but rather that given the length of time passed since the alleged collusion occurred, Wynn was not required to register as a foreign agent.  

G2E Las Vegas: Billings compares Wynn’s US and Asia revenue 

Staying on Wynn Resorts, its current CEO Craig Billings discussed the slow return of revenue from Macau, China, and the challenges the operator still faces there amid the current health and safety measures in place. 

“Excluding Asia, we’re seeing international business come back,” he said. “We’re seeing it trickle back. China is the big unknown, but we’ll see how this week goes with the major political events over there. 

“There are tailwinds that aren’t here yet, that aren't back yet. And so I’m bullish on Las Vegas. We’re not ignorant or immune to what’s going on in the broader macroeconomy. We’re less impacted by oil and inflation with our aspirational luxury customers, but probably more impacted by the financial markets.” 

China, Philippines blacklist confusion 

In more China-related news, it was reported yesterday (11 October 2022) that China had officially blacklisted the Philippines as a tourist destination for Chinese citizens.  

The move was allegedly made because of the threat of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to the people of China.  

These offshore gaming companies have been targeting China, where online gambling is illegal.  

What’s more, many Chinese citizens have been deported from the Philippines after emigrating and working for POGOs illegally.  

However, the Chinese Embassy in Manila has now said it has not blacklisted the Philippines as a tourist destination. 

The Chinese Embassy made the announcement on the evening of 11 October 2022. 

The statement read: “The report of ‘tourist blacklist’ is misinformation.” This is despite comments from a top official from the Philippines who said that the Filipino Chinese Ambassador had told a group of local senators that China had blacklisted all travel to the Philippines. 

It remains unclear, as of yet, what China’s true intentions on the matter are. 

Paul Steel appointed Independent Monitor of Crown Perth 

From China to Crown now, where a new Independent Monitor of Crown Perth has been appointed. 

Police Force Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel has been charged with supervising the casino by the Western Australia (WA) State Government. He will take on the role in November 2022.  

The appointment, which mirrors the Victorian Government’s decision to supervise Crown Melbourne, follows a Royal Commission report handed down earlier this year that found the operator unsuitable to retain its casino licence for Crown Perth. 

Among other issues, the report recommended a two-year remediation period for Crown to establish suitability. 

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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