US$12 billion court case between Las Vegas Sands and former Macau partner underway

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The Venetian Macao

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A long-running court battle between Las Vegas Sands and its original Macau partner, Asian American Entertainment Corporation (AAEC), got underway in Macau on Wednesday in a case that could cost the global gaming giant upwards of US$12 billion.

AAEC, headed by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao, is seeking around MOP$96.5 billion (US$12.1 billion) as compensation for alleged breach of contract after LVS exited their joint bid for a Macau casino license in 2002 and linked with Galaxy Entertainment Group instead. The LVS-Galaxy bid ultimately proved successful but never came to fruition, their high-profile split leaving Galaxy with the gaming concession and LVS with Macaus first sub-concession.

AAEC first launched legal action against Las Vegas Sands Inc, Venetian Casino Resorts LLC, and Venetian Venture Development LLC in Nevada in 2007 but the case was dismissed in 2010 on the plaintiffs failure to prosecute the case and to retain counsel.

The company subsequently filed a suit with the Tribunal Judicial de Base in January 2019 against Venetian Macau Ltd, Las Vegas Sands Nevada, Las Vegas Sands LLC and Venetian Casino seeking MOP$3 billion (US$375 million) in damages, before dramatically increasing the claim to MOP$96.5 billion six months later. AAEC said at the time that its revised figure covered lost profits for the period from 2004 to 2018 while reserving its right to also claim for profits through to the expiration of the LVS concession in 2022.

A report byReuterslast week said the claim amounted to around 70% of LVS profits achieved through its Macau concession in that time.

Reutersalso quoted Hao as saying, Asian American has been winning all major legal battles in the Macau lawsuit since we filed it in 2012 we are confident.

LVS said in 2019 that it has consistently maintained that this case has no merit. We have confidence that ultimately the Macao judicial process will reach the same conclusion.