Crown Resorts CEO Barton Resigns Following Bombshell Money Laundering Report


Posted on: February 15, 2021, 01:14h. 
Last updated on: February 15, 2021, 01:14h.

Philip Conneller

Read MoreCrown Resorts CEO Ken Barton resigned Monday as the fallout continued from a damning report that has left the company fighting for its license in New South Wales.
Ken Barton is expected to receive a big check despite harsh criticism of his performance as Crown CEO. (Image: The West Australian)Barton’s resignation has been in the cards ever since the publication of the report by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, which described him as “no match for what is needed at the helm of a casino licensee.”“His problems will not be cured by the appointment of people expert in the field who report to him,” Bergin added.The report concluded that Crown was “facilitating money laundering, exposing staff to the risk of detention in a foreign jurisdiction, and pursuing commercial relationships with individuals with connections to Triads and organised crime groups.”It recommended that the state gaming regulator, ILGA, refuse to renew Crown’s gaming license in NSW. The company opened its $1.7 billion Sydney resort in December without casino operations.$3 Million PaydayDespite being singled out in Bergin’s report, Barton is expected to walk away with at least a AU$3m payout ($2.3 million), according to The Guardian.Bergin said Barton had demonstrated a “breath-taking lack of care” when responding to allegations in the media that Crown was facilitating money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth properties.In his previous role as CFO, he had been personally responsible for two VIP accounts that had been used by criminal gangs to launder the proceeds of their illegal operations, Bergin said.Barton was appointed CEO in January 2020, having been at the company for over a decade. Helen Coonan, current chair of the board, will replace him until a new CEO is found.“Assuming the role of executive chairman is a decision I have not taken lightly but the board feels it provides leadership stability and certainty at this important time for the business,” Coonan said in a release to the ASX.Coonan said Monday the company was taking “significant steps to improve our governance, compliance and culture.”Exec ExodusBarton follows five other Crown execs out the door. These include Michael Johnston and Guy Jalland who represented Crown’s biggest shareholder, billionaire James Packer, on the board.Bergin criticized Packer for acting like a “de facto director,” despite not having sat on the board for several years, and suggested he had a “dysfunctional influence” on the company.She also recommended that equity caps of 10 percent be placed on Crown ownership. That would mean Packer would be forced to divest himself of a chunk of his equity in the company — if not all of it.Packer said during testimony at the Bergin inquiry that he would be prepared to give up his stake in Crown if it protected the company’s licenses.

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Posted on 9:53 pm

Okada Manila Operator on SPAC Search to Gain Nasdaq or NYSE Listing


Posted on: February 14, 2021, 07:16h. 
Last updated on: February 14, 2021, 07:16h.
Universal Entertainment Group is looking for a US-based special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to partner with to list the Okada Manila integrated resort business on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The Okada Manila integrated resort. The operator is looking for a SPAC partner to list the business in the US. (Image: Forbes)The Japanese company declared its intentions to work with a blank-check entity with an eye toward a listing on a US bourse in a note to investors last week. Universal’s integrated resort operation consists solely of the venue in the Philippine capitol city.The Company has already executed advisory agreements with multiple financial advisory firms in Japan and the US in order to prepare for the listing of its IR Business … and is currently engaged in the selection of a SPAC, the investigation of aspects involving the law and tax systems, the revision of the capital structure of the Company Group as a whole, with the aim of listing the business sometime in fiscal 2021,” according to the investor letter.Universal Entertainment started partial operations at Okada Manila in December 2016, noting that over time, growth is steady. As is the case with gaming properties around the world, the venue was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, but the Japanese company said it deployed a variety of cost-cutting measures to bolster earnings — many of which are expected to remain permanent.Let SPAC Speculation CommenceAfter 244 blank-check companies raised $78.2 billion via initial public offerings last year, another 134 billion raised $39 billion (as of Feb. 12) to start 2021.In other words, there are hundreds of SPACs currently trading that do not yet have merger partners. That group includes dozens that previously declared intentions to focus on gaming assets. Blank-check companies have two years to strike deals or face forced liquidation in which capital is returned to shareholders.In the investor letter, Universal Entertainment doesn’t reveal the identities of specific SPACs it’s in talks with, but the gaming company makes clear it views this an efficient avenue to list its equity on one of the major US exchanges.“In view of this situation, [and] having positioned its IR Business as the core business of the Company Group, the Company recently arrived at the decision to pursue a detailed examination of the listing of that business on either the US NASDAQ Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange with the aim of realizing the further expansion of that business and greater corporate group value,” according to the letter.SPAC Fever Permeates Gaming Sector…AgainNot even two months into 2021 and there are already there are already multiple blank-check deals notched with gaming companies, including Golden Nugget operator Fertitta Entertainment with FAST Acquisition (NYSE:FST) and Acies Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:ACAC) with Playstudios. That follows three gaming firms that went public last December following SPAC mergers.That group doesn’t include some new public entities born out of blank-check transactions that aren’t dedicated gaming companies, but have some or are looking to gain exposure to the industry.As for SPACs without a deal that make for logical partners for Okada Manila, some standout more than others. Universal Entertainment didn’t mention a date when it reveal its partner.

