Stiff competition for Maryland’s last available gambling licence

Stiff competition for Maryland’s last available gambling licenceAfter almost five months of investigations into their backgrounds by Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, the three casino companies contending for the state’s sixth and last casino licence have been approved to continue with their bids for the licence. However for two of the companies involved there are conditions attached to the permission from the Maryland regulatory authorities to continue.
The Gaming Control commission looked into the financial situation and ethical background of the three casino operators and had some reservations in these areas for two out of the three.The well known MGM Resorts came in for criticism regarding its links with casino operators in Asia who are alleged to have links with organised crime in that region. The second company that caused the commission to have reservations is Greenwood Racing since it is claimed that the company’s Chairman carried out business in the past with a person convicted of financial crimes. The third group which wishes to apply for the casino licence, Prince George’s Racing Ventures, had no problems passing to the next stage of the procedure.MGM Resorts is based in Las Vegas where the group operates such well known casinos as the Bellagio, The Mirage, the Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand. It also has casino resorts in Asia, the MGM Macau since 2007 and the company has plans to open a second casino in Macau on the Cotai Strip. (See article: MGM gets Go Ahead to Build Casino in Macau). The questions raised by Maryland’s regulators relate to the dealings between MGM and Pansy Ho whose father Stanley Ho is alleged to have links to organised crime. Another area for concern was MGM Resorts’ financial situation but after investigation it was decided that the financial situation would not block the ability to apply for the Maryland casino licence.

The second operator to be given the go ahead after the commission’s investigations was Greenwood Racing. The main cause for concern was Greenwood Racing’s chairman Robert Green’s previous business contacts with Robert Brennan who was imprisoned on federal charges of fraud and money laundering. One condition of applying for the Maryland casino licence is that Green does not have anymore business contact with Brennan. It now remains to be seen which of the three operators will be granted the licence after the next step in the application process.

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