JTBC programs Newsroom and Spotlight revealed additional details on Yang Hyun Suk‘s gambling scandal in Las Vegas.
First, Newsroom reported on a specific instance of Yang Hyun Suk’s gambling. In January 2018, Yang Hyun Suk arrived at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. His game of choice was baccarat, in the VIP room. He would start gambling late in the afternoon, and gamble for several days.
According to the data sent to Korean authorities by the Nevada Casino Association, Yang Hyun Suk spent up to 17 hours per day gambling. One game of baccarat takes approximately 1 minute from start to finish, which means in 17 hours, he played roughly 1020 games. Yang Hyun Suk wagered an average of ₩4 million KRW ($3,306 USD) per game, which means over the span of his gambling, he wagered a total of around ₩4.08 billion KRW ($3,373,119 USD).
Yang Hyun Suk reportedly deposited ₩1.5 billion KRW in cash into his account at MGM Grand between January 2014-2019, and could change his cash into chips often. He withdrew chips from his account a total of 11 times, including ₩60 million KRW worth in February 2014 and ₩70 million KRW worth in October 2017. When he had difficulties in exchanging cash for chips, he would borrow between ₩100-200 million KRW on credit and use that instead.
Yang Hyun Suk would habitually gamble in Las Vegas. He has visited MGM Grand a total of 11 times in the past 5 years.
He deposited about ₩1.5 billion KRW into his accounts, gambled with about ₩1 billion of that, and lost around ₩600 million.
— Informant A
It was also confirmed that MGM Grand treated Yang Hyun Suk as a VIP.
If you take 4 or 5 people for a spa and acupuncture treatment that is 2 or 3 hours long, that will usually cost about ₩2 million KRW. But for Yang Hyun Suk, that’s okay. It’s free.
— Informant A
This is part of the “comp” service that casinos provide, often giving customers about 20% of the value they gamble in free services. Yang Hyun Suk and the people who travel with him to MGM Grand received roughly ₩400 million KRW worth in free services in just one visit in 2017. In fact, Spotlight believes there is reasonable suspicion that Yang Hyun Suk bet on a grand scale a total of ₩18 billion KRW worth during his time gambling in MGM Grand. A former YG Entertainment employee also commented on the amount of free services they would get.
Whenever YG Entertainment artists would go to the United States to perform, they always stayed at an MGM Hotel and received special service. If we were able to go with Yang Hyun Suk, everything would be free, even if there were a lot of us with him. If we told the staff our room number, even the high end Japanese restaurants would be free.
— Former YG Entertainment employee
Finally, Spotlight also highlighted the several ways Yang Hyun Suk is allegedly hiding the amount of money he makes, falsely reporting it as lower than it should be. First, they revealed that YG USA, which is currently inactive, has a subsidiary label that is actually larger than YG USA itself. The subsidiary returned a profit of ₩2.2 billion KRW, and an accountant believes this is a typical paper company.
Also, they raised suspicions of Yang Hyun Suk receiving “black money”, or money that is not reported on taxes. According to Spotlight, Yang Hyun Suk was the owner of several clubs in Gangnam and Hongdae, but received all of the profits in cash, not through the bank. During the 20 years that the clubs were operating, Yang Hyun Suk was never registered as the owner, and this is so he can pay less tax.
First, he pays less in taxes, and he receives cash which is impossible to track. It’s money that can be used in the political and business world. Honestly, it’s difficult work to get lots of cash on hand normally.
Police plan to summon Yang Hyun Suk next week to question him about his gambling and other charges.