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Posted on 3:17 am

Osaka Concedes Integrated Resort Time Line a Mystery, No Target Date for Casino Opening


Posted on: February 13, 2021, 12:55h. 
Last updated on: February 12, 2021, 04:28h.
Osaka, one of the leading candidate cities for one of Japan’s three casinos, says there is no set time line for the development and opening of the integrated resort (IR).
Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, seen here in 2018 discussing the importance of hosting meetings and conventions in the city, is leading the efforts to bring the region an integrated resort. Such a large casino destination would presumably accommodate such business gatherings. (Image: Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau)When Japan’s National Diet passed its Basic Policy on commercial gambling in 2019, officials in Osaka hoped to have a casino resort up and running in time for the city’s hosting of the 2025 World Expo. 2020 and the COVID-19 global pandemic impeded those ambitions.Osaka revised its IR time line last year, with a new expectation that the resort would open sometime around 2027 or 2028. But now, leaders in Japan’s third-most populated city say it’s unknown when such a property might be completed.In the prefecture and city’s latest implementation policy, there is no set target date for an IR opening.COVID Delaying Japan IRsOsaka is one of four cities that has publicly announced its IR candidacy. The others are Yokohama, Wakayama, and Nagasaki. Tokyo remains on the sidelines, but is considering an entry.MGM Resorts is the front-runner to be selected by Osaka as its preferred partner. The Las Vegas-headquartered casino operator has formed a local consortium with ORIX, a financial services firm based in Japan.During MGM’s 2020 full-year earnings call with investors and analysts this week, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle confirmed that COVID-19 has greatly interrupted the company’s development plans in Japan.“We’re a believer in Japan. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy becoming the sole one standing at the gate, if you will, in Osaka,” Hornbuckle said in answering a question regarding the company’s ongoing interest in the Asian country.We haven’t had our people on the ground there for a better part of nine months. So, it’s going to take some time to rebound. But we have the intent, and I believe that the government still has the same intent of moving forward,” he added.Hornbuckle expected Osaka’s announcement that there is no longer a concrete time line for the IR. He explained that Osaka has yet to inform MGM regarding the minimum standards and mandatory requirements of IR submissions.“I think that will be coming out within the next several weeks,” Hornbuckle concluded.Entain Fold Improves Osaka OddsMGM Resorts kicked off the new year by going after Entain, the British sports betting and gaming behemoth formerly known as GVC Holdings. MGM offered 0.6 shares of its company for each share of Entain. But the all-equity bid, valued at more than $11 billion, was rejected.MGM decided not to submit a higher offer. That was welcomed news among Osaka officials, as it allows MGM to be better suited to stay committed to its plans in Japan.Gaming analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein said acquiring Entain would have likely reduced “MGM’s appetite for a large-scale Japan development.”

