MGM Resorts Japan has described as “unfounded and unacceptable” accusations levelled by an anti-IR group that MGM acquired “illegally obtained proceeds” in relation to online gaming company LeoVegas, which was acquired by parent company MGM Resorts International in September 2022.
According to local media reports, the group “Society for Considering Gambling Addiction Problems” has requested the revocation of MGM’s Osaka IR certification and suspension of any development plans based on administrative review laws.
In particular it claims that Leo Vegas has unlawfully provided online gaming operations, including an online casino, targeting Japanese citizens and that MGM has profited from such illegal action.
“In the Osaka IR area development plan approved by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on 14 April 2023, the MGM Resorts International group, which is scheduled to be the operating body of the Japanese IR area, in September 2022 acquired LeoVegas, which operated an illegal online casino targeting Japanese players,” the group claims.
“Therefore, it is very likely that MGM has taken in the criminal proceeds illegally obtained by LeoVegas. If this is true … MGM is ineligible and will not be allowed to participate (in the IR plan).
“Therefore, the approval of the Osaka IR plan by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is premature, and the approval of the plan should be revoked until it is clearly confirmed that MGM has not taken in LeoVegas’ criminal proceeds.”
In response, MGM Resorts Japan has published a statement on its website which describes the accusations as “completely unacceptable because it is unfounded and may lead to misunderstanding.
“LeoVegas is a mobile gaming company that was once a publicly traded Swedish company until September 2022 when MGM acquired a majority stake in the company.
“Before completing its acquisition of LeoVegas, MGM asked LeoVegas to block access to its site from within Japan. Therefore, MGM evaluated the acquisition of LeoVegas based on the company’s business and operating conditions, excluding the Japanese market.”
MGM Resorts completed its US$603 million acquisition of LeoVegas in September, with MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle stating at the time, “The completion of this transaction represents a major milestone for MGM Resorts as we continue to pursue our strategy of growing our online gaming footprint worldwide.
“We look forward to welcoming the LeoVegas team and are excited to begin working with them to grow our global digital gaming business and maximise the full potential of our omnichannel strategy.”