UPDATE 2-Genting Singapore unit fined, faces police probe

Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:33am EDT

* Broke rules against reimbursing casino entry fees

* Regulator flags up possible forgery of documents

* Staff face possible criminal investigation

* Regulator chides casino for second breach of rules

By Kevin Lim

SINGAPORE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Staff at a casino run by Genting Singapore could face criminal charges after the city state's regulator fined the company for breaching anti-gaming safeguards.

Genting acknowledged it broke gambling rules early last year by partially reimbursing a S$2,000 entry fee paid by around 3,400 local people, using incentives such as concert tickets and hotel accommodation.

The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) fined the Genting unit - Resorts World Sentosa Pte Ltd (RWS) - S$600,000 ($488,100) after an investigation during which it said it might have been given forged documents and misleading information by staff.

"CRA has therefore referred these cases to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) for investigation into possible criminal offences," the regulator said.

"Casino operators are prohibited from refunding or reimbursing the entry levy, whether directly or indirectly," CRA said.

Genting said it had introduced measures to ensure compliance with the rules.

"The company is fully committed to uphold Singapore's social safeguards to protect locals from problem gambling, both in policy and the execution," the Singapore unit of Malaysia's Genting Bhd said in a statement.

HIGHLY PROFITABLE

Singapore allowed two multibillion-dollar casino-resorts to open in 2010 as part of measures to boost tourism. Gaming revenues in the city state hit $5.7 billion last year -- roughly on par with the Las Vegas Strip.

U.S. casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp operates Singapore's other casino-resort.

"There could be a little bit of knee-jerk reaction for the share price tomorrow," said a Singapore analyst who declined to be named.

Genting Singapore rose 0.7 percent on Wednesday but its shares have fallen around 8 percent so far this year versus the 14 percent gain in the benchmark Straits Times Index.

CRA chief executive Lau Peet Meng said the case was "RWS's second breach with regard to the reimbursement of entry levy".

"While we note that RWS has put in place measures to strengthen its compliance processes as a result of this breach, CRA is sending a clear signal to the operator that they should comply fully with the social safeguards put in place to protect locals," he added.