Malaysian police arrested a man and seized computers and cash after raiding his home on suspicions he was running a lucrative illegal international football betting operation.
According to a senior police official the 40-year-old suspect was arrested at his home in Kedah state while surfing the Internet for his full time online betting operation, which was generating up to MYR 1.2 million ($323,700) per day.
Genting Malaysia’s net profit dropped 22.6 percent in the fourth quarter last year to RM309.8 million ($85 million), after the company wrote off RM55.5 million due to the unsuccessful application of licenses in New York and higher pre-operating expenses.
The group’s profit before taxation fell 16 percent to RM368.4 million in the fourth quarter mainly due to failed license applications in New York; higher assets written off by RM27.3 million due to the expansion works for Genting Integrated Tourism Plan; and higher pre-operating expenses of RM9.5 million.
Paul Phua, the gambling kingpin on trial in the US, has given up his Malaysian citizenship to become a national of Montenegro.
Montenegrin media reported that Phua was recommended for citizenship by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic after doing business with the country’s elite.
Citizenship was given “in the period from October 2013 to October 2014, at the personal suggestion of Montenegrin Prime Minister,” reported the Centre for Investigative Reporting Montenegro.
Genting’s ambitious overseas expansion plans are facing headwinds, hitting a snag in the U.S. and delays elsewhere, but analysts remain optimistic over the mid-term prospects for Malaysia’s only operator thanks to a US$1.4 billion plan to revamp its operations at home
According to local Malaysian media citing police documents, gambling kingpin Paul Phua Wei-seng was arrested in Malaysia in 2004 and convicted for his involvement in an illegal betting scheme during the European Championship soccer tournament. Phua was slapped with a hefty fine and reportedly fled to Vietnam to escape people who lost money.
Malaysia’s Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has reportedly vouched for a Malaysian who is facing illegal bookmaking charges in Las Vegas, the South China Morning Post reported.
The minister reportedly sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in support of Paul Phua Wei Seng, who was arrested in Las Vegas in July.
"Phua is neither a member nor is he associated with the 14K Triad in Malaysia," Zahid said in the letter addressed to FBI deputy director Mark F. Giuliano.
Genting Malaysia’s proposals to expand its retail and dining offerings sevenfold at its Resorts World Malaysia property should help drive visitation and ultimately casino revenue, CIMB Equities Research said in a note.
“In 2015, we expect more positive news flow on Genting Integrated Tourism Plan developments to drive Genting Malaysia’s re-rating,” it said.
Genting Malaysia’s blue print of its Sky Avenue and Sky Plaza includes a 400,000 sq. ft open-sky concept offering retail and dining, scheduled for launch in 2015.
CIMB Equities Research has cut its rating on Genting Bhd after weak Q3 results at its main operating units -- Genting Singapore, Genting Malaysia and Genting Plantations.
“We downgrade our rating from Add to Hold” as continued operational headwinds faced by GENS and concerns about the competitive landscape at the Las Vegas strip will continue to weigh on investor sentiment.”
The firm also cut its share price target to RM9.90 ($2.95) based on a 20 percent holding company discount to net asset value.
Playtech’s shares dropped by around 8.5 percent to 635.5p after the Malaysian government blocked around 170 online gambling sites. The blocking of the sites is said to be just a temporary move on the Malaysian government’s part since online gambling is not regulated by Malaysian law. New legislation is being considered, with hopes that online gambling will be approved.