In an interesting turn of events, it has emerged that the former business partner of casino giant Las Vegas Sands has been given the green light to pursue Sheldon Adelson's company for damages totalling $10 billion. The ruling was made recently in a Macau court, and pertains to an alleged breach of the terms of their partnership.
Las Vegas Sands attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed on March 16th, but failed. At the core of this dispute is the assertion that the company misused information relating to the partnership with “Asian American” of which Marshall Hao is CEO. Asian American is suing for a sum which would amount to more than 70% of the profits accrued by Las Vegas Sands between 2004 and 2022. With total profits up to 2016 reaching $8 billion, the final amount will reach an astonishing eleven figures – if the lawsuit is successful.
The roots of the conflict
The companies first began to work with each other in 2001, and applied for gaming concessions in Macau, with the city becoming exceptionally popular with gamblers and poker players in the following years. Las Vegas Sands subsequently switched partners however, and submitted an application alongside Galaxy Entertainment. Asian American maintains that while switching partners mid bid, Las Vegas Sands used a near identical bid submission, which included details exclusive to the former partnership.
When you consider that Las Vegas Sands has six operators, and their licence is up for renewal in 2020, this lawsuit shows the company in a very bad light, particularly in the context of unlawful dismissal, and breach of contract lawsuits which are already hanging over it. When you look at the fading revenues in Macau, and the larger issue of economic growth slowing on the Chinese mainland, it seems clear that Las Vegas Sands has an ever darkening cloud above its operations in Macau.