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MACAU BUSINESS


‘Furthermore, it would be aggravated by the fact that


as of today, no solvency ratios or mandatory provisions to secure the reimbursement of those funds seem to have been determined nor prudential rules imposed by the Macau authorities,’ he noted. ‘The inaction by this important governmental agency


may reflect either a different (legal) interpretation of the elements of the crime of unauthorized reception of deposits or other repayable funds, or an implementation failure (lack of enforcement), or even a motivation failure (lack of readiness),’ he argued.


Ramifications


The ramifications of such a blowout would also impact gaming concessionaires as the final decision by Court of Final Appeal (TUI) over several pending cases will decide if casino operators shall be liable for the repayment of the funds on deposit with gaming promoters. Currently, at least eight cases involving have been decided by the Court of Second Instance (TSI) and in all these appeals but one, casino operators were considered jointly and severally liable with the gaming promoters to return the funds on deposit at VIP rooms, with a final decision by the TUI to clear the waters on the matter. Mr Lobo Vilela analysed the most high profile of such cases, when in 2015, Dore Entertainment Limited, one of the largest gaming promoters in Macau, allegedly saw the manager of one of its VIP rooms absconds with funds located at Wynn Macau.


After Dore’s refusal to repay the funds, several patrons


went to court to see their request fulfilled, with one case involving a reimbursement request with default interests of HK$6 million in freely redeemable gaming chips on deposit demanding Dore as the recipient of the deposit and Wynn as jointly and severally liable for the activities carried on by gaming promoters inside its casinos.


Appeal pending


A TSI decision later ruled that no factual elements showed whether the deposit had any connection with the gaming promotion activity and, consequently, decided in favor of Wynn’s motion, but an appeal is still pending with TUI.


‘The decision is crucial to the Macanese gaming


ecosystem and the way it is structured. Whatever the decision may be, it will reshape forever the relationship between casino operators and gaming promoters, finally understanding that the latent financial risks could eventually outweigh the perceived profitability of the VIP gaming,’ Mr Lobo Vilela adds. The former legal advisor considers that an


unfavourable decision landing liability in operator might cause an ‘unprecedented and materially adverse impact’ on the robustness that casino operators enjoy in Macau and ‘even imperil their existence’. ‘The worst-case scenario would be for gaming


promoters, most of them incorporated as companies with


MAY 2021 19


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