Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Regulators to probe MGM Mirage’s business in Macau

AFP , HONG KONG

US gaming officials will investigate MGM Mirage’s joint venture with a daughter of Macau tycoon Stanley Ho (何鴻燊) because of his alleged triad links, a report said yesterday. Illinois, Michigan and Mississippi will look into the allegations contained in a previously confidential report by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, the South China Morning Post reported.

The probes raise the possibility that Las Vegas-based MGM could be forced to choose between its casinos in the three states or a joint venture in the glitzy Asian gambling hub, which has leapfrogged Las Vegas in terms of gaming revenue.

The New Jersey report told MGM Mirage to cut its business ties with Ho’s daughter Pansy after deeming her “unsuitable” because of his alleged triad links, or risk losing its state gaming licence.

MGM Mirage said in March that it would instead leave New Jersey by selling a 50 percent stake in an Atlantic City casino-resort so it could keep its Macau casino-hotel.

The Post quoted a company spokesman as saying: “We’re ready to provide whatever additional information [US regulators] may request.”

Nevada — where MGM Mirage has the bulk of its properties — previously ruled that the company’s Macau partnership was suitable and has no plan to re-examine the joint venture, the newspaper said.

Stanley Ho, who controlled Macau’s gaming sector for four decades until it opened to foreign competition in 2002, has long denied rumors that he was tied to organized crime and allowed triad gangs to operate freely in his casinos.

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