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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sands China hit by HSBC downgrade







Clark Schultz, SA News Editor

  • Sands China (OTCPK:SCHYY, OTCPK:SCHYF) is downgraded by HSBC to an Underweight rating from Neutral.
  • The latest blow to the Macau growth story was this week's State of the Union address (Chinese version) by China Premier Li Keqiang.
  • Parent Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) derived 62% of its revenue from Sands China and 53% of its property EBITDA in Q4 (see Q4 report).
  • What to watch: Las Vegas Sands still has its eyes on Japan and South Korea as markets for casino development.
  • Previously: Premier Keqiang tips further corruption crackdown in China
Read comments


Premier Keqiang tips further corruption crackdown in China






Clark Schultz, SA News Editor

  • The government in China doesn't appear to be set to ease off on its crackdown on corruption based on the annual work report speech given by the Premier.
  • Premier Li Keqiang: "Our tough stance on corruption is here to stay; our tolerance for corruption is zero, and anyone guilty of corruption will be dealt with seriously."
  • The stance from Beijing is considered the largest factor in the sharp slide in VIP revenue for Macau casinos.
  • English-version of the address to the National People's Congress by Keqiang. (.pdf)
  • Macau-related stocks: MPEL, MGM, WYNN, LVS, OTCPK:GXYEF, OTCPK:SJMHF.
Read comments


  • With China Clamping Down, MGM Resorts International Doesn't Look Too Attractive by George Hanley

  • MGM Resorts Recovery Dependent On Its Macau Resort by All Bases Covered
  •  

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Legalizing sports betting will create a “gateway drug” to later gambling addiction




    PATEL: Don’t legalize sports betting

    Legalizing sports betting will create a “gateway drug” to later gambling addiction

    China Corruption Crackdown Deals Macau a Rough Hand



    China proved that Gambling and Corruption go Hand in Hand!




    China Corruption Crackdown Deals Macau a Rough Hand

    Gambling revenue in Asia’s casino hub suffers record plunge in February


     
    The world’s biggest casino hub remained in free fall in February as gambling revenue plunged a record 49% from a year earlier to 19.54 billion patacas ($2.45 billion), rocked by China’s crackdown on corruption.

    The spectacular drop marks the ninth-straight month of collapsing revenue in the Chinese territory. February’s fall eclipsed a previous



    http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-corruption-crackdown-deals-macau-a-rough-hand-1425364603



     

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Invitation to testify before Congress on internet gambling


    Sorry to post this late!





    Congress is holding a hearing next week on abolishing the recent practice by some state governments of sponsoring internet gambling. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security is hearing H.R. 707 the "Restoration of America's Wire Act" on Thursday, March 5 at 9:30am.

    We have been asked to testify at the hearing and I want to invite you to please send along any arguments, evidence, stories or general advice that you believe we should consider emphasizing in our testimony. Our written testimony is due 48 hours before the hearing so if you want to send anything, please try to do so by this weekend when I'll be sitting down to write. My email is les@stoppredatorygambling.org.

    Former Assistant U.S. Attorney (and current SPG National Board member) Mike Fagan, who teaches International Money Laundering, Corruption, and Terrorism at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, was also invited to testify before the congressional committee. He is one of the nation's most knowlegeable experts about the relationship between internet gambling and crime. Because of the importance of his expertise to this issue and his membership in SPG, I ask you to please make a tax-deductible donation of $10 to help us cover Mike's airfare to the hearing. He will be traveling from St. Louis to Washington, DC and the plane ticket is approximately $400.

    Thanks. We'll hit it as hard as we can next week.

    Best,

    Les

    ____________

    Les Bernal

    National Director, Stop Predatory Gambling

    End government-sponsored gambling because it is dishonest, financially damaging to citizens and contributes to the rising unfairness and inequality in our country.

    If you support our mission and work, please become a member of Stop Predatory Gambling today.




