Las Vegas Sands pays Nevada regulators $2m to drop license violation claim

las-vegas-sands-nevada-fineCasino operator Las Vegas Sands has agreed to pay Nevada regulators $2m to settle a complaint regarding its failure to abide by the terms of its gaming license.

Last month, Sands paid $9m to get the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to drop its probe into Sands’ funneling of millions of dollars to a Chinese consultant for extremely murky purposes. On Wednesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) filed its own complaint against Sands over questionable transactions.

The NGCB issued a statement saying Sands was facing two counts of violating the terms of its Nevada gaming license. In addition to the Chinese consultant payments, the complaint also involves Sands’ 2013 non-prosecution deal with the US Department of Justice over Sands’ dealings with a casino high-roller who allegedly moonlighted as a methamphetamine supplier.

Despite having just filed its complaint on Wednesday, the NGCB said it had already reached a settlement under which Sands will pay a fine of $2m in exchange for neither admitting nor denying the NGCB’s allegations. The settlement needs to be confirmed by the Nevada Gaming Commission at its next meeting on May 19.

So, to sum up, Sands paid $47.4m to resolve the the DOJ complaint, $9m to make the SEC look the other way and now $2m to keep the NGCB off its back. Money may not buy happiness, but it sure buys peace of mind.

For the record, Sands doesn’t always get its way. The company has been desperately trying to remove Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez from presiding over the wrongful termination suit brought against Sands by former Sands China CEO Steve Jacobs (whose revelations provided the SEC with much of the info that sparked its investigation).

On Wednesday, the Nevada Supreme Court brushed aside Sands’ latest attempt to replace Gonzalez, which was based on Sands’ claim that Gonzalez was biased against the company. The Supremes found no cause to justify these claims, and upheld a lower court’s ruling in February that found similar flaws in Sands’ argument.

Jacobs’ attorneys have claimed the Gonzalez issue is a non-issue and is just more of Sands’ efforts to string out the proceedings until Jacobs either runs out of money or patience (or both). However, given that Gonzalez has publicly scolded Sands’ boss Sheldon Adelson using a tone no one in his inner circle has likely used in decades, this fight may be more than a little personal.