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Posted on 10:47 am

Alvin Chau มหาเศรษฐี Suncity ทุ่มเงิน 1 พันล้านดอลลาร์สร้างคาสิโนเวสต์ไซด์ในเมืองบันเทิงมะนิลา


โพสต์ในปี 2564 วันที่ 12 กุมภาพันธ์เวลา 11 นาฬิกา 49. ปรับปรุงล่าสุด: 2021 วันที่ 12 กุมภาพันธ์เวลา 11 นาฬิกา 49. Suncity Group Holdings ประกาศในสัปดาห์นี้ว่าจะใช้เงินประมาณ 1 พันล้านดอลลาร์เพื่อสร้างคาสิโนใน Ent, Manila Alvin Chaw CEO ของ Suncity และลูกชายของเขา Pack ปรากฏตัวบนอินสตาแกรมเมื่อเดือนที่แล้วอวดหน้าอกที่แกะสลัก Chau և Suncity เปิดเผยในสัปดาห์นี้ว่า บริษัท จะใช้จ่าย 1 พันล้านดอลลาร์ในรีสอร์ทคาสิโนในฟิลิปปินส์ในฝั่งตะวันตก (ภาพ: อินสตาแกรม) ในเอกสารที่เผยแพร่โดยตลาดหลักทรัพย์ฮ่องกงคณะกรรมการ Suncity ระบุว่าการก่อสร้างและพัฒนา “คาสิโนโรงแรมรายใหญ่” ทั้งหมดจะอยู่ที่ 1 พันล้านดอลลาร์ Sankit นำโดย Alvin Chau มหาเศรษฐีวัย 46 ปีสร้างรายได้จากคลับที่มีระเบียบวีไอพีชั้นนำในมาเก๊าเขตปกครองพิเศษของจีนซึ่งเป็นตลาดเกมที่ร่ำรวยที่สุดในโลก ในมาเก๊า և นอก. การพัฒนา Sansi Casino ในฟิลิปปินส์ตั้งอยู่ที่ Westside City Resorts World พื้นที่กว้างขวางกว่า 75 เฮกตาร์ประกอบด้วยโรงแรมหลายแห่งพื้นที่อยู่อาศัยพื้นที่สำนักงานร้านค้าปลีกพื้นที่สวนสนุก և รายละเอียดเกี่ยวกับคาสิโน หนึ่งปีที่ผ่านมาในเดือนนี้ Suncity Group ได้ลงนามในสัญญาเช่า 45 ปีกับ Westside City เพื่อเป็นเจ้าของอสังหาริมทรัพย์ և พัฒนาโรงแรม և คาสิโน ในเวลานั้น Suncity ประกาศว่าพื้นที่คาสิโนจะครอบคลุม 44,000 ตารางฟุต (473,612 ตารางฟุต) และจะรวมเครื่องสล็อต 1,200 เครื่องและเกมโต๊ะ 400 เกม ส่วนประกอบของโรงแรมมีห้องนั่งเล่น 400 ห้อง Suncity หวังว่าจะเปิดรีสอร์ทคาสิโนในต้นปี 2566 เมื่อต้อนรับแขกคนแรกหลังจากที่รีสอร์ทเริ่มต้นขึ้น Suncity จะจ่ายผลประโยชน์คาสิโนให้ บริษัท แม่ของ Westside City $ 10.6 ล้านต่อปี ค่าธรรมเนียมจะแบ่งเป็นสองส่วนต่อปี