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    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    'A figure to be ashamed of' - states net $5.9 billion in gambling taxes






    'A figure to be ashamed of' - states net $5.9 billion in gambling taxes
  • Date
    Ben Westcott

    Reporter at The Canberra Times

     
     



    States and territories will pocket an estimated $6 billion windfall from gaming taxes, to the dismay of anti-gambling advocates and social workers.
    According to their budgets, jurisdictions across Australia expect to reap almost $5.9 billion in the 2014-15 financial year from gambling taxes, including electronic gaming machines.
    Victoria and NSW are likely to take the lion's share of the revenue, with both states  forecast to receive about $2 billion in gambling taxes.
    On a per capita basis Victoria tops the country, taking in $311 per person in gambling and gaming taxes. In comparison, the ACT and Western Australia were the lowest, partly due to the latter's prohibition on electronic gaming machines in pubs and clubs.
    Total revenue from gambling ($m)Per capita2000150010005000Dollars ($m)NSWVICQLDWASATASNTACT
    Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce chairman Tim Costello said every dollar of the estimated $6 billion was a dollar taken out of someone's pocket.
    "It paints a picture of real individual suffering," he said.
    "Almost certainly it's led to domestic violence ... to kids hungry, a mortgage not paid."
    Mr Costello said as much as 60 per cent of the jurisdictions' gambling revenue was coming from people with a gambling addiction, according to the Productivity Commission.
    "People who - before their pokies addiction - had homes, businesses, many didn't drink or smoke even, have found their lives utterly addicted and ruined," he said.
    "It's not a figure to celebrate, it's a figure to be ashamed of."
    Mr Costello said the revenue projections were a further example of why governments needed to introduce $1 bets on poker machines Australia-wide.
    Salvation Army drug, alcohol and gambling treatment clinical director Gerard Byrne said gambling addiction had a number of serious consequences in addition to financial loss and the impact on the addicts' quality of life.
    "Things like children not being able to go on school excursions or having hand-me-down clothes all the time," he said.
    "There's also the emotional things like depression and anxiety, which are extremely prevalent among gamblers and their families."
    A spokesman for Victorian Gaming and Liquor Regulation minister Jane Garrett said the state's large gambling tax intake was due to its large population size, strong horse racing industry and high gaming taxes.
    "The revenue collected from gaming is used to fund school, hospitals and public works," he said.
    "Victoria will be the first state in the nation to introduce a voluntary pre-commitment scheme which will track players' spending of time and money regardless of the venue.
    "The technology will be rolled out by the end of the year."
    But Mr Costello said the fact the revenue would be spent on public services was nothing to celebrate. "We don't encourage more smokers because the revenue helps build schools and hospitals," he said.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Husband 'gambled his life away'




    Husband 'gambled his life away'


    A woman from Limavady, County Londonderry, speaks publicly about how her husband took his own life because of a gambling addiction.


    Husband 'gambled his life away'
    A girl from Limavady, County Londonderry, has spoken publicly right after her spouse took his individual daily life due to the fact of a gambling addiction.
    The man left a letter for his spouse and son in August 2014 expressing he "couldn't cope with the habit".


    He defined in the letter that gambling managed his existence and that he was "incredibly sorry to absolutely everyone". His spouse was left with credit card debt of £22,000.

    The man gambled on the internet, on his good cellular phone and attended significant racing gatherings.

    The man's wife, who does not want to be determined, has made a decision to converse out so some others might study from their expertise.

    'Powerful letter'

    The woman advised BBC Radio Foyle: "We were being jointly for twenty five a long time but I believed he was cheating.

    "His persona modified. He was coming dwelling late from do the job and was staying snappy.

    "We under no circumstances experienced any dollars complications but items all of a sudden went incredibly wrong.

    "He had his personal bank account and I experienced mine. He was bringing kinds dwelling for me to indication and little did I know I was signing our life away.

    "I did point out gambling to him and he constantly denied it.

    "He wrote a letter for my 19-12 months-aged son and myself just right before he took his personal lifestyle. He admitted it for the 1st time ever.

