Gov. Martin O’Malley alleged ties to organized crime

Will MGM’s alleged mob ties scuttle Maryland casino deal?

 JULY 24, 2012 9:46 AM

Gov. Martin O’Malley has spent the summer working behind the scenes on a deal toexpand gambling in Maryland. His goal is to clear the way for MGM Resorts to partner with a local developer to builda large casino in Prince George’s County. One issue that has not been addressed: MGM is partners with a family in China that has alleged ties to organized crime? Those ties were enough for New Jersey gambling regulators to balk at MGM’s co-ownership of a casino in Macau with Pansey Ho, the daughter of China casino magnate Stanley Ho who has been linked to organized crime in China. An investigation by New Jersey gambling regulators did not accuse Pansey Ho of illegal activity but found her “unsuitable” as a business partner because of her financial dependence on her father, who provided 90 percent of the funds she contributed to the MGM casino in Macau. The scrutiny prompted MGM to sell its stake in an Atlantic City casino, choosing instead to keep doing business with Ho in more lucrative Macau. The question raisedby The Washington Post is whether Maryland gambling authorities would have the same concerns as New Jersey regulators. Some think it won’t be an issue, pointing to Las Vegas where MGM owns casinos. Elected officials all talk about making sure that casinos avoid doing business with organized crime. But in Maryland, where casinos are just getting off the ground, the governor is working overtime to change the state laws to pave the way for a casino company with alleged ties to organized crime. That says all you need to know about how lawmakers look the other way when it comes to doing business with casinos.

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