Chua ต้องการที่จะเป็นคาสิโน MagnateChau ยังคงพยายามที่จะเปลี่ยนผู้ให้บริการขยะให้กลายเป็นเจ้าพ่อคาสิโนระดับโลก Suncity Group ของเขาเป็นเจ้าของ Summit Ascent ซึ่งเป็น บริษัท แม่ของ Tigre de Cristal Casino ในโซนเกม Primorye ทางตะวันออกไกลของรัสเซีย Tigre ต่อสู้มาตั้งแต่เริ่มก่อตั้งในปี 2558 Las Vegas Strip เวอร์ชันที่วางแผนไว้ของรัสเซียในปัจจุบันมีคาสิโนเพียงสองแห่ง พื้นที่ห่างไกลไม่สามารถดึงดูดผู้เยี่ยมชมได้เพียงพอที่จะพิสูจน์เงินที่ลงทุนไปหลายร้อยล้านดอลลาร์ Chau ประกาศเมื่อฤดูใบไม้ร่วงที่ผ่านมาว่า Suncity จำกัด การลงทุนใน Tigre หลังจากระยะที่สองของรีสอร์ท การขยายตัว 200 ล้านดอลลาร์จะเพิ่มจำนวนโต๊ะเกมวีไอพีจำนวนมากขึ้นเป็นสองเท่าและเพิ่มห้องพักในโรงแรมได้ถึง 120 ห้อง คาดว่าการขยายตัวจะแล้วเสร็จในปีหน้า Suncity ร่วมกับฟิลิปปินส์สร้างรีสอร์ทคาสิโนในเวียดนาม Suncity ยังหวังว่าจะได้รับสิทธิบัตรในญี่ปุ่น บริษัท มีเป้าหมายที่จะพัฒนาคาสิโนในวากายามะ อย่างไรก็ตามการเปิดเผยล่าสุดของจีนเกี่ยวกับความพยายามที่จะหยุดการพนันระดับทวีปในต่างประเทศได้จุดประกายความกระตือรือร้นในตลาดเกมในเอเชีย รีสอร์ทมูลค่าหลายพันล้านดอลลาร์ให้บริการผู้เล่นที่ร่ำรวยที่สุดของจีน แต่สาธารณรัฐประชาชนได้เปลี่ยนประมวลกฎหมายอาญาเพื่อกำหนดบทลงโทษที่เข้มงวดขึ้นสำหรับผู้ที่ดำเนินแคมเปญการเล่นเกมข้ามพรมแดนสำหรับชาวจีน ตามข้อมูลที่เกี่ยวข้องเทศกาลฤดูใบไม้ผลิประจำปีเป็นช่วงเวลาที่ตึงเครียดที่สุดสำหรับการเชิญชวนกิจกรรมการเล่นเกมสำหรับกลุ่มเกมต่างชาติ “Liao Jin Inrong ผู้อำนวยการฝ่ายความร่วมมือระหว่างประเทศของกระทรวงความมั่นคงสาธารณะกล่าว “สิ่งนี้ไม่เพียง แต่นำไปสู่การไหลออกของเงินทุนจำนวนมาก แต่ยังนำไปสู่การลักพาตัวการรีดไถอาชญากรรมที่เกี่ยวข้องกับอาชญากรรมและอาชญากรรมอื่น ๆ ที่เป็นภัยคุกคามร้ายแรง” “ความมั่นคงทางเศรษฐกิจและความมั่นคงทางสังคมของเราตอกย้ำบรรยากาศแห่งการเฉลิมฉลอง”

