The Philippine Court of Appeals has reportedly ordered Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp – operator of the City of Dreams Manila casino resort in the country’s capital Manila – to ensure it follows the terms of a 2014 agreement regarding hiring of staff from Manila market rival Bloomberry Resorts Corp.
According to local media the ruling stems from a case brought by Bloomberry unit Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc, operator of Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila.
The case concerned actions not by Melco Crown (Philippines) itself – which controls an entity known as Melco Crown Entertainment (MCE) Leisure (Philippines) Corp that directly runs the City of Dreams Manila casino resort – but by Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd, an investor in Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd and its units.
A 13-page ruling by the Court of Appeals – issued on February 28 and respectively reported in extract form on Monday by several Philippine news outlets – indicated Miles Fong Hio Lon had been employed from September 2013 as Solaire’s director for premium and player development, with responsibility for working with casino junket operators. His employment terms were said to have included a 120-day notice period and a non-compete clause that prevented him – within a year of leaving his employment with Solaire – from joining a rival company that owned or had an interest in a casino hotel in the Philippines.
According to the ruling as reported in local media, Mr Fong resigned from Solaire in January 2015, and asked that his notice period be waived. His request was subsequently denied, and his employer reiterated his contract would expire on May 9, 2015.
It was alleged by Bloomberry that on February 8, 2015, Mr Fong stopped reporting to work at Solaire and began working for Crown Resorts as director for sales operations.
In an case originally brought in a lower court, Bloomberry noted Crown Resorts was a parent company of MCE Leisure and was thus covered by a November 2014 agreement between MCE Leisure and Bloomberry regarding the hiring – by one party – of staff from the other.
Crown Resorts is a shareholder in Asian casino developer Melco Crown Entertainment. But following a series of sell downs by Crown Resorts regarding its interest in Melco Crown Entertainment over the past 12 months, the Australian firm now holds 11.2 percent of the Asia-focused entity, Crown Resorts confirmed on February 23. Melco Crown Entertainment is the parent of Melco Crown (Philippines).
GGRAsia approached Melco Crown Entertainment for comment on the reported Philippine court ruling, but had not received any reply by the time this story went online.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters