The American casino giant Las Vegas Sands (LVS.N) is facing a lawsuit of 12 billion dollars from a former partner in the court in Macau, in a case that will shed light on how the desired casino licenses were given in the largest gambling center in the world two decades ago.
The former partner company American American Entertainment Corporation, headed by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao, is seeking compensation for about 70% of Sands̵
The trial, which began on June 16, alleges Sands violated his contract with an Asian American for a casino license in Macau, China’s only legal gambling destination.
This happens when the titan of the casino faces huge gambling revenues due to coronavirus travel and health restrictions and a few months before the expiration of the Sands casino license in Macau. The operator must re-bid for a license through a public auction in 2022.
Sands, who also runs a casino in Singapore, has been battling lawsuits from an Asian American since 2007, when the case was first opened in the United States.
The case was filed in Macau in 2012, after the case was terminated in the United States due to statute of limitations and procedural reasons.
It dates back to 2001, when Sands and an Asian American co-opted for a gaming concession. During the trial, Sands changed partners and instead merged with Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment, according to the lawsuit.
The Sands-Galaxy combination continued to gain a license in the former Portuguese colony more than a decade ago.
Marshall Hao told Reuters that Sands terminated its joint venture with Asian Americans and then presented an almost identical replica of its previous performance with new partner Galaxy.
“An Asian American has won all the big legal battles in the Macau case since we took him in 2012 … we’re confident.”
Sands tried to avoid the lawsuit by filing lawsuits in Nevada and Macau. The company declined to comment, but said in 2019 that it “consistently maintains that this case is unfounded. We are confident that eventually the trial in Macau will reach the same conclusion.”
In its latest annual report, Sands said its management “is currently unable to determine the likelihood of the outcome of the issue or the extent of reasonably possible losses, if any.”
Sands, founded by the late casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, is facing several lawsuits over its earlier deals in Macau, including securing a lucrative casino license.
(This story has been corrected to add a missing letter in paragraph 6)
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