A leading investment bank has reportedly warned that the recently-launched probe looking into whether Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands may have breached anti-money laundering procedures could end up costing the iconic venue a large share of the local VIP casino market.
According to a Sunday report from Inside Asian Gaming, Malaysian brokerage Maybank Investment Bank Berhad forecast that the inquiry initiated by the United States Department of Justice may also prompt many high-rollers to instead begin spending their cash at the nearby Resorts World Sentosa property.
Details of the federal investigation reportedly first emerged in a report from the Bloomberg news service after a former Marina Bay Sands compliance chief was issued with a grand jury subpoena requesting either an interview or documentation relating to ‘money laundering facilitation’ and possible abuses of internal financial controls.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation opened the 2,561-room Marina Bay Sands integrated casino resort under the command of its Sands China Limited subordinate in April of 2010 complete with a 160,000 sq ft gaming floor as well as a museum, multiple restaurants and bars, a theater, a shopping mall and a 29-acre convention center. The source detailed that the three-tower development has held at least a 50% stake of the local VIP gaming market since the summer of 2018 and closed out last year enjoying a 57% share.
However, Samuel Yin Shao Yang from Maybank Investment Bank Berhad reportedly told Inside Asian Gaming that Marina Bay Sands’ VIP business had been significantly damaged in late-2010 following the initiation of a similar probe from officials in the United States. This action was launched after the past Chief Executive Officer for Sands China Limited, Steven Jacobs, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer and it purportedly played a significant role in temporarily pushing the Singapore venue’s share of the local high-roller market down to as low as 33%.
Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa have both been shuttered since early-April in an attempt to stop the spread of a coronavirus strain that has so far killed 25 locals. The latter venue is run by Asian gaming and entertainments behemoth Genting Malaysia Berhad and has purportedly averaged around a 47% share of the local VIP gaming market since opening in January of 2010 although it closed out last year holding a 43% stake.
Yin reportedly commented…
“We do not presume that either Marina Bay Sands, Sands China Limited or Las Vegas Sands Corporation was or is guilty or innocent of any charges, which company has never had to deal with disgruntled ex-employees? What we gather is VIPs tend to avoid casinos that are under investigation, especially by the United States Department of Justice. Learning from history, we gather that Resorts World Sentosa could benefit from a higher share of VIP volume. All it needs to do now is just re-open.”