Government now acting as operator
San Marco Capital Partners has announced that it is acting on behalf of the Laotian government to receive bids on the Savan Vegas Hotel and Entertainment Complex in Savannakhet Province, on the border with Thailand.
The complex “includes a full-service casino, a hotel and numerous entertainment and leisure offerings,” according to a statement from San Marco Capital published in the Asia Gaming Brief.
The integrated resort, which opened in 2009, includes a 5-star hotel with almost 500 rooms, and a casino with 35 VIP table games, 54 mass tables and 500 slot machines. The complex also offers a number of F&B options.
According to AGB, the property was seized by the government after “an acrimonious dispute” with Macau-based Sanum Investments over $23 million in allegedly unpaid taxes. The conflict led to a government seizure of the property; Laotian officials also installed their own management team under the banner Savan Vegas Laos Ltd.
The winning bidder will receive a 50-year concession to operate the complex, as well as the exclusive right to operate full-service casinos with gaming tables in Savannakhet, Khammouane and Bolikhamsay Lao provinces during the term, reported CalvinAyre.com. The website added that Sanum Investments previously forfeited a slots hall near the Laotian capital of Vientiane “under similar circumstances.”
In summer 2015, Marianas Variety reported that the Laotian government had launched a criminal investigation of Sanum’s Saipan-based parent company Bridge Capital, alleging that Bridge co-owner John Baldwin made $300,000 worth of bribes to Laotian officials in order to keep auditors away from the gaming hall.
At the time, Bridge Capital called the Laotian government “a communist regime that ranks among the most corrupt in the whole world and one of the lowest in enforcement of the rule of law, individual rights, and the protection of investors.”