Inside Asian Gaming

INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | April 2008 44 Briefs International Briefs Sheldon Adelson Wins UK Libel Judgement Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) Chairman Sheldon Adelson won a US$8 million libel judgment against a British newspaper over a 2005 article on the company’s attempts to put a casino in Manchester, England. According to a statement released by Mr Adelson’s British law firm, the Daily Mail agreed to apologize to Mr Adelson and LVS and to pay damages and Mr Adelson’s legal fees. Legal fees associated with the three-year legal battle amounted to the bulk of the settlement. Mr Adelson will receive roughly US$200,000 in damages, which he said would be donated to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London,which specializes in the treatment of cancer. “I am delighted that we have been fully vindicated and that the Mail has recognized that the allegations it made are utterly false,” Mr Adelson said. “My motivation throughout has not been to win damages but simply to vindicate my reputation through an honest acceptance of the facts by the Daily Mail.” The DailyMail article described attempts by LVS to locate a casino next to the Manchester United soccer team’s Old Trafford stadium and false allegations that LVS had colluded with eventual club owner Malcom Glazer, whom Mr Adelson said he had never met. “I was determined that the Daily Mail should be held accountable for telling falsehoods to its readers and for libelling us in the most egregious way,”Mr Adelson said. Adelson Questions MGM Mirage’s Motives The Las Vegas Gaming Wire reported that LVS Chairman Sheldon Adelson accused MGM Mirage Corp of investing in Atlantic City only to appease New Jersey gaming regulators in order to gain a favourable ruling on its relationship with a casino partner in Macau. According to the report, following a keynote address at the JP Morgan Chase & Co. investors conference at The Venetian Las Vegas, 74-year-old Adelson alleged MGM Mirage only announced plans to build a US$5 billion resort development in Atlantic City—the MGM Grand Atlantic City, which would be New Jersey’s largest hotel- casino complex—because the company is being investigated by New Jersey gaming authorities about its 50-50 joint venture with Pansy Ho—daughter of controversial Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho—in the US$1.25 billion MGM Grand Macau, which opened in December 2007. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has been conducting a more than 2-year-long investigation into the suitability of Pansy Ho. Federal and international authorities have alleged that the elder Ho has connections with Chinese organized crime groups, although no such allegations have ever been proved. Nevada gaming regulators ruled last year that MGM Mirage’s business relationship with Pansy Ho met the state’s probity standards. If New Jersey finds Pansy Ho an unsuitable business partner,MGM Miragemight be forced to abandon its ventures in the state,including a 50-50 partnership with Boyd Gaming Corp. in the Borgata. Mr Adelson had said in previous talks that LVS would not expand intoAtlanticCity,choosing instead tospendmore thanUS$600million to build Sands Bethworks, a casino and entertainment development in Bethlehem, Pa., that will open with 3,000 slot machines.The facility is about a one-and-a-half hour drive from New York City and could divert business from Atlantic City. If Pennsylvania licenses table games, Mr Adelson said the casino could rival Foxwoods, a large Indian casino in Connecticut. Mr Adelson said he didn’t see any upside to building in Atlantic City. “We think we are one of the most, if not the most aggressive opportunists in gaming and integrated resort expansion in the world,” he said. “We would not even consider Atlantic City. Never made any sense and it never will make any sense.” Casino Scam Leader Pleads Guilty The Los Angeles Times reported that the leader of a crew that cheated casinos out of US$7 million pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges in what federal authorities have described as one of the largest cheating schemes ever busted. Phuong Quoc Truong, nicknamed Pai Gow John, ran a sophisticated operation using the“false shuffle”, which enlists dealers to rig blackjack and mini-baccarat. The ring, which included several former dealers from San Diego- area card clubs, targeted 16 casinos across the country. Truong pleaded guilty, along with six others involved in the scheme. Twelve other suspects await trial. According to federal prosecutors, the scheme worked thus: A member of the crew, called the card recorder, would track the order of blackjack cards, relaying them with a hidden transmitter to an off- site associate who would enter the sequence into a computer. The bribed dealers would then perform false shuffles, creating a “slug” of unshuffled cards. The slug would be returned to the shoe, the device that holds the cards being dealt.When the slug cards were dealt in later rounds, the card recorder would signal associates at the table to dramatically increase their bets on hands the recorder knew would probably win. The off-site associate, using a card-tracking computer program, would signal when the odds were the greatest. “Executing the scheme in this fashion the… organization would Old Trafford