The Madeleine Brand Show for February 21, 2012

Casino mogul Steve Wynn's latest battle

MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

The Wynn casino in Macau, China. The former Portuguese enclave has been Asia's chief gambling haven for more than a century.

International intrigue, billions of dollars and a former director of the FBI may sound like the makings of a plot line for a James Bond film, but they're all elements of casino owner Steve Wynn's attempt to buy out his former partner.

On Sunday morning, an email informed Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada that Wynn was severing ties with him and that Wynn Resorts Ltd. was forcibly buying out his stake in the company at a 30 percent discount.

The Wynn company hired Louis Freeh, former FBI director, to investigate charges that Okada gave perks to gambling regulators from the Philippines, where he's opening a casino.

Bubbling under all of this is the fact that Asian revenues now account for about 70 percent of the Wynn company's revenues. And other American gaming firms are running up against U.S. regulations as they try to expand into the Far East.

Guest:

Kate O'Keeffe, reporter from Hong Kong on the Asian gambling industry for The Wall Street Journal.


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