Meetings & Information


Sunday, December 25, 2016


Trenton's Bad Bet chief financial backer is the Genting Group which operates the Resorts World Casino in New York. The campaign against expanded ...

Investors are keeping a close eye on shares of Genting Singapore PLC (SGX:G13). The stock has a current six month price index of 1.29452. The six ...

Investors are keeping a close eye on shares of Genting Hong Kong Limited (SEHK:678). The stock has a current six month price index of 0.94979.

Mom jailed for leaving kids in Sands Bethlehem Casino garage while gambling

EASTON, Pa. - A woman who left her three children in her minivan in the parking garage of a Pennsylvania casino while she gambled will spend two ...

Mom jailed for leaving kids in casino garage while gambling


Monday, December 19, 2016

Singapore bond market faces S$22bn refinancing bill

Japan has singled out Singapore as a role model with its integrated resorts concept, and may pay special attention to both Genting Singapore and Las ...

Investors may be taking a closer look at shares of Genting Singapore PLC (SGX:G13). Currently, GentingSingapore PLC (SGX:G13) has an FCF ...

Investors keeping an eye on shares of Genting Hong Kong Limited (SEHK:678) may be analyzing the company's FCF or Free Cash Flow. FCF is a ...

Bankers also expect Genting Singapore to consider a new financing well ahead of 2017 call dates on S$2.3 billion of perpetual notes, although ...

* Restructuring and refinancing remain dominant themes for 2017
By Kit Yin Boey
SINGAPORE, Dec 19 (IFR) - Singapore dollar bonds worth S$22 billion ($15.5 billion) are callable or due to mature next year, exposing issuers and investors to refinancing risks as borrowing costs rise in the US.
The US Federal Reserve last Wednesday raised policy rates by 25bp and surprised markets with guidance for three, instead of the expected two, rate increases next year. US Treasury yields immediately jumped 10bp-11bp across the curve, pulling Singapore dollar swap offer rates higher on Thursday morning. The five-year and 10-year SOR soared 10bp to 2.36 percent and 2.87 percent, respectively, from the previous day's close.
Issuers that sold bonds in early 2012, for example, could be looking at an increase in five-year base rates of around 100 basis points when they come to refinance, as the benchmark rate was only 1.34 percent at the start of that year.
Pricing issues aside, Singapore bankers are still fairly sanguine about refinancing risks, pointing out that most of the maturing bonds will come from high-grade borrowers, which will still find healthy demand for new issues, albeit at higher absolute yields.
Indeed, Triple A rated government agency Housing and Development Board accounts for S$3.4 billion of next year's maturing bonds. Placing its bonds is usually not a problem and it has sold S$4.5 billion of notes in 2016 alone.

Bankers also expect Genting Singapore to consider a new financing well ahead of 2017 call dates on S$2.3 billion of perpetual notes, although analysts stress the group is in no immediate need of cash. A S$1.8 billion 5.125 percent perp is callable on September 12 and a S$500 million 5.125 percent retail perp is callable on October 18.
"The perps still have some legs to stand on. Genting has spare cash to pay down if their projects in Japan and South Korea do not happen," said a Singapore banker. Analysts estimate Genting's cash pile to reach S$4.7 billion at the end of this year.
"However, they will need to manage their needs, given that business prospects in the industry can be challenging," he said.
The resort and casino operator, rated A3/A- (Moody's/Fitch), can expect healthy demand for a potential new issue, especially among institutional investors, because of a woeful lack of bond sales in the second half of this year. WEAK VOLUMES Bonds totalling S$17.5 billion were issued to date in 2016, down 18.5 percent from last year and the lowest since 2009, when S$11.6 billion was raised, according to Thomson Reuters data. The last quarter has been particularly weak, with a mere S$1.9 billion of notes sold after a slew of defaults earlier in the year.
"Primary issuance in the Singapore dollar bond market should be better in 2017, coming off this year's lows and, hopefully, no further big shocks will affect the SGD market," said Tan Kee Phong, head of capital markets at OCBC Bank.
"This year, the Singapore market was resilient against three major surprises - the UK vote to leave the EU, the US presidential vote for Donald Trump and the series of bond defaults and restructurings in the local market. The restructurings were confined mainly to oil and gas and shipping industries and did not spread to other sectors. This reflects the maturity of investors - a positive for further development of the Singapore dollar bond market."
Bank capital deals from both local and foreign banks are likely to remain a strong theme as Singapore investors have shown strong appetite for riskier, high-yielding assets from high-rated banks. Bankers are also hoping that foreign banks, particularly those from the US and Europe, will consider selling non-preferred senior notes in Singapore to count towards their total loss-absorbing capacity (TLAC) ratios. MORE STRESS? Restructuring of bonds of financially strapped issuers is expected to continue into next year, with bankers expecting those affected to be mainly small and medium-sized companies. The market is closely watching a number of credits, including International Healthway Corporation.
IHC lost its two prime Australian properties in September after bank-appointed receivers sold the assets. It now faces a shareholder revolt over its plans for a placement of new shares.
Market chatter has suggested a potential plan to extend for two years IHC's two outstanding bonds: a S$50 million 7 percent due on April 27 2017 and a S$50 million 6 percent due on February 6 2018.
The hospital-management company alarmed noteholders on August 8 when a coupon due on the 2018 notes was delayed. The payment was made two days later, after what IHC said was a delay in the processing and remittance of the funds. (Reporting by Kit Yin Boey; Editing by Daniel Stanton)

