Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Genting, Star Cruises not guaranteed casino licence

SINGAPORE: Genting International and Star Cruises are not guaranteed a casino licence in Singapore even if they sign a development agreement this week in the city-state, the government said Tuesday.

“The signing of the development agreement and the issuance of a casino licence are two separate matters,” a press release from Singapore's Casino Regulation Division said.

Star Cruises and Genting International, both part of the Genting group, are to sign today an agreement to develop a US$3.4bil casino and entertainment complex on Sentosa island.

The casino regulator said signing of the development agreement allowed the firms to proceed with construction, but “does not automatically qualify” them for a casino licence.

It said the Home Affairs Ministry had told Genting-Star that it would conduct suitability checks “to ensure that the consortium meets the suitability requirements before the casino licence is issued.”

The Singapore government had earlier sought clarification over a deal which would give Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho and a group of investors a 6.99% stake in Star Cruises. In return, Star and Genting International were to get stakes in a new boutique hotel and casino to be operated by Ho's Sociedad de Jogos de Macau.

A notice to the Singapore Exchange earlier this month said Star Cruises was “reviewing the structure in relation to its investment” in the Macau deal.

The pro-government Straits Times earlier reported that the deal with Ho had “raised a red flag” with Singapore authorities.

Source : STAR
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