U.S gambling giant Las Vegas Sands is facing a $12B lawsuit in a Macau court. The case, filed by a former partner, alleges that Las Vegas Sands breached its contract with Asian American Entertainment for a casino license in Macau.
Asian American is demanding to be paid damages worth 70% of Las Vegas Sands’ profits in Macau from 2004 to 2022. The amount was estimated by news agency Reuters to be $12B.
Businessman Marshall Hao, who heads Asian American Entertainment, is positive about his company’s latest legal move. Said Hao:
“Asian American has been winning all major legal battles in the Macau lawsuit since we filed it in 2012…we are confident.”
Las Vegas Sands Changing Partners
The case dates back to a transaction in 2001 where Sands and Asian American submitted a joint bid for a gaming license in Macau. During the process, Sands changed partners by teaming up with Hongkong’s Galaxy Entertainment instead.
The Las Vegas Sands-Galaxy Entertainment consortium ended up getting awarded a gaming concession in the former Portuguese colony more than 10 years ago. According to Asian American, Las Vegas Sands terminated its joint venture with Asian American and submitted a similar proposal with a different partner.
Sands lodged legal actions in Nevada and Macau to avoid trial. In 2019, the company said that the current lawsuit has no merit and they are confident that the Macau justice system will arrive at the same conclusion.
Long-Standing Court Case
Las Vegas Sands has been battling Asian American since 2007 when the lawsuit was filed in a United States court. After the U.S. case was dismissed because of statute of limitations and procedural reasons, Asian American lodged the case again in Macau in 2012.
The trial, which will begin on June 16th, is expected to shed light on how coveted casino licenses were awarded in Macau, which was the gambling capital of the world two decades ago.
It comes just months before Las Vegas Sands’ casino license in Macau will expire and at a time when its revenues have dropped due to the health and travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.