The Macau Court of Final Appeal has ruled that MGM China and Wynn Macau share liability in nine cases related to lost deposits in VIP rooms. The nine cases were recorded in the VIP room of Dore Entertainment Co LTD and in the former VIP room belonging to Sun City Gaming Promotions Co LTD located in an MGM property.
Dore Entertainment and Sun City Denied Plaintiffs’ Cash-In Request
The court’s decision concerns nine cases filed during the first two months of the current year. The cases involved deposits with junket operators who had business ties to gaming concessions. Of the nine cases, eight involved Dore Entertainment and concessionaire Wynn Resorts, with one of the cases involving Sun City Game Promotion with MGM Grand Paradise as concessionaire.
MGM Grand Paradise and Wynn Resorts are official entities holding concession licenses in relation to MGM China and Wynn Macau. A number of lawsuits have been filed against Wynn Macau, the venue which still struggles with low foot traffic and missing VIPs caused by the ongoing lockdown. The lawsuits were filed by investors and others who had accounts opened with Dore Entertainment. Their claims were that Dore refused their requests to withdraw funds from their accounts after a former staff member ran away with nearly HK$700 million ($89.1 million) seven years ago, in 2015. The respective plaintiffs claimed to have deposited between HK$1 million ($127,000) and HK$6 million ($764,000).
In each of the nine cases, it was alleged that Sun City and Dore Entertainment refused to grant the claimant’s withdrawals after making deposits with them in previous months. Originally, the nine were registered in the magistrates’ court. The second instance court found Wynn Macau and MGM jointly and severally liable. All nine cases were then appealed to the Court of Final Appeal. The court found the dealers severely liable for the debts incurred by the aforementioned gambling promoters who operated in their casinos during the stated hours. A 2002 law on activities promoting gambling mentions the joint and several liability of licensees vis-à-vis third parties for all activities carried out by their gambling organisers.
Last November, the Macau Court of Final Appeal upheld a decision that Wynn Resorts Macau was jointly liable with its travel partner Dore Entertainment for a debt of approximately $748,000 owed to a VIP member.
Wynn Macau expects no material exposure
Wynn Macau chief executive Craig Billings said the group doesn’t expect any kind of “material exposure” from the other lawsuits related to the Dore Entertainment case. In addition, the proposed amendments in relation to junket activities and the Macau Gaming Laws assessed by the Legislative Assembly clarify that concessionaires are responsible not only for their promotional operations, but also for employees, administrative bodies , employees or collaborators of the game promoters generated by the promotions. transactions taking place in casinos.
The same local bill also mentions criminal penalties that should be imposed on junkets that take deposits from members of the public. The law mentions that offenders are liable to spend five years in prison for their crimes. At the same time, a deposit made at a casino in Macau using a VIP host or junket is considered legal as long as the money deposited will only be used for betting purposes.