The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) has officially closed the casino at the Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks at Clark and the gaming venue at the Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Casino in Laoag City, reported local media. The two gaming venues were associated with Jack Lam Yin Lok, founder of Jimei Group and an investor in Macau VIP gambling operations.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered over the weekend the arrest of Mr Lam for alleged bribery and economic sabotage. As of Tuesday, there is no public information of formal charges having been filed against Mr Lam. Raymond Fortun, a lawyer representing Mr Lam in the Philippines, has denied the accusations against his client.
Pagcor – the casino regulator in the Philippines – served a closure order to Fontana casino on Sunday, and to the casino at Fort Ilocandia on Monday. Both orders only apply to the respective casinos at each property, according to media reports.
The Philippines Justice Department has meanwhile issued an immigration lookout bulletin order on Mr Lam. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre also ordered the Bureau of Immigration to cancel Mr Lam’s investor visa. According to media reports, Mr Lam has already left the Philippines.
The arrest order against Jimei Group’s Mr Lam was issued just a few days after 1,316 Chinese nationals were detained at premises linked to the Fontana casino.
Jimei Group’s website lists the Fontana and Fort Ilocandia properties as part of its Philippine operations. In Macau, Mr Lam is involved in junket operations at some Macau casino hotels. The group also runs Jimei Casino next door to the Grand Lapa hotel on Macau peninsula under an SJM Holdings Ltd gaming licence.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed Jimei International Entertainment Group Ltd stated on Tuesday that the gaming operations in the Philippines “do not form part of the group’s business”. Mr Lam is an executive director and the controlling shareholder of Jimei International.
“The board confirms that the incident mentioned in the [news] articles relate to Mr Lam and is his own personal matter and in no way materially affects or involves the company and its subsidiaries nor is it expected to affect the normal business operation of the group nor any other current or future plans,” Jimei International said in a filing.
“As at the date of this announcement, so far as the company is aware, Mr Lam has not been held by the Philippine authorities,” the firm added.
Jimei International announced last year two independent junket arrangements with, respectively, Australia’s The Star Entertainment Group Ltd and market rival Crown Resorts Ltd. In the same year, the firm announced a partnership with NagaCorp Ltd for the promotion of not less than seven gaming tables within the latter’s NagaWorld Casino, located in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.
Trading in the shares of Jimei International resumed on Tuesday morning, after being suspended during Monday’s session.
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Sanford Bernstein analysts