Amax International Holdings Ltd, a gaming investment firm whose chairman has previously been one of the most prominent figures in Macau’s VIP gambling sector, says it is in talks for “exclusive operating rights” in a VIP room at an undisclosed Cambodian casino.
In return, a person said to be the owner to those rights – described as a mainland Chinese but not named – would receive from the company a fixed monthly fee for a period of two years.
Amax International said in a Monday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it had signed the non-binding letter of intent on the deal in order to “diversify its income stream and to expand its gaming business”.
The firm said the rights owner had given it an exclusive negotiating window until October 30.
It added that conditions to be fulfilled in order to complete a deal included: a due diligence review; favourable opinion from Cambodian lawyers on, respectively, the legality of the casino in question and the legality of the operating rights agreement; and “the existence of an effective anti-money laundering programme which complies with the relevant laws and regulations of Cambodia”.
The 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report from the United States’ Department of State, issued in March, said Cambodia’s non-financial sectors, “including – most significantly – the gaming and real property industries,” were “unregulated or under-regulated”.
NagaCorp Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed firm that is the operator of the NagaWorld casino resort in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2014 said it had commissioned an “independent professional party” to review the internal controls of that company and its subsidiaries with a focus on anti-money laundering.
Amax International reiterated in another filing on Monday that it had applied to a Macau court for its chairman and chief executive Ng Man Sun, to be appointed administrator of an associate of the group, Greek Mythology (Macau) Entertainment Group Corp Ltd, “ in order to get access to and control over books and records of Greek Mythology”.
The company controls 24.8 percent of Greek Mythology, according to Amax International’s 2017 annual report, filed in July. Greek Mythology has operated gaming tables in Casino Greek Mythology in Taipa, Macau, under the SJM Holdings Ltd gaming licence.
The casino was shut down by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of Macau on December 31, 2015 at the request of SJM Holdings. At the time, SJM Holdings’ chief executive, Ambrose So Shu Fai, told the Macau public broadcaster TDM that the closure was for renovation.
The Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel, where the Casino Greek Mythology was located, has also been shuttered since July 22, 2016 under the order of the Macao Government Tourism Office due to “serious administrative irregularities” and “illegal reconstructions”. The closure was for a period of six months. The operating licence was later handed back to the city’s authorities before the sanction expired.
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”We have not had discussions about the concession renewal with the [Macau] government. We have taken the view that if we continue to deliver on what we expect is the expectations from operators, then we will be treated fairly”
Chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts, the parent of Macau casino operator MGM China