LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Sands faces a $2 million fine to settle allegations that it didn't properly account for millions of dollars paid to a Chinese consultant and received from a high roller with a suspicious past.
Las Vegas Sands has announced a deal to spend $20 billion building a casino complex including six casinos, twelve hotels and three golf courses near Madrid. The project has aroused an unusual coalition of opponents - left-wing activists and Catholic bishops - who say the complex will bring problem gambling and bankruptcies. So can Las Vegas Sands repeat its success in building mega-resorts in Macau and Singapore? Or could this be more like Eurodisney?
Casinos handle lots of money and high rollers are expected to bring a lot with them when they come to as casino. The federal government is investigating whether Las Vegas Sands, which operates the Venetian, was lax in checking the sources of its high rollers' funds.
The huge success that Las Vegas Sands has made of its Macau investments has made the company a big player in global gaming and made its chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson a wealthy man. Now state and federal authorities are investigating some of the company's methods for getting its business done in the Chinese special territory.
The Gaming Control Board has opened an investigation into the links between organized crime and the junket operators that bring the gamblers from the Chinese mainland to Macau. Those ferry companies also control the VIP rooms where many gamblers play cards and they extend credit and collect debts because casinos cannot legally collect gambling debts under Chinese law. The reports of mob involvement were published by a union local on a special Web site it has created to publicize the problems. So what will happen if the allegations are proven true? Is this a storm in a teacup or could it lead to a big shakeup in the world's biggest casino companies?
At the height of the economic downturn shares in Las Vegas Sands dipped by as much as 80%. Through those tough times however Sands CEO, Sheldon Adelson resisted refinancing the company's debt and insisted Sands shares would rebound eventually.
A long-time Portuguese colony was being reformed and the Beijing government wanted to reform the city's main industry - gambling. It brought in a new administration and created tougher gaming regulation to ensure that new capital and expertise could be invested.
Just when you thought that gambling was becoming an accepted part of everyday life, another critic has emerged. American Values - the social conservative lobbying group - that has focused on traditional marriage and opposed abortion - is now fighting the increased legalization of gambling across the country.