Some Pa. casinos pledge to pay host fee, but not Sands Bethlehem

Some Pa. casinos pledge to pay host fee, but not Sands Bethlehem

Four casinos have committed to giving their communities the host fees that have been deemed unconstitutional. Sands is not among them.

By Matt Assad
Morning Call 

Even though the state Supreme Court has struck down the $10 million casino host fee as unconstitutional, casinos across the state have begun to cut deals to make sure their host communities still get the money they've been using to fund police, fire and even homeless shelters.
Sands Casino in Bethlehem will not be among them — at least not anytime soon.
Parx Casino in Bensalem last week became the fourth gambling hall to agree to give its host communities their casino money next year, even if state legislators can't follow through on their promise to restore the fee before the money is cut off in January.
Hollywood in Dauphin County, Harrah's in Chester and Rivers in Pittsburgh had already struck deals, while others are expected to follow in the coming weeks. But Sands officials who met with Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez last week told him they're going to take their cue from state legislators, who tried and failed to tackle the host fee issue before they went on break in November.
That wait-and-see approach leaves the city rolling the dice on when, or if, it will get money equivalent to the pay for 100 police officers.
"We're not going to speculate on any future outcome by the Legislature," said Ron Reese, spokesman for Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns the Bethlehem gambling hall. "As it unfolds, we'll follow and act accordingly."
Donchez said he's not worried — yet.
"We met with the Sands and we're all hopeful legislators will find a fix," Donchez said. "If nothing happens by April, we'll talk [with Sands] again and take it from there."
All this talking, waiting and hoping is happening in the wake of a September state Supreme Court ruling that struck down the $10 million host fee and the 2 percent tax on slot machines revenues funneled to counties. Justices agreed that the tax put a much greater burden on smaller casinos such as Mount Airy Casino Resort than big-revenue casinos such as Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
Mount Airy, in Monroe County, challenged the $10 million fee, arguing successfully that it violates the tax uniformity clause in the state constitution.
Justices stayed their opinion for 120 days, until Jan. 26, to give legislators a chance to fix the law before the flow of money stops. But frantic attempts by House and Senate leaders to do that before the session ended in November failed. That's left communities that balance budgets with the the collective $140 million in host fees statewide relying on legislators to come together when they return to Harrisburg next month.
However, some casinos have decided to remove all doubt. Hollywood Casino, in Grantville near Harrisburg, was the first, striking a deal in November to pay the host fee through June, even if legislators fail to restore it.
"If they don't get a fix by June, we'll extend through December and keep extending it until the matter is settled," said Eric Schippers, a senior vice president with Hollywood Casino owner Penn National Gaming. "They're counting on that revenue for critical needs and we don't want them worrying about whether it's going to be there. It's going to be there. That's our commitment."
Rivers followed a few weeks later.
"To reinforce Rivers Casino's strong commitment to our hometown, we have worked collaboratively with city officials to ensure that $10 million in annual local share payments from Rivers Casino to Pittsburgh will continue uninterrupted through 2017," said Rivers General Manager Craig Clark.
As for the remaining six casinos — smaller resort casinos in Valley Forge and Lady Luck Casino in Fayette County were not affected by the ruling — the payment schedule gives host communities a little breathing room. Casinos make their host fee payments quarterly, and they'll make their Jan. 15 payment before the money stops.
Legislators will be back in session by mid-January. That gives them time to fix the law before casinos would miss their next scheduled payment April 15. The problem is that law changes often don't get passed until legislators are deep inside their annual June horse-trading session to pass the state budget.
Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, said he's hoping to beat the April deadline.
"With so many moving parts, there are no guarantees," Browne said. "But we'll be working as quickly as possible toward a fix. We know how important this money is."
Twitter @matthewassad21
Casinos that have agreed to pay host fees through 2017
•Hollywood Casino, Grantville
•Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh
•Harrah's Casino, Delaware County
•Parx Casino, Bucks County

