Casino sues Singapore high-roller for $41.5 million, he says dealer made mistakes, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Casino sues Singapore high-roller for $41.5 million, he says dealer made mistakes

This article is more than 12 months old

Businessman Wong Yew Choy argues that the casino made mistakes on baccarat games he played

An Australian casino which flew in a Singaporean high roller and gave him A$200,000 (S$192,000) to gamble with, is now suing him for the A$43.2 million (S$41.5 million) he purportedly lost on its tables.

But the gambler, businessman Wong Yew Choy, argues that the casino in Queensland made mistakes on the baccarat games he played in, and he should not have to pay up.

The amount being sought by The Star Entertainment QLD, which runs The Star Gold Coast casino, is believed to be the largest casino debt sum filed in the High Court here.

Dr Wong, in his defence papers, is described as a highly respected patron of casinos around the world, who is regularly provided with concessions and incentive packages.

He had been invited by the Star's marketing representative to patronise the casino, and was offered the use of a private jet for his trip and and A$200,000 as "lucky money", he added.

The Star claimed he requested a cheque cashing facility for A$40 million, which it approved. This was increased by another A$10 million.

By Sept 7, Dr Wong had lost some A$43.2 million. The casino wrote the amount into the "blank" cheque which Dr Wong had given, to be drawn on a Singapore-based bank. But the cheque later bounced, which subsequently led to the casino filing a suit against him in the High Court last month through lawyer Alfred Lim of Fullerton Law Chambers.

Dr Wong, defended by Mr Abraham Vergis of Providence Law Asia, disputes the casino's version of events. He said he did not request a credit cheque facility but was offered the A$40 million facility to obtain chips on credit in early July which was later raised to A$50 million on July 29, which he accepted.

He provided a blank cheque on arrival on July 26 and in return received chips worth A$40 million and later, a further A$10 million.

He claims there were mistakes made by the dealer when he played baccarat. These mistakes were acknowledged in writing by a casino official.

He decided not to continue gambling beyond July 29, but claims he was persuaded otherwise by a senior executive the next day.

He said it was made clear that he would not pay for any losses up till then on account of the mistakes, and would only continue if there were no further mistakes. If there were, he would not be liable for them as well.

He said he was given a letter by Star's chief operating officer on Aug 1 which acknowledged the mistakes that had occurred. The letter also guaranteed no further mistakes would be made.

But when he continued gambling on Aug 1, the dealer made the same mistake. That made Dr Wong stop.

After returning to Singapore, the 55-year-old ordered his bank to stop payment on the cheque, as he no longer owed the casino anything, based on what was agreed upon, he said.

"Dr Wong will contest the Singapore case as a matter of principle and intends to fully vindicate his decision to stop payment," said Mr Vergis.