Asian American Entertainment $12 Billion Suit Against Las Vegas Sands Delayed Again

Posted on: August 23, 2020, 06:10h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2020, 12:42h.

The Macau Judicial Court granted a motion filed by Las Vegas Sands (LVS) seeking to reschedule the trial date for Asian American Entertainment Corp.’s (AAEC) $12 billion suit against the US-based gaming giant.

Las Vegas Sands Asian American Lawsuit Delayed
The Parisian Macau. Las Vegas Sands had a lawsuit against it in Macau court pushed back to June 2021. (Image: Getty Images)

Citing “travel disruptions and other extraordinary circumstances” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sands moved to reschedule the trial, which was slated to commence on Sept. 16. The September trial date was itself a reschedule from the original date of the same month in 2019. The new trial date is set for June 16, 2021.

AAEC, controlled by Marshall Hao, is seeking compensation from LVS for what the Taiwanese company purports to be an old agreement gone bad.

Hao’s company claims it had a contract with Sands in 2001 to position the Las Vegas-based operator to procure Macau gaming licenses when the special administrative region’s (SAR) old monopoly barring foreign competition was broken.

Numbers Keep Trending Higher

To be precise, Hao’s company is seeking $12.08 billion from the Venetian operator, saying that amounts to 70 percent of the gaming firm’s Macau profits from the time it entered the gaming hub through the end of last year.

However, that number is rising over time. AAEC filed a claim in Macau courts in 2012 seeking $376 million in damages, a figure that was boosted to $5 billion in 2014. That came after Hao tried to sue Sands in Nevada court in 2007. But that case was dismissed in 2010 on procedural grounds.

Asian American claims that during the bidding process for Macau licenses in 2002, LVS unilaterally decided to end the partnership, opting to team up with Galaxy Entertainment.

Today, Sands is the largest Macau operator and the company’s Asia-Pacific operations, including the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, combine for approximately 90 percent of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Hao Long?

At this juncture, it’s safe to assume Hao isn’t letting the matter go, as he’s got a 13-year time investment in the litigation against Sands. For its part, the Parisian Macau operator said it intends to vigorously defend the matter.

As for the plaintiff himself, not much is known about Hao, apart from that he holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and that, at one point, he was a large donor to the Republican Party. Coincidentally, Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson is the largest GOP contributor.

Hao is represented by Jorge Menezes, a Macau attorney that’s drawn the ire of some of the SAR’s concessionaires for his legal work against those operators. In 2013, Menezes was attacked in broad daylight in Macau by two brick-waving assailants that he believed to be members of a Chinese organized crime syndicate. He later speculated it was an attack of intimidation tied to pending litigation, but he didn’t mention a specific case.