Australian gaming regulators are preparing to dive deep into the work and background of Lawrence Ho, the CEO and Chairman of Malco Resorts. The key figure in the global casino industry had a simple message for them – bring it on. Melco announced that it wanted to buy 20 percent state in Crown Resorts. This deal first has to get its approval through the official Australian regulatory channels.
However, voices in the country warned that the deal might go sour because of alleged ties of the Ho family with the Chinese organized crime. The criminal organization in question are the triad gangs based both in mainland China and Macau. Among the allegation, which is still has no individual voice in the Australian regulatory bodies, Ho has ties with 14k and Su Yee On triads. Similar to the anonymity of the accusations, the proof of these connections is yet to materialize.
Still, there is plenty of residual kinetic energy behind this regulatory push thanks to Ho’s father, Stanley. As the godfather of gambling in Macau, he held a monopoly on the same activity for over 40 years. He too was often connected to the organized crime, which was even further in the shadows before the Chinese liberalization of the late 20th century.
Nothing to Hide
Lawrence Ho said that he is completely ready and willing to accept the crudity of the Australian regulators. In fact, he and his company are happy to go through the process. Melco prefers to do business in regions where there is strong governance and a solid regulatory regimen. This is the reason why Ho’s company as so far steered clear of smaller countries in Asia.
Here, they could easily establish a presence, being that regional Macau is so close, but the company shuns from unstable environments. Interestingly, Ho is quick to spin the circumstance to his advantage. That is why he declared that Melco’s and his person openness to oversight is a good message to Japan’s regulators. Their approach to Australian demands shows Melco to be a global player not afraid of compliance reviews.
All of this just continues to cement the casino operator’s reputation for being the odd one out but in a positive manner. The same applies to the company’s willingness to move away from gambling-only services. Instead, many of their new facilities offer a mixed service that caters to entertainment and even family market. The same should be a big benefit in the race for Japan’s ICR license.
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