A multibillion-U.S.-dollar case to be heard in a Macau court, brought against subsidiaries of Las Vegas Sands Corp over the group’s Macau gaming licence, has been postponed for trial until September 16, 2020.
That is according to a Friday filing by the United States-based casino group.
Las Vegas Sands, parent of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd, gave the information in the full version of its third-quarter results, lodged in the U.S.
Asian American Entertainment Corp (AAEC), a company led by Taiwan entrepreneur Marshall Hao Shi-sheng, is claiming compensation for damages resulting from the alleged breach of agreements during Las Vegas Sands’ successful bid in 2002 for a Macau casino licence.
In July this year, AAEC requested a Macau court due to hear the matter to allow AAEC to increase the amount of its claim to nearly US$12 billion, allegedly representing lost profits for the period 2004 to 2018. That was according to Sands China’s interim report for 2019 filed to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in August. AAEC also reserved its right to claim for lost profits up to 2022, when Sands China’s Macau casino licence expires.
Now, the third-quarter 2019 filing from Las Vegas Sands said that on September 4 this year, Macau’s Court of First Instance allowed AAEC to increase the amount of its claim, but that the defendants appealed against that on September 17.
On September 26, 2019, the Macau Court of First Instance “accepted that appeal and it is currently pending” before Macau’s Court of Second Instance, said the U.S. casino group in its quarterly filing.
Las Vegas Sands further stated that on September 10, AAEC had sought from the court, and been granted, permission to reschedule the trial – which had been scheduled to begin on September 12 this year – for September 2020.
The casino group reiterated in its latest commentary on the matter: “The Macau action is in a preliminary stage and management has determined that based on proceedings to date, it is currently unable to determine the probability of the outcome of this matter or the range of reasonably possible loss, if any.”
Las Vegas Sands added: “The company intends to defend this matter vigorously.”
The group’s current Macau gaming licence expiry date of 2022, is aligned with the expiry dates for the respective permits of the other five operators in that market.
AAEC’s Macau lawsuit was originally filed in January 2012.
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”We believe the positive stance from China towards Macau would help market sentiment in the near term despite limited short term benefit to the [casino] gross gaming revenue”
Kenneth Fong, Lok Kan Chan and Rebecca Law
Analysts at Credit Suisse