    "He said he was sorry and that he is aware of I'll continue to keep our son on the straight path.

    "I only told my son about the letter and his father's gambling habit past 7 days. I was afraid in circumstance he would go down the exact same highway.

    "I overlook him so substantially but I'm still fairly offended at how anything has been still left.

    "People will need to communicate out. I have some great reminiscences but I have a powerful letter from my husband who took his individual lifetime.

    "It was awful."

    Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers


    http://www.thebeaconreview.com/uk/husband-gambled-his-life-away-h3718.html

     

    Montrose gambler stole to fund addiction




    Montrose gambler stole to fund addiction

    By Rob McLaren, 28 February 2015
     
    An Angus tyre fitter stole his employer’s cash box to fuel his addiction to the roulette wheel.

    John Main, of St Johns Place in Montrose, admitted the offence which took place on November 22 2013 at McConnechy’s Tyre Service Cente in Waldron Road, Montrose.
     
    The 37-year-old said the theft of £240 was because of a gambling addiction.
     
    Depute fiscal Hannah Kennedy told Forfar Sheriff Court: “The accused was an employee at the time of the incident.
     
    “In the weeks prior it seems he had been having money problems and had been asking other members of staff for loans.
     
    “On November 22 2013 the premises had been locked by the manager for the evening.
     
    “At around 5.45pm another employee attended the locus to collect tyres for a job.
     
    “It was at that stage he noticed the accused’s vehicle and that the rear door of the premises was open with no lights on.
     
    “The accused was found within the premises rolling a tyre. He then left the premises.
     
    “At 7.30am the following morning the accused put a note through the door of the premises which stated he wasn’t coming back.
     
    “The complainer then searched the premises and it was noticed that the cash box had been pulled out from under the counter.”
     
    The cash box contained £240.50.
     
    Blood was also found at the scene and later swabbed.
     
    A review of video footage showed Main entering the premises and removing the cash box.
     
    Ms Kennedy added that when Main was interviewed by police he made a “full and frank” admission.
     
    “He said the money had been spent on gambling. He said he had a gambling addiction to roulette machines.”
     
    Main had only recently been released from a 16-month sentence imposed in relation to another matter.
     
    Defence agent Billy Rennie said: “The horror of gambling took hold of him.”
     
    Sheriff Pino Di Emidio sentenced Main to 80 hours of unpaid work to be completed within six months as an alternative to custody. He also imposed an 18-month supervision order.



    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/angus-the-mearns/montrose-gambler-stole-to-fund-addiction-1.844890


    Four Las Vegas casino workers face deportation as Bosnian war criminals




    Updated

    U.S. officials have identified four Las Vegas casino workers among 300 Bosnian immigrants who they believe concealed their involvement in wartime atrocities, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, and are trying to deport at least 150 of them, The New York Times reported Saturday.

    The immigrants were among refugees fleeing the violence in Bosnia after a war that erupted in 1992 with the collapse of Yugoslavia. The number of suspects eventually could exceed 600 as more records from Bosnia become available, the newspaper reported.

    “The more we dig, the more documents we find,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement historian Michael MacQueen, who has led many of the agency’s war crimes investigations, told the Times.

    Many of the Bosnian suspects were soldiers, and they include a Virginia soccer coach, an Ohio metal worker and four Las Vegas hotel-casino workers, the newspaper said. The four Las Vegas residents were not further identified by the newspaper. Some are now U.S. citizens, it said.

    A spokeswoman for U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached by the Review-Journal on Saturday said privacy laws prevent her from identifying the four men unless they are charged with a crime. She said she did not know their current status. The men’s Arizona-based attorney, Christopher Brelje, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

    The Times said evidence indicates half of the 300 Bosnian suspects might have played a part in the massacre at Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in five summer days in 1995, toward the end of a war that claimed 100,000 lives.

    The massacre was the culmination of a policy of ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic’s forces to carve a pure Serb state out of diverse Bosnia.