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Connecticut: Gambling issue leads to larceny charge

Gambling issue leads to larceny charge

December 9, 2016
By Jason Vallee Sun staff writer

STONINGTON — A Mystic man is facing charges after police said he had been “floating deposits” while working as a manager at Dunkin’ Donuts in order to pay for a gambling addiction.
Ryan Richard Farrell, 28, of 207 Whitehall Ave., Apt. #3, was taken into custody by Stonington police Tuesday morning after the department obtained a warrant. He was arraigned the same day in New London Superior Court on one count of third-degree larceny and pleaded not guilty, court records show.
According to a police report, an investigation revealed that between Sept. 19 and Oct. 2, Farrell had operated a “floating deposit” scheme in an effort to help fund what police called a gambling addiction. A “floating deposit” is the act of using money from one deposit to supplement a second in order to skim money off the top.
Over the course of two weeks, police said a review of deposits showed he had taken $6,822 from the two Dunkin’ Donuts locations on Route 27 in Mystic.
Police said the investigation was initiated Oct. 4 after the owners of the two stores, Greg and Karen Daley, reported to police that they believed Farrell, who was employed as a manager, had not made several deposits. Officers spoke with Farrell and discovered he was still in possession of several deposit bags and nearly $445 in cash.
Farrell told police that he had tossed some of the money into the Poquonnock River at Bluff Point and admitted to officers he was experiencing financial hardship as a result of lost wages due to a previous incident. According to the affidavit, he told officers that in May, money had gone missing while he was working as a manager and he was forced to come to an agreement with the Daleys to repay the money over time through paycheck withholdings.
Farrell told Greg Daley that he left the money on a desk by mistake and it was taken, likely by another employee. The May losses totaled nearly $6,500, police said, but the incident was not reported because Daley was concerned that if he fired Farrell and sought criminal charges, he would not be able to recoup the funds.
In early November, police again spoke with Farrell and he told officers that an assistant manager was responsible for the missing money, $800 in all. Farrell said he had been “floating deposits” in an effort to give the assistant manager time to pay it back but that she was unable to do so.
Concerned over inconsistencies in Farrell’s story and having received information that he may have a gambling problem, police then contacted Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun and determined he was a frequent visitor to both. According to the affidavit, the two casinos reported that in 2016 alone, he had run up losses of more than $18,000 — including $5,998 in the two weeks when money went missing.
Further investigation also revealed that Farrell had a similar issue in 2015 while employed at a Groton Dunkin’ Donuts. He was arrested in March 2015 and convicted in October 2016 of third-degree larceny after pleading guilty, according to court records. He was given a two-year sentence in that case, execution suspended pending the completion of a one-year probation period.
The latest charge is not considered a probation violation because, court officials said, the incident occurred prior to his sentencing. Farrell remains in state custody in lieu of a $25,000 bond, records show, and is due back in New London Superior Court for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 23.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fears of Beijing gambling crackdown sends casino stocks crashing

Casino stocks from Australia's Crown Resorts to Las Vegas Sands tumbled after a report that Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, would limit ...

Fears of Beijing gambling crackdown sends casino stocks crashing. Fri 9 Dec 2016 03:36:59 GMT. Author: Eamonn Sheridan | Category: News.

Things had just started to look better for the casino industry with the mecca of casino gaming - Macau - slowly returning to life. Gaming revenues in the ...

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

Ernie Virgilio and Joe Brait spent a lot of time going over plans for a new shellfish incubator at the Mashpee Wampanoag's Natural Resource ...


Tribe and feds challenge court decision over casino lands

Published Thursday, December 8, 2016

MASHPEE, Mass. (AP) — An Indian tribe is appealing a decision that's halted its plans for a nearly $1 billion casino.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and the U.S. Department of Interior on Thursday filed notice in Boston federal appeals court that they're challenging a July ruling that the department lacked the authority to place more than 300 acres in Taunton and Mashpee into trust for the tribe last year.
The tribe broke ground on its Taunton casino in April even though residents sued to stop it, arguing the federal government could take land into trust only for tribes officially recognized as of June 1, 1934.
The Mashpee Wampanoags were officially recognized in 2007.

BOSTON - Federal and Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe officials have formally signaled their intent to appeal a judge's ruling that had put the tribe's plans ...

