Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Genting still a sure bet?

This piece of news is not expected to derail Genting's casino plan in Singapore. Genting International, which is part of the Malaysian Genting group, would not have proceeded to hold its ground-breaking ceremony for the integrated resort and casino project on Sentosa earlier this week if it wasn't sure of the regulatory requirements by now.

In fact, the Singapore government's clarification sounds more like a reminder that Genting must still comply with the probity checks even after the casino licence is issued further down the road. Please see earlier posting for context.

© 2007 The Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Singapore's Trade Ministry on Tuesday said reports that it had resolved its concerns about casino operator Genting International were inaccurate, saying the minister's comments were misunderstood by some media.

The Associated Press and other media reported Monday that Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang had said Singapore was no longer concerned about Genting's business integrity after company took measures to clear its links to a Macau tycoon.

"Resorts World at Sentosa understands our need to maintain these probity checks and there is no issue now," Lim said Monday at the groundbreaking ceremony for Genting's US$3.4 billion casino project casino resort.

But a ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday said Lim meant that Genting understood its responsibility with regard to the suitability checks, which are necessary before winning a casino license, not that the company had been cleared to operate the casino.

The government was apparently concerned over Genting's Macau business tie-up with casino baron Stanley Ho, one of the most powerful men in Hong Kong and Macau, a gambling enclave that has a reputation as an organized crime stronghold.

In response, Genting sold its share of the Macau investment to its partner, Star Cruises, and then bought Star Cruises' stake in the Singapore resort.