Malaysia

Regulator slaps Resorts World Sentosa with highest single fine to date

SINGAPORE, Sept 12 — Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has been fined S$600,000 (RM1.5 million), the highest single financial penalty imposed to date by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), for partially reimbursing local casino patrons their annual entry levy.

The CRA said in a statement today it received information from members of the public that they had received complimentary Universal Studios Singapore (USS) tickets when they renewed their annual entry levies.

Investigations showed that between February 1 and May 31 last year, RWS staff members conducted a marketing programme offerings locals incentives, such as USS tickets, concert tickets and hotel accommodation when they bought or renewed the annual entry levies. About 3,400 locals were partially reimbursed.

Today first reported the CRA’s probe against RWS over illegal reimbursements in July. A RWS spokesperson then said the integrated resort “do(es) not comment on personnel matters in the media as a matter of policy”.

Under the Casino Control Act, casino operators are prohibited from refunding or reimbursing the entry levy, whether directly or indirectly. Local casino patrons are required to either pay an annual entry levy of S$2,000 or a daily entry levy of S$100.

This is RWS’s second breach with regards to the reimbursement of entry levy. In May last year, RWS was fined S$200,000 for such illegal reimbursements. The maximum financial penalty is S$1 million.

For breaching the Casino Control Act, the CRA could also cancel or suspend the casino license, vary the terms of the license or issue a letter of censure.

“Although the marketing programme was implemented by a handful of RWS’ staff members, CRA holds RWS responsible for its employees’ actions,” said the CRA.

The authority also took into consideration that RWS failed to submit details of this marketing programme to the CRA, contravening its reporting requirements.

It is now investigating the culpability of the employees involved.

During the investigation, the CRA also found out that certain documents submitted by RWS staff to the CRA could have been forged and referred the cases to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

In a separate statement, the CAD said it will be charging three employees from RWS’ Gaming Services Department — Lee Poh Yee, Lim Tze Chean and Sim Bee Ling — in court tomorrow.

Lee, the department’s senior vice president, will be charged with providing false information to CRA inspectors.

Lim, the department’s vice president of VIP Services, will be charged for providing false information to CRA inspectors and forgery.

Sim, the department’s asistant manager of VIP Services, will be charged for abetment of forgery.

“While we note that RWS has put in place measures to strengthen its compliance processes as a result of this breach, CRA is sending a clear signal to the operator that they should comply fully with the social safeguards put in place to protect locals. Compliance to our laws and regulations must be strictly adhered to at all times,” said the CRA’s Chief Executive Lau Peet Meng.

Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry Mr S Iswaran said the fine “reflects the tough stance CRA takes in maintaining the integrity of our casino gaming industry and associated social safeguards”.

“CRA will continue to closely monitor and assess the casino operators’ compliance with our legal and regulatory requirements, and take appropriate disciplinary actions for breaches,” he said. — Today

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