Originally initiated in 2007 in Nevada and later on dismissed in 2010 on grounds of the plaintiff failing to prosecute the case, the long legal battle between American gaming company Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) and former Macau partner Asian American Entertainment Corp Ltd (AAEC) has finally reached a conclusion. According to the Macau Court of First Instance’s ruling, AAEC was in the wrong and LVS can breathe freely, at least temporarily.
Macau’s Court Decision Was Unanimous
Issued on April 28, the court’s unanimous ruling dismissed AAEC’s claims for a huge compensation worth billions. LVS was supposed to pay a minimum of MOP60 billion ($7.5 billion) up to MOP$96.5 billion ($12.1 billion) for its three affiliates that allegedly breached their partnership agreement approximately two decades ago. The alleged contract breach occurred during a bid for a gaming license in Macau in 2022.
At the time of the bid, LVS decided to exit its joint bid with its Macau affiliate and instead partner with Galaxy Entertainment Group. The latter is one of the most successful casino operators and developers on the Asian continent known for its integrated resorts and entertainment venues. While the new bid issued by LVS together with Galaxy Entertainment came out with flying colors, it was never put into practice. Ultimately, the split between the two parties left LVS with the pioneer sub-concession in the country, while Galaxy Entertainment held on to the gaming concession.
As per the court ruling, presiding Judge Seng Ioi Man could not find any proof that would indicate the partnership between LVS and AAEC could have won a gaming concession twenty years ago provided LVS would not have exited the agreement. Managed by Marshall Hao, a Taiwanese businessman, AAEC was also scolded by the court for acting in bad faith. Lawyer Jorge Menezes officially represented AAEC in court, while Luis Cavaleiro de Ferreira stood up for LVS and its affiliates LVS International Holding Inc in Nevada, Las Vegas Sands, and Venetian Casino Resort. Official documents from the court are expected to be published in the upcoming days.
AAEC’s Claims Increased Drastically Over the Years
While bringing in an important win for LVS, the Court of First Instance’s ruling is only a partial conclusion in the lengthy court battle between the two former partners. After gradually and dramatically increasing its demands over the years from MOP$3 billion ($375 million) in a new 2019 suit filed with the Tribunal Judicial de Base to MOP$96.5 billion ($12.1 billion) just half a year later, AAEC is expected to continue to seek its justice. Lawyer Jorge Menezes has already talked about an upcoming appeal. Las Vegas Sands Corp generated $627 million in revenue, while its Mall revenue reached $149 million during the first quarter of 2022. In mid-March, the company confirmed its plans to build a new integrated resort in another country in Asia.