Rolling the dice: Star sues billionaire gambler who lost $43m, refused to pay

The Star Entertainment Group has doubled down on its bid to sue an Asian billionaire who racked up a $43 million gambling debt at its Gold Coast casino.

Apr 01, 2021, updated Apr 01, 2021
Dr Wong Yew Choy (centre) has enjoyed success on the track at the Singapore Turf, but allegedly has reneged on a $43 million gambling debt with Star Gold Coast (Pic, Singapore Turf Club)

Dr Wong Yew Choy (centre) has enjoyed success on the track at the Singapore Turf, but allegedly has reneged on a $43 million gambling debt with Star Gold Coast (Pic, Singapore Turf Club)

VIP high roller Dr Wong Yew Choy allegedly dishonoured a blank cheque after a five-day losing streak playing baccarat at The Star Gold Coast.

After losing an international bid to pursue Dr Wong over the debt in Singapore, Star Casino has been granted leave to pursue the billionaire in the Queensland Supreme Court.

The well-known Asian gambler had been lured to the Gold Coast casino as part of a marketing junket in July 2018

The gambling mogul opened his account with a $40 million cheque to buy gaming chips before hitting the baccarat table.

Within three days, the billionaire lost the entire $40 million, documents lodged in Queensland Supreme Court reveal.

Undeterred by the massive loss, the billionaire splashed out another $10 million in chips.

After seven days at the tables, Dr Wong left The Star casino owing $43,209,853.34 – including a room tab topping more than $420,000.

After returning to Singapore, Dr Wong stopped payment on a blank cheque he signed to cover his losses incurred during the stay.

In 2019, the Singapore court dismissed The Star’s lawsuit against Wong, seeking to recover his gambling debts.

The court cited the Singapore Civil Law Act prohibiting the government from assisting foreign companies seeking to recover debts related to overseas gambling.

“(The) claims against me are therefore frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the court process,” Dr Wong claimed.

International Judge Jeremy Cooke favoured Dr Wong, ordering the claim be struck out and the VIP high roller be paid $20,000 plus costs.

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However, Star Entertainment has refused to fold, taking its legal fight to the Queensland Supreme Court to recover $43,209,853.22 plus interest and costs.

Dr Wong filed a conditional notice of intention to defend, disputing the court’s jurisdiction and arguing the proceeding to be an abuse of process.

However, on Wednesday, Justice Thomas Bradley dismissed Dr Wong’s application to dismiss or set aside The Star’s legal action.

“Star has pleaded a relatively straightforward claim in damages, including under the Cheques Act,” Justice Bradley said.

“I am not persuaded that allowing the proceeding to continue will result in Dr Wong incurring a serious and unfair burden, prejudice or damage or cause him any serious and unjustified trouble or harassment in defending himself.”

“If it were dismissed or stayed, Star would be prevented from having its claim against Dr Wong determined on its merits.

“That would be an injustice.”

Both parties have been ordered to make written submissions on costs, with the matter expected to be heard this year.

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