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March 17, 10

NEWS / Casino Control Commission Approves Settlement Under Which MGM Mirage will Divest Interest in Borgata


TRENTON – The New Jersey Casino Control Commission today approved a stipulation of settlement between the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and MGM MIRAGE under which the company will surrender its qualification for a casino license in New Jersey and place its 50 percent interest in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City into a divestiture trust, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Division Director Josh Lichtblau announced.

The settlement relates to the May 2009 report of the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to the Casino Control Commission regarding MGM MIRAGE’s joint venture with Hong Kong businesswoman Pansy Ho to develop, own and operate the MGM Grand Macau hotel casino in Macau, China.

In its report to the Casino Control Commission, the DGE recommended, among other things, that MGM MIRAGE’s joint venture partner in Macau be found unsuitable and that the company be directed to disengage itself from any business association with her. Rather than contest the report before the Casino Control Commission, MGM MIRAGE decided under the settlement to divest its one-half interest in the Borgata. In doing so, the company did not admit liability and retained the right to receive all proceeds of the sale of its interest in the Borgata.

DGE investigated all aspects of MGM MIRAGE’S joint venture with Pansy Ho to determine whether its actions and business association with her were consistent with the “good character, honesty and integrity” and the compliance obligations required by the Casino Control Act.

“The integrity of casino operators and owners has always been of paramount concern to the Division of Gaming Enforcement, and that concern extends to a licensee’s associates,” said Director Josh Lichtblau. “In order to maintain the public’s confidence in safe and fair gaming, we need to ensure the integrity of those who control the casinos. Public confidence, in turn, is critical to the overall economic prospects and health of gaming in New Jersey.”

DGE’s investigation included 35 sworn interviews of 17 people, including Pansy Ho and her sister, Daisy Ho, and numerous other investigative interviews.

Attorneys and investigators made several trips to Hong Kong and Macau, and traveled to many other locations inside and outside of the United States, seeking information relevant to this investigation. In addition, DGE staff analyzed thousands of pages of documents, including emails and correspondence, and contacted numerous domestic and international law enforcement and regulatory authorities.

The lead attorney for DGE was Assistant Attorney General George Rover, who coordinated and supervised the investigation. Assistance was provided by Deputy Attorney General Louis Rogacki and Assistant Attorney General Anthony Zarrillo. The lead investigator was Supervising Investigator Mark Sivetz, who was assisted by Investigators Marianne Liwacz, Bud Humphreville and Joseph Kisko.

Attorney General Dow also thanked Special Agent Arthur Durrant III of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Supervisory Agent Thomas Ma of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for their assistance.

MGM MIRAGE has a 50 percent ownership interest in Marina District Development Corporation, which owns the Borgata and is the entity licensed by the Casino Control Commission. MGM MIRAGE’s joint partner in the Borgata, Boyd Gaming Corporation, owns the other half of Marina District Development Corporation and is the operating partner of the Borgata.

MGM MIRAGE will turn over its 50 percent interest in the Borgata to a trustee under a Trust Agreement which was also approved today by the Casino Control Commission. James R. Zazzali, former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, was appointed as the trustee.

MGM MIRAGE is required to sell its interest in the Borgata within 30 months. For the first 18 months, MGM MIRAGE will participate in the sale process. If no sale has been completed in 18 months, the trustee will have sole authority to direct the sale process for the remaining 12 months. MGM MIRAGE will be the sole economic beneficiary of the divestiture trust.

Boyd Gaming will retain its one-half interest in the Borgata, and the divestiture by MGM MIRAGE will not affect the operation of the Borgata. Boyd Gaming was not a subject of the DGE investigation and report.

Pursuant to the settlement, MGM MIRAGE will pay for all regulatory costs of the trustee, DGE and Casino Control Commission associated with the implementation of the settlement and the divestiture of its one-half interest.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases10/pr20100317c.html

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