The CEO who nearly lost his shirt in Vegas tries his luck in Washington

The CEO who nearly lost his shirt in Vegas tries his luck in Washington

Outside the window of James J. Murren’s office in the Bellagio casino on the Las Vegas strip, 7,000 construction workers were building a project of his creation.
Dubbed CityCenter it was, at $8.5 billion and 67 acres, the largest privately funded development in U.S. history, designed to include a 4,000-room casino resort mixed in with condominium units, shopping and restaurants run by celebrity chefs.
As a lower-level executive, Murren had persuaded his company, MGM Resorts International, to build it. By the time he assumed the role of MGM chief executive in December 2008, the global economy was collapsing, and CityCenter threatened to take Murren and MGM down with it.
Advisers urged Murren to put CityCenter into bankruptcy and lay off the workers toiling away outside his window. News crews swarmed to report on its demise. If MGM toppled, he’d be responsible for leveling a company with 20 casinos and 61,000 employees, the biggest employer in Nevada.
“That was the most surreal moment of my life,” he said.

This week, as MGM opened the $1.4 billion resort casino at National Harbor in suburban Maryland’s Prince George’s County, Murren basked in the glow of chandeliers and redemption. His rocky arrival atop the MGM empire could not feel further off.
An urban studies and art history major in college, Murren has refined the role of a casino chief executive, designing properties as destinations that offer much more than slot machines and blackjack tables by spending heavily on design, artwork, environmental sustainability and entertainment.
MGM National Harbor’s 3,000-seat theater will present Bruno Mars, Cher and Boyz II Men. The resort displays $30 million worth of art, including pieces by Bob Dylan. There are 15 places to eat and drink and the first fashion boutique by “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker.
The opening in Maryland has been all he could hope for. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Prince George’s officials applaud the 4,000 jobs and the anticipated $40 million to $45 million a year in additional county tax revenue. Investors are singing his praises.
It was even a bit of a homecoming for his wife, Heather, a Maryland native he married in Saints Philip and James Catholic Church in Baltimore.
It’s the kind of reception he expected 10 years ago with CityCenter, which he imagined would redefine the famed strip in Las Vegas.
Instead the project and Las Vegas as a whole emerged as symbols of the bluster and greed that had kneecapped the American economy.
Three months into Murren’s tenure as chief executive, everyone with a stake in the company was taking a beating. MGM’s stock traded for more than $96 a share in fall 2007; by early March 2009, it had cratered to $1.81.
Members of Congress, union leaders, bankers and investorsdemanded to know what Murren was going to do to save the once-proud owner of the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, especially given that casino revenue accounts for about 45 percentof Nevada’s budget — and MGM revenue alone for about 12 percent.
“We had a lot of pain in the valley,” Murren said. “Unemployment skyrocketed to around 15 percent. MGM was the largest employer in the state. Everyone was looking to MGM for some kind of reassurance . . . getting calls from the governor, getting calls from the federal [congressional] delegation because the state’s budget is built on the gaming industry.”
It’s difficult to imagine Murren, 55, facing another crisis as serious as that one, but as dealers and bartenders begin dealing cards and serving cocktails 24 hours a day at the Maryland casino overlooking the Potomac River, the casino business is once again facing headwinds.
More states are opening their doors to casino gambling, and the competition is watering down profits. And Murren’s latest bets, including on a sister company in China, could be susceptible to anti-trade rhetoric by the president-elect, Donald Trump, a man Murren pointedly did not support in the election.
‘Well, why not?’
The Murrens enjoyed sparkling careers as Wall Street analysts before leaving for the desert. Life was good. As a managing director at Merrill Lynch, Heather made more than her husband and was profiled in Fortune Magazine. They had a son and enjoyed the high life in Manhattan and a 20-acre farm near his home town, Fairfield, Conn.
But Murren, a football and baseball player in high school, had been encouraged by MGM to get off the sidelines and into the industry he was analyzing. Heather, three months pregnant with their second child, backed the idea.
“The thought of us moving to Las Vegas, a place she had only been once for 24 hours — I expected her to say that was flattering but no way,” Murren said. “But she said, ‘Well, why not? What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ ”
During three in-person interviews over more than a year leading up to the opening of MGM National Harbor, Murren spoke with hardly an interruption from his public relations handlers. He never asked to go off the record. He admitted that he worked in an industry that his mother could not abide.
“My mom would just as soon pull her hair out than put money into a slot machine,” he said. “She would consider that a complete waste.”
Research shows that about 2 million Americans are addicted to gambling, and as many as 20 million bet so much and so often that it affects their professional and social lives. Slot machine technology has grown ever more sophisticated about drawing people in and keeping them.
He said that the biggest problem his industry faces is one of misperception and that he doesn’t know why casino workers are viewed as less patriotic than steelworkers or coal miners.
