Marina Bay Sands Paying Wang $6.5 Million, Ending Gambler Suit Claiming Cash Sent to Other Guests
Posted on: July 19, 2020, 04:57h.
Last updated on: July 20, 2020, 02:57h.
Marina Bay Sands Pte. — the holding company for the Singapore integrated resort of the same name operated by Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) — is settling a lawsuit with a disgruntled gambler for $6.5 million.
Last year, Wang Xi, a Chinese gambler, sued Marina Bay Sands, claiming the operators moved money from his house account to those of other patrons without his permission. Wang sought the equivalent of S$9.1 million (Singapore dollars), which converts to $6.5 million USD based on current exchange rates.
Wang said the non-authorized transfers took place in 2015, and his litigation against the gaming company compelled local authorities to look into Sands’ protocols pertaining to house accounts.
There is a ‘non-admission’ of liability from both sides as part of the settlement,” reports Bloomberg, citing an unidentified source.
According to 2019 court filings, Wang deposited $6.5 million into an account with MBS between October and December of 2015, and those funds were depleted via 22 unauthorized transfers to other guests of the integrated resort. The legal documents didn’t say how much money was sent to those patrons, who they are, or how much was left in Wang’s account following the last transfer. But the plaintiff made clear he didn’t know the recipients of his funds.
Wang will be allowed to revisit MBS provided he follows the venue’s rules.
Still Dealing With the Feds and the Virus
Last month, it was revealed that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into anti-money laundering violations at MBS.
Specifically, the DOJ probe is examining how the gaming operator previously handled accounts of gamblers deemed to be high rollers. In January, DOJ subpoenaed the former MBS compliance chief for documents relating to “money laundering facilitation” and possible violations of corporate policy. It’s not immediately clear if the settlement of the Wang litigation will have any impact on the DOJ investigation.
Along with Resorts World Sentosa, which is operated by Genting Singapore, MBS has a duopoly in Singapore. Those two venues reopened in July following a three-month shutdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite numerous health and safety protocols and capacity limitations implemented by both venues, the Singapore Ministry of Health said last week there are multiple instances of customers visiting both gaming venues and later testing positive for COVID-19.
Why Singapore Matters
By revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Singapore is the second-most important market for LVS after Macau. In a typical quarter, MBS drives more than double or triple the turnover generated by Sands’ two Las Vegas properties, the Venetian and the Palazzo.
Alone MBS, accounts for a third of LVS’s operating income.
When news of the DOJ probe broke in June, some analysts speculated that, based on history, Resorts World Sentosa could snag some VIP business from its rival. With the two integrated resorts still in the early innings of reopenings, it remains to be seen if Sentosa will steal high rollers from MBS this year.
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