Aussie Casino Takes High-Roller to Court Over $44m Debt

A S’porean gambler managed to rack up a $44m gambling debt on a high-roller baccarat gambling session in Australia in 2018. Based on the law in his home country he is not legally obligated to pay the money back, but after the casino filed fresh claims against the man through the Australian courts, he is due to be summoned and forced to explain why he should not pay the money back to the casino.

Justice spelled with tiles.

Justice is the word and the center of this dispute. On the one side is a casino who feels one of their customers has effectively stolen $44m in gambling revenue from their accounts, whereas the S’porean defendant argues the credit was not explicitly loaned to him and he should not have to repay. The case continues. ©CQF-avocat/Pixabay

Every so often there comes around stories from the gambling business that truly boggle your mind. Either because of the eye-watering sums of money involved or just the bizarre nature of the circumstances in question. This case is certainly one that incorporates a bit of both. We’re honestly struggling to wrap our heads around how one individual is able to lose that much money, on credit, and get away without paying back a single cent.

The casino in question is The Star Gold Coast Casino based in Brisbane, and a gambler is a man named Dr. Wong Yew Choy. Following a ruling by the Queensland Supreme Court, the authorities in Australia have basically been given the green light to go ahead and pursue reparations against the individual in any way they see fit. This could include the seizure of assets, freezing of accounts, or a request to his native Singapore to comply with the Australian ruling and turnover Dr. Wong.

The Star Casino after recently reopening, has already filed papers suing Dr. Wong for recovery of losses between July and August in 2018, which amount to a total of $44.2m. The funds were initially thought to have been covered by the gambler, but after the cheque, he signed at a cashing facility became dishonored, the alarm bells began ringing at the Aussie casino giant.

S’porean Law Prevents the Recovery of Gambling Debts

A major stroke of luck, or indeed calculated genius, on the part of Mr. Wong, is the fact Singaporean law prohibits the recovery of gambling debts. There are certain exceptions to this law, but in general terms, it is impossible for a gambler to be legally forced to pay back funds that were due to exchange hands-on credit according to the law in his native country. Although the action took place in Australia, in the view of the courts there is no legal obligation for the debt to be repaid.

This seems utterly incomprehensible for gamblers operating in jurisdictions where losing money on credit at a casino will mean you surely have to pay back the funds. S’porean courts threw out the case because they could not determine the facts or establish its claims, not because the debt is illegitimate. This has a number of repercussions for the individual in question as he may now need to prove that the funds lent to him were not credited in a traditional way.

Dr. Wong is certainly not out of the woods, and the huge sum of money in play will likely cause Star Entertainment to invest heavily into the legal challenges of getting it back. The huge gambling debt will need to be justified in the courts by the casino, and Dr. Wong will eventually need to make an appearance and explain to an Australian judge why he does not believe the credit was truly his to gamble.

From the outside looking in, it is clear that there are several layers of complexity to this case, and after brewing for nearly two years it does seem like those deliberating over its legitimacy are finally close to reaching a verdict.

Independent lawyers when asked about the legitimacy of the claims being made by Star were in full agreement that the claim is justified. Star Entertainment are not wrong to pursue this enormous sum of money, as had the tables been turned the other way, the casino would have surely paid out the winnings to the gambling who took the risk knowingly on their fully licensed and regulated casino facility.

In essence, the claimant Star Entertainment is at risk of having a huge injustice committed against them if this money goes unrecovered. The judge in Australia is not won over on the claim that the circumstances of the case represent an injustice against Dr. Wong and has passed a judgment to say that if the case were dismissed and not pursued by the courts then Star Entertainment would indeed by on merit served a huge miscarriage of justice.

Have you enjoyed this article? Then share it with your friends.
Share on Pinterest
Lady justice and the law.

Similar Posts