Queensland Appeal Court Won’t Toss Case Against $30M Baccarat Whale

Posted on: December 10, 2021, 11:23h. 

Last updated on: December 10, 2021, 11:49h.

A Singaporean baccarat high roller with ties to the online betting industry is being chased for a A$43 million (US$30 million) gambling debt by the Star Gold Coast Casino in Queensland, Australia.

Wong Yew Choy
Dr. Wong Yew Choy, pictured at the stadium of English soccer team West Bromwich Albion in 2004, when he was a director of SBOBet. (Image: Adam Fradgley/AMA)

Billionaire Dr. Wong Yew Choy failed in his bid to get the case thrown out of the Queensland Supreme court on Friday.

Wong arrived at the Gold Coast venue on one of the casino’s private jets in July 2018, according to the complaint from operator Star Entertainment,

The high roller was given A$40 million (US$30 million) in chips, which he lost within three days. The casino then gave him an additional A$10 million (US$7.6 million). After a week at the tables, he left the casino precisely A$43,209,853.34 (US$32,887,019.38) in the red, according to Star. This included a hotel bill of over A$420,000 (US$320,000).

The chips were extended as credit, to be settled later, which is not unusual for a high roller of Wong’s standing. He submitted as security two blank checks, leaving the casino to fill in the particulars. But they bounced when the casino tried to cash them.

‘Unjustified Oppression’

Star initially pursued the debt through the Singapore courts, but they sided with the billionaire. That’s because the city state’s Civil Law Act prohibits the government from assisting foreign companies seeking to recoup debts related to overseas gambling.

In his motion to have the case dismissed in the Queensland Court of Appeals, Wong argued the Singapore ruling should stand, and further litigation represented “unjustified oppression” against him, which “brought the administration of justice into disrepute.”

He is again forced to confront the same allegations in a different proceeding … which constitutes the vexation inherent in Star’s conduct,” Wong’s lawyers wrote. “This is a case where Star has engaged in ‘staged conduct’ of litigation using this court’s processes to ‘hedge its bets.’

He also argues he shouldn’t have to pay the money because the dealers kept on making mistakes.

But appeals court judges were not convinced.

“Dr. Wong should not have considered that his dispute with Star was at an end once the Singapore proceeding was dismissed,’ they wrote.

In April, a Supreme Court judge permitted the case to proceed, describing it as a “relatively straightforward” claim for damages that should be determined on its merits.

Wong is Former SBOBET Director

Wong is a former director of Celton Manx, which owns SBOBET. This was the first Asian betting company to sponsor an English Premier League team, West Ham United.

A spokesperson for Celton Manx told Casino.org that Wong resigned from the position in March 2019. That’s as soon the company became aware of his dispute with Star.

Wong owns the Zac Stable in Singapore, which has produced several winning racehorses trained by Australian Clifford Brown.

His lawyers describe him as a “highly respected patron of casinos around the world, who is regularly provided with concessions and incentive packages.”