Star Casino Pursues $43 Million Gambling Debt
Let’s pretend that you and your mate have a $20 bet. You win, and he fails to pay up after a reasonable amount of time. How long would it take before the outstanding debt had an effect on your friendship?
Now, imagine that the same pal owed you $43 million dollars. Is it safe to assume that you might get a bit more impatient?
Well, that’s the situation that Star Casino finds itself in. To make matters worse, the whole affair stretches back to 2018. Considering the amount of money on the line, that long of a wait must feel like an eternity.
A Whale Comes to Australia
Dr Yew Choy Wong is a whale. In gambling parlance, that means he has no qualms about betting huge sums of money. For casino operators, this sort of individual is worth their weight in gold.
Dr Wong was well-known in gambling circles, and he had previously played at Star Sydney’s private rooms. When Star Gold Coast finished building their VIP section, the Asian whale was immediately targeted.
Teazel Yaw, the VIP marketing executive for Star Gold Coast, set their sights on Wong. The billionaire eventually took the bait, agreeing to fly in on a private jet provided by Star. He arrived on July 26th, 2018, accompanied by various friends and hangers-on. They were provided with a complimentary penthouse, and Dr Wong was given a gift of $100,000.
The Trouble Starts
Star expected Dr Wong to risk loads of cash, and he didn’t disappoint. He gave the casino a blank cheque, and in return he received $40 million in chips.
His game of choice? Baccarat.
Lady Luck didn’t favour Dr Wong, and he was soon bleeding money. Then, after having lost $37 million, he registered his first complaint.
It turns out that Mr Wong was dealt cards face-up on several occasions, something which he wasn’t happy with. Apparently, a lot of Asian high rollers want their cards face-down. Why? So they can “squeeze” them.
This superstitious ritual involves rubbing and bending the card, then peeking around its edge to see the suit but not the value. The player then rotates the card 90 degrees and gives the other side the same treatment. It may sound crazy, but it’s a common enough occurrence that some online casinos even offer a digital simulation of “squeezing.”
From Bad to Worse
At this point, both sides agree that Dr Wong received a letter of apology. However, the contents are subject to debate.
According to Star Casino, the letter apologized and pointed out that the face-up cards in no way altered the outcome of Dr Wong’s hands. Meanwhile, Dr Wong claims that the letter went one step further, absolving him of any debt up to that juncture.
Regardless of which side you believe, Wong continued to play. In fact, he gave the casino another blank cheque in exchange for an additional $10 million in chips.
However, despite promises from the house, he once again received his cards face-up during a hand. That was the last straw, as Wong and his entourage boarded their complimentary jet and returned home.
After several days of playing baccarat, Dr Wong owed the casino $43,209,853.34, including a room tab in excess of $420,000. This amount was equal to one-sixth of the revenue pulled in by Star’s Sydney, Brisbane, and Gold Coast locations from 2017 to 2018.
Wong had plenty of time to think about things on the flight home. Still seething from events, he contacted his bank and had payment stopped on the blank cheques.
That was in 2018, and Star Casino has been chasing the debt (and Dr Wong) ever since.
At first, Star sued him in a Singapore court. However, the court refused to assist a foreign company in recovering debts related to overseas gambling.
This week, though, Star got a glimmer of hope. They received permission to pursue the matter in the Queensland Supreme Court. Dr Wong applied to have the case thrown out, but that was dismissed by the court.
Both parties have been asked to supply written submissions on costs, with the case coming in front of the court sometime this year.
The Elusive Yew Choy Wong
While Star Casino has encountered difficulties in recovering their debts, the same could be said for those who try to gather information on Dr Yew Choy Wong. It’s obvious that he’s wealthy, but much of his background is shrouded in mystery. Then again, perhaps a command of Mandarin would lead to an influx of facts. Regardless, here’s what I’ve been able to come up with:
- Yew Choy Wong also used the alias “Andy Wong.”
- Most people refer to him as Dr Wong, although the title is believed to be honorary.
- When it comes to whales, an industry insider referred to Wong as “one of the biggest around.”
- He’s known to routinely place $500,000 bets.
- Wong is the chairman of Celton Manx.
- His subsidiary, SBOBET, became the first company licensed on the Isle of Man to provide live Internet gambling.
- Celton Manx was the first Asian betting operation to receive shirt-naming rights on a football team. They were a shirt sponsor of West Ham United, as well as Cardiff City.
- In 2013, Celton Manx became the official betting partner of West Ham United F.C., Swansea City A.F.C., Hull City A.F.C., Southampton F.C., and Norwich City F.C.
- Wong and his sister, Genni, have a stable of horses in Singapore known as Zac Stable. Each horse’s name begins with “Zac,” such as Zac Enforcer and Zac Spirit.
For more news from the world of gambling, be sure to check out the following:
- Chinese Millionaire Sues SkyCity Adelaide
- Man Sentenced After Threatening to Burn Down Casino
- Man Sentenced for Gambling-related Kidnapping
- Tabcorp Endures Troubled Times