    Lawyer Thomas Hoidal represented two of 12 Bosnian Serbs in Arizona who face deportation over war crimes.

    “It’s guilt by association,” he told the Times.

    The Bosnian war ended in a 1995 U.S.-brokered peace deal. A U.N. tribunal subsequently ruled that genocide was committed in Bosnia.

    This was not the first time a Las Vegas resident has been implicated in the Srebrenica massacre.

    Identified as a former Bosnian-Serb police commander, Dejan Radojkovic, 64, of Las Vegas, entered the United States in 1999 and was arrested by federal law enforcement in 2009. ICE later announced that an immigration judge had ordered Radojkovic deported on grounds that he either ordered or directly participated in the massacre. Radojkovic was deported to Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2012, according to ICE.

    For years, ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit has worked to identify war criminals and those charged with human-rights violations, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice told the Review-Journal.

    The United States is seen as a “safe haven” for refugees and asylum seekers, ICE said, and war criminals and human-rights violators sometimes make it through the cracks to enter the country, as well.

    “These aren’t war criminals,” Brelje, who also represents a dozen Phoenix-area men facing deportation, told the Times.

    While some of his Phoenix clients were stationed with Serb forces in towns not far from Srebrenica, they were “grunts in the trenches” securing perimeter positions, not executing Muslims.

    Immigration officials “are painting too broad a brush,” he said. “They got excited and said, ‘Bad things happened over there; let’s punish some people.’ But these guys didn’t do anything wrong.”


    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/four-las-vegas-casino-workers-face-deportation-bosnian-war-criminals

     

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    Iran picks on Sheldon Adelson


    Dontcha have to wonder if this isn't more of Sheldon Adelson's hysteria simply feeding into an irrational paranoia?





    Clark Schultz, SA News Editor

    • A top U.S. security official confirmed to a Senate committee that Iran was behind the hacking incident against Las Vegas Sands (LVS +0.5%) last year.
    • CEO Sheldon Adelson has been vocal in the past on Middle East issues.
    • The breach reportedly cost Las Vegas Sands $40M, although insurance may have covered part of the exposure.
    Read comments


    Iran Behind Cyber-Attack on Adelson’s Sands Corp., Clapper Says

    National Intelligence Director James Clapper
    James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images




    (Bloomberg) -- The top U.S. intelligence official confirmed for the first time that Iran was behind a cyber attack against the Las Vegas Sands Corp. last year.

    Identifying Iran as the perpetrator came more than a year after the Feb. 10, 2014, attack against the world’s largest gambling company, which crippled many of the computer systems that help run the $14 billion operation. Sands’ chairman and chief executive officer and top shareholder is billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a leading U.S. supporter of Israel and of Republican political candidates.

    James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that the attack by Iran, followed by the hacking of Sony Corp. by North Korea in November, marked the first destructive cyber-assaults on the U.S. by nation-states. Iran’s role in the attack that crippled operations at several of Sands’ U.S. casinos was reported in December by Bloomberg Businessweek.
    “While both of these nations have lesser technical capabilities in comparison to Russia and China, these destructive attacks demonstrate that Iran and North Korea are motivated and unpredictable cyber-actors,” Clapper said.

    He also said the cyberthreat from Russia is “more severe than we have previously assessed,” without elaborating.

    Computer attacks such as those by Iran and North Korea are more likely to threaten the U.S. in the future than a single massive assault crippling the country’s infrastructure, he said.

    No ‘Cyber-Armageddon’

    “Rather than a ‘cyber-Armageddon’ scenario that debilitates the entire U.S. infrastructure, we envision something different,” Clapper said in a report on global threats submitted to the Senate committee. “We foresee an ongoing series of low-to-moderate level cyber-attacks from a variety of sources over time, which will impose cumulative costs on U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.”

    Clapper’s report marks a departure from past U.S. warnings about the type of Internet attacks that the country will face. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned in 2012 of a“cyber Pearl Harbor” that could paralyze the country.

