Pagcor Denies Any Impact Of Okada Probe On Local Operations

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) chairwoman Andrea Domingo has stated that the Okada Manila casino will not be affected by the ongoing investigation against the property’s erstwhile owner Kazuo Okada.

Domingo called it an internal matter and stated that operations at the Okada Manila casino will continue as usual.

Japan-based Universal Entertainment Corp. is the parent company of Okada Manila which issued a statement last week confirming that it had removed Okada as its chairman over allegations of carrying out irregular financial transactions. The company has launched an internal investigation to probe these allegations.

Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc which runs operations at Okada Manila announced on June 16 that Okada had been removed as chairman. Tiger Resort further announced that Justice Manuel Lazaro would take over as board chairman while Kenji Sugiyama would step in as president.

Domingo told a local media outlet that the removal of Okada from his leadership powers did not affect the functioning of the casino in the country. She pointed out that Okada and another Universal director owned just 1 percent of Tiger Leisure while the rest was owned by other investors.

Okada Manila had also confirmed the same when the company issued a formal statement saying that daily operations were not affected in any way by the probe into Okada’s dealings. Universal Entertainment has since reconstituted the board with new directors excluding Okada.

While gaming regulator Pagcor has refrained from taking any direct action against Okada, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has confirmed that it is launching an investigation into transactions conducted by Okada. Diane Presson, supervisor at the state regulator’s investigations division said that it was currently reviewing two notices received from Universal Entertainment with regards to financial wrongdoing by Okada and would be launching an investigation into the allegations.

Presson stated that the investigations would cover Okada and several of his affiliated companies holding gaming licenses in Nevada. Some of these companies include Aruze USA Inc, Universal Entertainment and Aruze Gaming America Inc. Although Okada was ousted from Universal Entertainment, he continues to be in control of several other businesses, including Aruze Gaming America Inc where he has a 100 percent stake. The company manufacturers slot machines and is licensed across several U.S. states.

The allegations made by Universal involve what it calls an improper transfer of a loan worth HKD135-million (US$17.3-million) by Okada from the group’s Hong Kong subsidiary Tiger Resort Asia Ltd in March 2015. According to Universal much of the loan amount was used for Okada’s personal benefit.