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					                                                                       BUSINESS   B4 Wednesday OctOber 14, 2009        tOday




Macau gambling restrictions a good idea, says Wynn
MACAU — Billionaire Stephen Wynn said                  Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands fell       of gaming tables,” said Mr Steven Leung,     gambling tables, according to a statement
yesterday that Macau’s plans to ban slot          in New York trading yesterday on concerns        Hong Kong-based director of institutional    posted on the government website, citing
machines from residential areas and raise         that the new limits may hurt earnings just       sales at brokerage UOB-Kay Hian. “People     Mr Francis Tam, Secretary for Economics and
the casino age limit will improve the city’s      as casino revenues are recovering in Macau,      are worried about unlimited growth.”         Finance. The city is also drafting two laws,
gambling industry and will not hurt earnings      the world’s biggest gambling hub.                    Macau may be seeking to prevent a        one to ban slot machines from residential
at his Wynn Macau.                                     Visitor arrivals and casino earnings rose   repeat of the surge in gambling-table num-   areas and the other to raise the age for cus-
     Age limits will have “absolutely no ef-      in August amid an economic rebound in            bers that followed the end of billionaire    tomers and staff to 21.
fect on us”, said Mr Wynn, chief executive        China, which accounts for more than half         Stanley Ho’s monopoly, Mr Leung said.             The statement also said that Macau’s
officer of Wynn Macau, the city’s fourth-         of Macau’s tourists.                                 “We don’t have slots in residential      six casino operators “recognised that the
largest casino operator. The restrictions              “In the long run, these changes will be     neighbourhoods,” Mr Wynn said.               gambling industry should not expand in-
are “a good idea”.                                positive, as there won’t be too much supply          Macau is reviewing the number of         finitely”. bLOOMberG


Us taX eVaders


Final deadline:
Tomorrow
those with offshore                  evaders some leniency. Penal-

bank accounts will                   ties will be reduced for people
                                     who come forward by tomor-
have to come clean                   row. They will be assessed fines
                                     equal to 5 to 20 per cent of their
NEW YORK — Many Americans            tax bills, rather than the usual
dread April 15, the deadline for     50 per cent. They also will pay
filing their income tax returns.     the penalty once, based on the
But some well-heeled people          highest balance in their off-
are trembling over another           shore accounts over the last
looming tax day: Oct 15.             six years, rather than for each
     Tomorrow is the deadline        of those six years.
for Americans to come clean               At least 4,000 clients of
about the money they have hid-       UBS and other private banks
den offshore, such as in Swiss       have come forward in recent
bank accounts. No one can say        months, said a government of-
with certainty how much money        ficial who had been briefed on
is out there — the accounts are      the matter.
secret — but the hoard may be             But scores of other UBS cli-
tens of billions of dollars.         ents hope the IRS will not catch
     Several thousand wealthy        them, tax lawyers say. The bank
people have come forward,            divulged the names of 4,450
hoping to avoid large fines or       wealthy American clients to fed-
possibly even prison. But many       eral authorities but some clients
others are still weighing their      bet their names were not on
options. The choice is stark:        the list. It is a big gamble. Once
They can confess and pay the         the deadline passes, tax cheats
penalties or gamble that they        will face stiffer penalties and, if
will not get caught.                 caught, will have a far greater
     Tax lawyers say they are        chance of being prosecuted.
being inundated by anxious cli-           Prosecutors are already
ents. “We’re seeing a flood of       building criminal cases against
people,” said Mr Scott D Michel,     150 bank clients. UBS turned over
a tax lawyer in Washington. His      the names of many of those peo-
firm, Caplin & Drysdale, has 350     ple in February, when the bank
clients who are preparing to re-     admitted to having defrauded
port their offshore accounts to      the federal government and
the Internal Revenue Service.        agreed to pay US$780 million
The firm has 14 lawyers han-         ($1 billion) to settle the matter.
dling their cases, one of which      Six wealthy American clients of
involves a tax bill of hundreds      UBS have pleaded guilty to tax
of millions of dollars.              evasion in recent months.
     The deadline is part of a            The IRS disclosure pro-
crackdown on Americans who           gramme is also creating head-
use offshore accounts to evade       aches in the hush-hush world
federal taxes. As part of the ef-    of private banking. It requires
fort, the United States authori-     people to disclose the names,
ties have challenged the long        addresses and telephone num-
tradition of banking secrecy in      bers of bankers, lawyers, ac-
Switzerland and, in particular, at   countants, tax advisers and
UBS, that nation’s largest bank.     trust officials who helped them
     The IRS is offering tax         evade taxes. bLOOMberG

				
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