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Posted on 7:52 pm

Crown Resorts Could Still Operate Sydney Casino, But With Two-Year Deferment


Posted on: February 10, 2021, 10:14h. 
Last updated on: February 10, 2021, 01:57h.
Crown Resorts was handed a devastating blow this week, as the Australian casino operator was deemed by a report unsuitable to hold a gaming license in New South Wales (NSW).
Crown Sydney, pictured here soaring above the Sydney Harbor, will not offer casino gaming anytime soon. But that could change in the future, analysts believe. (Image: The New Daily)Crown spent $1.7 billion to build Crown Sydney. The Barangaroo complex features a 75-story hotel and ultra-luxury residences, high-end retail shopping, spa, and fine dining. It was also designed to offer a VIP-focused casino space.But yesterday, former NSW Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin issued the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s verdict of its more than 17-month investigation. The report examined the Crown’s suitability to conduct casino gambling in the Australian state. Bergin said Crown is unqualified.However, she did present a path for Crown to take should it hope to regain a casino license in NSW. Analysts at Macquarie believe that will take a minimum of two years.Crown Resorts, led by Steven Blackburn, who starts on March 1, 2021, may meet suitability to operate Crown Sydney in time — we assume two years,” the analysts predicted.Blackburn arrives as Crown Resorts’ first chief financial crimes officer. He comes from the National Australia Bank, where he served as chief financial crime risk officer and money laundering reporter.Crown Crime BreakdownBergin’s ruling concluded that Crown Resorts was unfit to operate a casino in NSW because the company has long been “facilitating money laundering, exposing staff to the risk of detention in a foreign jurisdiction, and pursuing commercial relationships with individuals.”Bergin has recommended that Crown refuse to allow any individual to hold a more than 10 percent ownership stake in the organization. Troubled billionaire James Packer, who founded Crown and once served as its CEO and chairman, maintains a nearly 36 percent stake in the group.Along with better safeguards to prevent money laundering at its casinos in Melbourne and Perth and limiting individual owners to 10 percent, the Macquarie analysts say current CEO Ken Barton, who was heavily criticized in Bergin’s report, must go.“There are audit and compliance requirements, as well as board renewal, with possibly five directors identified as a hindrance to meeting suitability, including the current CEO, Ken Barton, and as such, these members would need to step down,” the Macquarie note concluded.Crown Sydney FutureBergin’s ruling throws the future of the $1.7 billion integrated resort into jeopardy. While it’s expected that global casino giants will take a look at acquiring the property, another thought is that Crown Resorts will opt to do away with a casino, and instead focus on including more residencies.Crown Sydney presently has 82 units. The luxury spaces have sold for as much as $10 million each.It’s the location, it’s the view, it’s the prestige,” Dr. Mike Harris, a professor at the University of New South Wales Sydney told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.“The hotel was built to accommodate patrons of the casino. But there will be a market for it anyway,” added local economist Nicki Hutley.

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Posted on 2:15 am

Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore Believes Chinese High Rollers Gone for Good


Posted on: February 10, 2021, 02:26h. 
Last updated on: February 10, 2021, 02:26h.
The parent company of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) expects China’s crackdown on cross-border gambling to impact its casino operations.
A Resorts World Sentosa employee scans a guest’s temperature last year. The casino resort in Singapore welcomed far fewer visitors in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Image: Resorts World Sentosa)China President Xi Jinping has directed law enforcement agencies across the People’s Republic to better prevent mainlanders from traveling overseas to gamble. China is threatening foreigners who market and organize international gambling trips to Chinese people with severe penalties, including prison terms up to 10 years.Xi’s goal is to keep more money in China, and less from flowing outside its control to casinos located throughout Asia. Genting Singapore owns and operates Resorts World Sentosa, and is a subsidiary of Malaysia-based Genting Berhad. Genting Singapore says China’s embargo on cross-border gambling will result in fewer VIPs at its multibillion-dollar resort in Singapore.After releasing its full-year 2020 financial results, Genting Singapore issued guidance warning gaming analysts of China’s impact on its operations.China Calls on Mainlanders to AssistChina is doing everything in its power to stop an estimated $150 billion annually from moving out of the country via gaming channels. The People’s Republic claims to have already charged 35,000 people on cross-border gambling crimes.Gambling is illegal everywhere in the mainland, the lone exception being China’s state-run lottery. China’s wealthiest gamblers frequent Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China, but also casinos throughout Asia.RWS was allowed to increase operating capacity from 50 percent to 65 percent from December 28, 2020, but Genting Singapore still does not expect its GGR to improve markedly on lack of foreign gamblers. Furthermore, Genting Singapore also does not expect the VIP market to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels due to China cracking down on anyone enticing mainland Chinese to gamble overseas,” commented Maybank analyst Yin Shao Yang.China is offering immunity for its citizens who have participated in cross-gambling activities in exchange for assisting with the infiltration and apprehension of such operatives.Worst Year in RW HistoryGenting Singapore conceded in its annual report that 2020 was its worst financial performance since Resorts World Sentosa opened a decade earlier.COVID-19 slashed net profits and shareholder earnings by 90 percent. Gross gaming revenue was down 57 percent.The Singaporean government closed its borders to outsiders for much of 2020 to keep the coronavirus out. The island city-state has confirmed fewer than 60,000 COVID-19 cases, and only 29 deaths.“We are most grateful to the Singapore Government for providing various support measures in assisting our resort to weather through this crisis,” a Genting Singapore statement explained. “Notwithstanding the Government helping us and the Group’s implementation of cost containment measures, the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic to our businesses was still devastating.“This led the Group to record the worst financial performance since the opening of our Singapore Integrated Resort in 2010,” the release revealed.RWS holds a duopoly on casino gambling in Singapore with Marina Bay Sands. Prior to the global pandemic, both casinos agreed to further invest $3.3 billion into their complexes in exchange for maintaining their duopolies through at least 2030.