“Generally, the greatest opponent of my industry is lack of information,” he said. “There is no doubt we are going to find people who believe this is not an acceptable form of entertainment. But the vast majority of Americans are completely affirmative on this industry. They like the shows. They like the food.”
During the process that authorized the National Harbor casino, when MGM beat out competing firms for the first license in Prince George’s, residents more often asked about jobs, traffic and what games the casino would offer than they did about the ills of gambling.
Two interested parties in the National Harbor complex, developer Milton V. Peterson and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), were initially opposed to a casino, but they were converted.
Casino giants such as MGM have entered the mainstream in part by focusing less on gambling and more on real estate development, building getaways that offer betting but aren’t consumed by it. Less than half of MGM’s revenue now comes from gambling.
That was the idea behind CityCenter. Murren pitched the project to the MGM board in 2004, before he became chief executive. Dubai World, an investment arm of the Dubai government, signed on as a 50-50 partner. Construction began in 2006 when the economy was sailing along.
After the financial markets crashed, casino operators rushed to cut costs and MGM laid off 9,000 people. The effect on the Las Vegas economy was so disheartening that the Murrens drew the curtains on their windows at home to block out views of the strip.
The low point for Murren came on a Monday morning call from Dubai. MGM and Dubai World each owed a $100 million construction payment due that Friday; MGM’s partners were calling to say they wouldn’t be paying.
Murren and his team spent the week trying to borrow $200 million, working through the night to find the money to keep the project alive through conversations with bankers and investors from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
As the week wore on, MGM officials drew up the bankruptcy papers so they could be delivered at the end of the week and acquired enough chain-link fencing to surround the entire site.
That Thursday the windows on his first-floor office at Bellagio, near the CityCenter site, rattled. It was a noise he’d never heard before.
“I go outside and look up, and there are five helicopters circling CityCenter to film, for the evening news, the largest construction bankruptcy in the United States because the rumor was out we were going to shut it down on Friday,” he said.
By a hair, the banks opted that day to keep paying the construction bills. Most of CityCenter is now open, anchored by the Aria casino resort, though it will probably never reach Murren’s initial projections. Hundreds of the condo units never sold for anywhere near as much as MGM had envisioned. And one of the buildings, the $400 million Harmon hotel, was so poorly built that it was never occupied and was demolished last year.
MGM’s stock may never again reach the highs it did before the bust, but it has ridden the Vegas revival to over $30 a share. After the company’s earnings came out last month, Barron’s wrote that “the stock could climb 20 percent or so over the next 12 months” building on a 30 percent jump during the previous year.
In trouble with Trump?
Murren is a Republican who runs his company according to some very Democratic-sounding ideals, among them a focus on environmental design and an unwavering commitment to diversity.
For the National Harbor project, MGM received recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council, and 80 percent of its hires are minorities. The company is often ranked among the best places to work for minorities, and last year, MGM, now a $17.5 billion company, donated $1 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“These jobs in many cases are the first jobs legal immigrants have when they come to the United States — or a second or third chance for people,” he said. “They progress rapidly. They provide great benefits. It’s a pathway to the middle class.”
In a speech at the National Press Club the week before the National Harbor casino’s opening, Murren spent more time discussing African American artists and the work he will display at the National Harbor casino than anything else about the place.
Although he voted for Republicans Ronald Reagan and John McCain for president, there was no way Murren could back Trump, particularly as the GOP nominee railed against not only immigration but also free trade, a foundation of Murren’s expansion into China.
There, MGM Resorts owns a controlling interest in MGM China, which has opened one casino in Macau and has another in the works in Cotai, which is part of the Macau autonomous region.
crackdown on gambling by the Chinese government, however, has jolted casinos there, driving down gambling revenue from two years ago. Murren acknowledged that the industry was “mightily struggling.”
“Long term, I feel very good about Macau, but it’s been a period of indigestion,” he said.
As for the state of his relationship with the president-elect, Murren said he has met Trump, who co-owns a Las Vegas hotel, but doesn’t know him well. He said he is ready to work with Trump, who also tried his hand at the casino business — and produced a string of bankruptcy filings — in Atlantic City.
“It never occurred to me there would be any vindictiveness around anyone supporting Secretary Clinton over an election that [Trump] won,” Murren said, referring to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state.
In any case, he doesn’t seem worried. Asked at the National Press Club whether he knows when to hold them and when to fold them, Murren said: “You don’t want to sit across the table from me.”