    Attacks may include not only hacking but “supply-chain operations to insert compromised hardware or software,” Clapper said. At the same time, detection has improved so that attackers can no longer assume that their identities will stay concealed, he said.

    Arming Ukraine

    At the hearing on worldwide threats, Clapper and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, clashed with the committee’s chairman, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, over whether to send defensive weapons to Ukraine in its battle against Russian-backed separatists.

    Sending weapons to Ukraine “would not change the military balance of power and it would not get there quickly enough,”Stewart said.

    McCain, who has advocated providing arms for months, said“it’s just incredible to believe” that weapons couldn’t be sent quickly or that such a move would provoke Russian President Vladimir Putin when he’s already achieving what he wants in Ukraine.

    Findings in Clapper’s wide-ranging summary of a “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community” were less optimistic than positions taken by other Obama administration officials.

    On Iraq, where officials have said the U.S. has stopped the momentum of Islamic State extremists, Clapper described a stalemate.

    Violent Extremists

    Six months of air strikes by the U.S. and allies and limited ground operations have “largely stabilized” Iraq, with no side “able to muster the resources necessary” to meet its objectives, Clapper said.

    On terrorism more broadly, Clapper said that “Sunni violent extremists are gaining momentum” and the number of groups “and safe havens is greater than at any other point in history.”

    The threat to U.S. allies and partners will probably increase depending on extremists’ success in seizing and holding territory, he said.

    Most groups “place a higher priority on local concerns than on attacking the so-called far enemy -- the United States and the West,” Clapper said.

    If Islamic State’s priority were to change, “radicalized Westerners who have fought in Syria and Iraq would provide a pool of operatives who potentially have access to the United States and other Western countries.”

    As the U.S. seeks to negotiate an accord to halt Iran’s nuclear program, Clapper said Iran remains “an ongoing threat to U.S. national interests because of its support to the Assad regime in Syria, promulgation of anti-Israeli policies, development of advanced military capabilities and pursuit of its nuclear program.”

    While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been described as relatively moderate, Clapper said he is “a longstanding member of the regime establishment” who “will not depart from Iran’s national security objectives.”


    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-26/iran-behind-cyber-attack-on-adelson-s-sands-corp-clapper-says


    PA: Government Addiction to Gambling Revenues...at any cost


    Caesars entire $$$ went to debt payment and they're now in the midst of a messy divorce from creditors [bankruptcy].


    Even the not too bright among us could see the Titanic sinking!






    This defines Government Addiction to Gambling Revenues!

    Harrah’s Philadelphia casino license renewed

    Feb 26, 2015
     
     
    Reporter- Philadelphia Business Journal




    Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack's license was renewed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday.

    The seven-member control board unanimously voted to renew operator Harrah's Chester Downs and Marina's Category 1 casino license for another three-year period. The decision was based on a number of processes, including public hearings, and testimony from the public and local government officials, the state police and the Control Board's office of enforcement counsel.

    Since opening in 2007, Harrah's Philadelphia has generated more than $2.5 billion in gross revenue from slot machines and table games, generating nearly $1.3 billion in gaming tax revenue.

    The casino's table game gross revenue for January 2015 was $6.1 million, up 6 percent year-over-year according to the Control Board.

    Harrah's has about 2,800 slot machines and 120 table games, employing more than 1,400 people.



    http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2015/02/26/harrah-s-philadelphia-casino-license-renewed.html

    PA: A Slap on the Wrist for Meadows!


    If Pennsylvania wanted to ensure that Casinos abided by regulations, the $$$ would be a percentage of profits - you'd see how fast Casinos would comply!





    Meadows fined $15,000 for underage gambler

     
    The operator of The Meadows Casino was fined $15,000 for allowing an underage player to gamble on slot machines.
    The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced the fine Wednesday against Washington Trotting Association after a male, age 20, gained access to the gaming floor of the North Strabane Township casino. Under state law, a player must be at least 21 to bet on slot machines or table games.