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Posted on 10:31 pm

Crown Resorts Deemed Unsuitable to Operate $1.7 Billion Sydney Casino


Posted on: February 9, 2021, 05:30h. 
Last updated on: February 9, 2021, 05:30h.

Philip Conneller

Read MoreCrown Resorts is currently unfit to operate a Sydney casino. That’s the verdict of Patricia Bergin, former New South Wales Supreme Court judge and chair of a year-long inquiry into the company’s licensing suitability in the Australian state.
Crown Sydney is the tallest building in the city but its future is unclear. (Image: Nikkei Asia)The decision means the future of company’s $1.7 billion high-end casino resort, Crown Sydney, which opened in December minus the casino, hangs in the balance.The inquiry has scrutinized in particular Crown’s relationship with Asian junket operators and whether the company ignored criminal elements within their ranks, allowing them to launder money though Crown Melbourne’s VIP rooms.In her 751-page report, Bergin said Crown was clearly “facilitating money laundering, exposing staff to the risk of detention in a foreign jurisdiction and pursuing commercial relationships with individuals” connected to organized crime.“It is obvious that such attributes would render an applicant quite unsuitable to hold a casino license in New South Wales,” she said.End of the Road for Packer?To be considered for licensing, Bergin said Crown would first need to make sweeping corporate changes that include parting ways with its current CEO, Ken Barton, and limiting individual ownership stakes at 10 percent. This would rein in the power and influence on Crown affairs of its biggest shareholder, the billionaire James Packer, who, along with Barton, was singled out for criticism.Bergin noted that Packer acted as a “de facto director” even after stepping down, often with “rather disastrous consequences for the company.”Meanwhile, Barton presided over a company with “poor corporate governance, deficient risk-management structures and processes, and a poor corporate culture,” according to the report.The scorching light of this inquiry has exposed a number of problems that would have otherwise remained unearthed and unresolved,” Bergin added.Crown Resorts requested a halt in trading of its shares on the ASX on Tuesday morning, prior to the report’s publication. Those shares are expected to take a hit when trading restarts, not least because Crown’s licenses elsewhere in Melbourne and Perth could now be under pressure.What Next for Crown Resorts?Bergin’s report is not final. It’s a recommendation to ILGA, the New South Wales gaming regulator, with whom the formal decision now lies.One of the issues for ILGA is that, as part of the original agreement for Crown Sydney, the NSW government has agreed to pay punitive compensation to Crown for adopting laws or imposing new obligations that are detrimental to the company. Thus, any decision to revoke Crown’s license could end up in court or at least come with a hefty settlement of up to ten times the economic damage judged to have been done to Crown.Crown could also opt to cut its losses and run by selling the Sydney property to a more suitable operator. In 2019, Wynn Resorts declared an interest in acquiring the company’s Australian assets.Meanwhile, Crown Resorts founder James Packer is under no obligation to sell his 36 percent ownership stake in the company, although he expressed a willingness to do so when giving testimony to the Bergin inquiry, if it would help Crown retain its license.

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Posted on 3:01 pm

Crown Sydney Suitability Decision Imminent, Ruling Issued Under Parliamentary Privilege


