Amax Holdings seeks to operate VIP room at Cambodian casino
Erstwhile casino junket operator Amax International Holdings has struck a deal to operate a VIP room at an undisclosed casino in Cambodia.
On Tuesday, Amax informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it had signed a non-legally binding letter of intent regarding the exclusive operating rights of a VIP room at the unidentified Cambodian gaming venue. The other party is an unidentified Chinese citizen who owns the VIP room in question.
Amax said it has been granted an exclusive right until October 30 to negotiate the precise terms of the deal with the Chinese owner, perform due diligence of the VIP room – which consists of 13 baccarat tables – and get assurances from Cambodian lawyers as to the legality of the business. Assuming all goes as planned, Amax has promised to pay the owner a fixed monthly fee for a period of two years.
Amax says the deal is intended to diversify its income stream and expand its gaming business, which is but a shadow of its former self. Once a major player in Macau’s junket sector, Amax now relies on a fledgling online gambling operation in Vanuatu to generate revenue, and not much revenue at that. The company’s annual report covering the 12 months ending March 31 shows online revenue of just HKD 6.6m (US $843k).
Amax insists that it maintains a 24.8% stake in the company that operated the Greek Mythology casino at the Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel (formerly the New Century Hotel) in Macau. But a legal squabble – sparked by a soured romance involving Amax chairman Ng Man Sun and the former paramour who ended up controlling the casino management firm – means Amax hasn’t received valid financial info from this casino since 2012.
The Greek Mythology casino was shut down at the end of 2015, and the hotel in which it resides was shut the following July. Regardless, Amax continues to insist that the Greek Mythology gaming license “is a valuable asset to the company.”
In June, Amax announced that Ng Man Sun has asked a Macau court to appoint himself as Greek Mythology’s administrator, in order that he might finally get a look at the casino’s financial records. Regardless of whether or not this application is approved, it appears highly dubious that Amax will ever recover the money it claims to be owed, regardless of what those financial records show. So much is riding on the success of this prospective Cambodian venture.
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