    That was one of five consent agreements PGCB approved resulting in $77,500 in fines. The agreements were forged between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and the operators of three casinos, including the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.

    Holdings Acquisition Co. L.P., operator of the North Side facility, was hit with two fines totaling $27,500. One was for $22,500 for incidents in which casino personnel violated board regulations or the Rivers’ internal controls in conducting table games. The other was $5,000 for check cashing violations.

    Downs Racing L.P., operator of Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County, likewise was fined twice and will pay the largest amount – a total of $35,000. They were: $30,000 for five incidents in which a person on the PGCB’s Self-Exclusion List was permitted to enter and gamble, and $5,000 for conducting business with an unlicensed gaming service provider.

    For more infirmation, visit gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    The 'Red King of Gambling' owes $160 million




    The 'Red King of Gambling' owes $160 million, and that says everything about China's problems



    shao dongmingYouTube
    Shao Dongming


    Shao Dongming is the CEO of Chinese property development company Dongding Investment, and he's one of richest men in Shanghai.

    He's also known as the red king of gambling, infamous for going to Macau and making multi-million dollar bets with abandon.

    Unfortunately his luck has run out.

    Shao is being investigated for corruption in the country's ongoing, far-reaching anti-corruption campaign. Specifically, the government is looking into the $160 million worth of gambling debts he's racked up in Macau. According to reports, Shao refused to pay these debts when his creditors tried to call them in, and he reportedly even threatened representatives of his creditors with bodily harm.

    His story is a reflection of a new China.

    Two years ago, this probably wouldn't have been a problem, but with a national anti-corruption campaign afoot in China — in which President Xi Jinping vowed to go after lowly "flies" and powerful "tigers" — and Macau's casino industry going through a massive slowdown, there is no longer any tolerance for the red king's excesses.

    MacaoKin Cheun/APPeople walk across a road in front of the Venetian Macao casino resorts.

    There's also little tolerance for his pride. A report from China's NDTV noted that Shao bragged that "anyone creating trouble for him would end up in jail." He has close ties to the mayor of Shanghai, and he has held high-level positions within the Communist Party.

    No matter. He's still going to get a "stringent inspection," according to the Party.

    It's about more than Shao

    Now, the fact that Shao's being targeted for corruption is not the only way his case reflects Xi's new China. His investigation may spell more trouble for the country's slowing housing market and show that an already dire situation in Macau isn't getting any better.

    Overall, Shao's business has seen better days. Chinese housing is facing its roughest patch since 2011. New home prices fell 5.1% in January from the same time the year before. In December that figure was 4.3%.

    Last month, massive property development company Kaisa defaulted, and now $2 billion worth of its assets are frozen. Naturally, having a billionaire property developer under investigation won't help matters.

    As for Macau, the fact that Shao's debts are being called in at all is a sign of weakness, especially for the island's high roller segment. Coming off of the worst year since it opened to western casino operators, analysts think that the global gambling hub will continue to slow. Foot traffic is up slightly among retail gamblers, but it's not nearly enough to make up for the loss of high rollers, who've been scared off by Xi's corruption crack down.

    Moreover, one would think Chinese New Year would be a boon for Macau, but it hasn't been.
    "Based on checks through February 22, we believe Chinese New Year (CNY) revenue trends have been soft to ­date. Our checks suggest that revenue trends in both the VIP and mass segments have been soft. Notably, there were a number of mass tables empty on the third and fourth days of CNY," wrote Wells Fargo analyst Cameron McKnight in a recent note. "Continue to expect ­-35% to -­45% growth for February."

    What's more, reports indicate that the Chinese government is looking to cap the number of visitors to Macau — period. That means the end of the islands massive boom, and the beginning of what McKnight calls a "new normal."

    Oh and there's this: "our analysis shows a 95% correlation between Chinese home price growth and VIP volume growth," McKnight wrote in a note.

    So if the ship starts to go down, it all goes down together.


    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/red-king-of-gambling-owes-160-million-2015-2#ixzz3SfEUKrRz