Posted on: February 8, 2021, 09:37h. 
Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 12:33h.
Crown Sydney will find out its fate tomorrow, when the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) issues its verdict on whether the property’s parent company is suitable to hold a casino license.
The fate of a $1.8 billion towering resort in Sydney is in the hands of Judge Patricia Bergin. Crown Sydney will learn whether its owner, Crown Resorts, is suitable to hold a casino license tomorrow. (Image: NSW/Casino.org)Former New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin is deciding the outcome for the AUD$2.4 billion (USD $1.8 billion) complex. Overlooking the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the 75-story hotel and residential tower is the tallest structure in the NSW capital.Bergin’s 800-page report will be published tomorrow, Feb. 9. The document will reveal whether there was ample evidence presented during the ILGA inquiry to warrant revoking Crown Resorts’ gaming license in the Australian state.Attorneys assisting the gaming regulator during the investigative proceedings recommended that Crown be deemed unsuitable to conduct gaming operations in NSW. Their opinion arose from Crown executives conceding that there have been breakdowns in the casino operator’s safeguards to prevent money laundering. Crown has also been accused of having ties to known criminal syndicates throughout Asia.Ruling Released Under PrivilegeThe ILGA verdict will be published under Parliamentary Privilege. That condition allows the NSW government, as well as witnesses who testified before the inquiry, to be immune from potential legal challenges from Crown Resorts.The term ‘privilege,’ in relation to parliamentary privilege, refers to an immunity from the ordinary law, which is recognized by the law as a right of the houses and their members,” explains the Parliament of Australia website.“The principal immunity is the freedom of parliamentary debates and proceedings from question and impeachment in the courts, the most significant effect of which is that members of Parliament cannot be sued or prosecuted for anything they say in debate in the houses. The principal powers are the power to compel the attendance of witnesses, the giving of evidence and the production of documents, and to adjudge and punish contempt’s of the house,” the website further explains.In short, releasing the final report in privilege means Crown Resorts cannot sue Parliament members involved with the inquiry, nor witnesses who said potentially defamatory comments against Crown.Crown OverhaulCrown Resorts has taken steps to change its organization since the NSW probe began in August of 2019. The Aussie casino giant reformed its board leadership announced that it will only deal with licensed VIP junket groups in the jurisdiction where its casino is operating, and even appointed an executive financial crimes officer.One major concern for NSW regulators remains James Packer. The billionaire retains a 35.9 percent ownership stake in Crown Resorts. In November, inquiry attorneys told Bergin that Packer’s personal and business conduct in recent years has rendered him unsuitable to be a close associate of Crown Resorts.ILGA counsel Adam Bell presented evidence that Packer continued to influence the company after stepping down from the Crown board in 2018. Packer admitted in October to sending “shameful” threatening texts to unidentified business colleagues five years earlier.Packer says his struggles with bipolar disorder and “strong medication” impacted his actions.If Bergin deems Crown unsuitable to hold a casino license, the resort complex will likely go on the market. Crown Sydney opened as a hotel without a casino in December.

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Posted on 11:11 am

Indonesian Christian Gamblers Caned 40 Times Under Sharia Law


Posted on: February 8, 2021, 06:43h. 
Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 06:43h.
Two men were each given 40 lashes on the back with a cane Monday in Indonesia’s Aceh province for alleged gambling, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The pair were also accused of drinking alcohol.
A man is caned in Indonesia Monday by a masked police officer. The man in white getting caned was accused of gambling and drinking alcohol. (Image: PressFrom)The sentence was imposed in public by a masked Sharia police officer before a crowd of onlookers.  The two men chose caning for the punishment over spending about six months in prison.“The Sharia police gave us options and we consciously decided to comply with the Islamic criminal code. No one forced me to choose it,” one of the men who was caned told AFP.A few other people in Indonesia were caned for other charges on Monday. Monday’s canings also come less than two weeks after two Indonesian men were caned close to 80 times for banned sexual practices, the AFP reported.Rare for Christians To Be Caned in IndonesiaWhen asked about Monday’s caning, Mark Cammack, a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, said it is “rare” for Christians in the nation to be caned. Typically, the punishment is given to offending Muslims.“It’s definitely painful,” Cammack told Casino.org. “But it’s not like it is horsewhipping.”Gambling is one of the more frequent crimes that can result in caning in Indonesia, Cammack explained.Other crimes subject to caning involve alcohol or sex violations.Caning Allowed Only in Aceh ProvinceAlso, UCLA history professor Geoffrey Robinson said public caning happens only in Aceh, not in any other province of Indonesia.“Even in Aceh, it is not all that common. But every instance of it stirs a lot of controversy, inside Indonesia and abroad,” Robinson told Casino.org. “I suspect the practice will continue until there is a substantial demand for its cessation from civil society in Aceh itself.”Human rights groups inside and outside Indonesia have called for an end to the punishment, adds Robinson, who was a former political affairs officer for the United Nations (UN) in East Timor.Mark Cammack also closely follows Indonesia’s human rights and legal system. He was a monitor for the UN during trials of officials charged with crimes committed in East Timor. He also has been an expert witness on Indonesian law.From what he has monitored, there are limits in Aceh with such punishments, Cammack said. For instance, the person is not wounded, he is clothed, the size of the cane is restricted, nor can the police officer raise the cane above his head when he is preparing to strike the defendant.A doctor is available to treat the caned person. Also, if the person asks that the caning be stopped, the officer will stop, Cammack said.The severity of the caning is less in Indonesia than in other nations where it is permitted, such as Malaysia, Cammack adds. Also, non-Muslims can opt for either caning or imprisonment.In general, Muslim countries have a prohibition on any type of gambling. It is forbidden in the Koran. More than 90 percent of Indonesia’s 255 million population are believed to be Muslim, the Daily Mail said.During October 2019, two other men were caned for gambling in Indonesia. A crowd showed up for that caning, too. Several of them snapped photos of the punishment — using their cellphones.

