Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – also known by its Portuguese acronym DICJ – confirmed to GGRAsia that it held a meeting earlier this month with Jack Lam Yin Lok, founder of Jimei Group and an investor in Macau junket operations. The regulator said the aim was to get a clarification from Mr Lam regarding the situation of his business interests in the Philippines.
The encounter took place on January 5, the DICJ said in a statement via email on Thursday.
“The main purpose of the meeting was to give Mr Lam the opportunity to explain in person to the DICJ what happened to his gaming operations in the Philippines, as most of the information about what Mr Lam went through in the Philippines previously was obtained via the media only,” the DICJ stated.
The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered in December the seizure of all gaming assets in that country belonging to Mr Lam for the latter’s alleged failure to pay the correct taxes, local media reported at the time. Prior to that, Mr Duterte had ordered the arrest of Mr Lam on accusations of bribery and economic sabotage.
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 Hot Spring Leisure Parks at Clark.
Jimei Group’s website lists the Fontana Casino at the Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks at Clark, and Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Casino in Laoag City, as its Philippine operations. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) – the casino regulator in the country – had already served a closure order on Fontana casino on December 4, and to the gaming venue at Fort Ilocandia on the following day.
In Macau, Jimei Group is reportedly involved in junket operations at the City of Dreams casino, according to Jimei Group’s corporate website. The group also says it runs Jimei Casino next door to the Grand Lapa hotel on Macau peninsula under a SJM Holdings Ltd gaming licence.
Paulo Martins Chan, director of the DICJ, had told local media on Saturday that his bureau had formally asked Philippine authorities for details regarding Mr Lam’s case. “We want to have a more accurate and formal information from the Philippines,” Mr Chan was quoted as saying by public broadcaster TDM.
In Thursday’s email, the DICJ did not disclose what information it had been seeking from the Philippines authorities.
Macau’s gaming bureau was asked by GGRAsia to comment on whether Mr Lam’s case in the Philippines would have any impact on the junket operations that Jimei Group runs in Macau, but declined to do so.
The regulator said: “The DICJ always pays close attention to a junket promoter’s behaviour in Macau and overseas, and conducts ongoing monitoring on their operations to ensure their eligibility.”
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"After a challenging period, the Macau market is growing again, and its growth rate has been accelerating for three consecutive quarters. Our Macau operation is experiencing strong growth in both our mass gaming and non-gaming segments"
Chairman of gaming operator Las Vegas Sands and subsidiary Sands China