Marina Bay Sands catches cheats, chases deadbeats, ignores ferris wheel

TAGs: Las Vegas Sands, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

marina-bay-sands-singaporeSingapore’s Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino has pressed charges against a trio of casino cheats. Details are scarce, but two men and one woman were charged on Thursday with a single count each of dishonestly misappropriating property. The New Paper reported that Shaikh Farid, a 39-year-old Indian national, colluded with his 31-year-old wife Shaikh Shabana Bi and 35-year-old Chinese businesswoman Ho Man Yuk to make off with S$875k (US $700k) from the Las Vegas Sands-owned casino between April 14 and April 19. The trio has a pre-trial conference scheduled for Sept. 16.

Meanwhile, MBS has sued one of its high-rollers for not honoring his casino markers. Earlier this month, MBS filed suit in Singapore High Court, accusing Chen Jilong of refusing to pay the S$1.9m gambling debt the premium player ran up way back in November 2011. Bloomberg reported that Jilong, brother of metals trader Chen Jihong, has neither filed his defense nor hired an attorney. Both brothers are directors of Zhong Jun Resources, a Singapore metal trading firm that stands accused of using the same commodities as collateral for loans from the likes of HSBC. Chinese banks are reportedly exposed to the tune of RMB 20b ($3.3b) so Sands’ debt collectors may have to get in line.

Since its 2010 opening, MBS has become one of the most successful casinos in gambling history. Sadly, that success never rubbed off on the Singapore Flyer, the 165-meter-tall observation wheel that sits on an adjacent 33.7k-square-meter plot of the Marina Bay district. Launched in 2008 at a cost of $240m, the Flyer never really caught on with tourists and was put into receivership in May 2013.

The Flyer was sold for $112m this week to Straco Leisure, a subsidiary of Chinese tourism firm Straco Corporation, which hasn’t outlined its plans for the Flyer and/or the land on which it stands. The Flyer is the world’s second-highest observation wheel, as Caesars Entertainments High Roller in Las Vegas stands 2.7m taller. Given that the High Roller was already offering discounts to boost ridership within months of its March opening, one can’t help but wonder if the High Roller will still be turning in six years time.


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