The Star Gold Coast in Queensland is suing Singaporean high roller Dr Wong Yew Choy for gambling debts amounting to a staggering $43 million.
Star Gold Coast
Casinos can rake in a lot of profit from high-stakes gamblers. In Australia, many of the casinos benefit greatly from high rollers. These “whales” travel from various countries in Asia to gamble their millions at the high-stakes blackjack and baccarat tables.
No casino executive wants to make enemies out of a high roller. But sometimes, such a business decision is necessary. Such is the case for The Star Entertainment Group, operator of The Star Gold Coast in Broadbeach, Queensland. It was Queensland’s first casino when it opened in 1988, and in 2006 upgraded with a $53 million renovation. In 2015, it then launched another casino redevelopment project.
2018 High Roller Session at Star Gold Coast
Dr Wong Yew Choy owes the casino $43.2 million. The high roller refuses to pay, though, and attributes his actions to the mistakes of a dealer at the baccarat table.
The high roller is known to casinos around the world for his gambling jaunts. While he was not a regular at The Star Gold Coast, the casino did contact him to invite him to make a trip to Queensland. They offered to fly him from his home in Singapore and apparently gave him $200,000 in “lucky money” with which to gamble. That is, according to the Asian gambler.
The Star claimed that he arrived on July 26, 2018, via said private jet provided by the casino. He offered a blank check and requested $40 million. He was given $40 million chips, and he requested another $10 million a day or two into the trip. The check remained blank to cover all losses incurred on the trip.
The man continued to lose and finally stopped on July 29. He told management that he felt the dealer was making mistakes that were causing him to lose. However, he said a senior casino executive encouraged him to continue playing baccarat, saying no further mistakes would be made. The alleged mistake consisted of the dealer turning over the player’s cards instead of allowing him to do it himself.
Nevertheless, another mistake occurred on August 1, according to the high roller. He did still manage to win some money back from his initial losing streak, though. But ultimately, he left the casino down more than $40 million. He averaged between $8 million and $9 million in losses per day.
A Voided Check
The total loss for Wong Yew Choy was $43.2 million. The Star Gold Coast wrote that amount on the black check to cash it. At the same time, however, the gambler was back in Singapore and in touch with his bank. Once there, he advise them to stop payment on that check.
Obviously, the casino was unable to cash the check. When The Star’s management contacted the man about it, he blamed the dealer mistakes. He further stated he would not pay for losses that were not his own fault.
Wong Yew Choy contends that the correspondence he received from The Star contains an apology for the dealer errors, and not complying with his baccarat preferences.
That letter also stated that those mistakes had nothing to do with the debt, which he still owed to the casino. “This mistake, and the others you have experienced during your visit, have had no direct financial impact to you as, where necessary, appropriate compensation was provided at the time,” read the letter from The Star.
A Lawsuit from Australia to Singapore
The Star tried to resolve the matter for many months but to no avail. So, in February 2019, The Star Entertainment Group filed a lawsuit in the high court of Singapore to obtain the $43.2 million from Wong Yew Choy.
A casino spokesperson told ABC News: “The Star is disappointed the situation involving Wong Yew Choy has forced us to escalate the matter to the Singapore High Court. We would not be wasting the court’s time unless we felt our position was extremely robust.”
Wong Yew Choy responded by noting that he was going to fight the lawsuit in court “as a matter of principle”. He said he plans to prove to the court that his decision to stop payment on the check was the correct one. Further, he said the initial $40 million from the casino was on credit, not as a part of any agreement to pay with a check.