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Posted on 3:06 am

High-Ranking Triad Who Laundered Drug Money Through Crown Melbourne Arrested in Thailand


Posted on: February 8, 2021, 01:06h. 
Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 01:06h.

Philip Conneller

Read MoreA reputed triad drugs boss accused of laundering millions through the Crown Melbourne Casino’s VIP rooms was arrested in Thailand in December, authorities in the southeast Asian nation have said.
This grainy, low-resolution image is allegedly one of few photos of high-ranking triad Lee Chung Chak. (Brisbane Times)Lee Chung Chak is believed to be a high-ranking member of the 14K triad and of notorious criminal organization “the Company.” Also known as Sam Gor, the Company is a super-syndicate formed by an alliance of previously warring triad factions. He is also believed to be the right-hand man of Tse Chi Lop, “Dubbed Asia’s El Chapo.” Tse is the reputed leader of the Company. He was arrested last month in Amsterdam.The two men were imprisoned together in the US in the 1980s after they were convicted of smuggling heroin into the country.Lee, 65, was apprehended in October at his apartment in an affluent district of Bangkok, authorities said. Both men were detained after Australian federal police put out a notice to international law enforcement agencies demanding their arrests.Lee is currently fighting extradition to Australia, claiming mistaken identity, while Tse is in prison in the Netherlands, where a court has yet to rule on his extradition.Billions in RevenuesThe arrests represent a huge coup for Australian law enforcement against one of the biggest narcotics smuggling organizations in the world. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates the Company made up to US$17 billion from methamphetamine trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region alone in 2018.The Company is believed to be responsible for up to 70 percent of all illegal drugs trafficked into Australia over the past 20 years.The two men are expected to be charged in Australia with importing illicit drugs a decade ago, according to Reuters. Authorities have them on tape discussing supplying a Melbourne drugs ring with millions of dollars’ worth of heroin and methylamphetamine.Police say they cracked the code the Company used to communicate with the gang. Its leader, a Melbourne greengrocer named Suky Lieu, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2015 for importing illegal drugs.Drug Money Washed Via Junket Account According to court records, Lieu and an associate, Ray Moo, laundered drug money through the Crown Melbourne via a VIP account owned by an Indonesian junket operator, the Madam Ang Junket Group, which employed Moo.The money was then wired to several Bank of China accounts controlled by an individual named Kevin Zhang, who was an associate of Lee’s, and would withdraw the money on Lee’s behalf.The ease with which Crown Resorts allowed itself to be exploited by organized crime for the purposes of money laundering has prompted a public inquiry in New South Wales that jeopardizes the company’s Sydney license.A decision that will decide the fate of the $1.7 billion Crown Sydney is expected tomorrow, February 9.

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Posted on 9:13 pm