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High-roller wins HK$6 million VIP room battle in Court of Final Appeal

Ruling brings six-year legal wrangle to an end; likely to have significant implications for casinos’ future relations with junket operators.

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Ruling brings six-year legal wrangle to an end; likely to have significant implications for casinos’ future relations with junket operators.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Dore Entertainment Limited (Dore Entretenimento Sociedade Unipessoal Limitada) has been ordered to return HK$6 million plus interest to one of its VIP room clients by the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) which ruled that Wynn Resorts (Macau) needed to share responsibility for the case by helping Dore return the money to the client, a TUI statement said yesterday.

According to the statement, Dore worked with Wynn and acted as an intermediary and gaming promoter for the US company’s gaming operations in Macao. Based on the cooperation arrangement, Wynn opened a VIP room named Dore on its casino premises. 

The statement noted that in June 2015, a gambler, referred to as A, deposited HK$6 million with the “Dore VIP Room”, adding that since September of that year A had visited the VIP room multiple times to withdraw the money but Dore refused to hand over his cash. Therefore, the statement added, A decided to sue the VIP room operator, urging Dore to pay back his HK$6 million deposit along with 9.75 per cent interest.

Dore suffered a financial reversal in 2015 when a former employee absconded with almost HK$700 million.

The statement said that the Court of First Instance (TJB) ruled on 21 December 2017 that Dore should fulfil A’s request but exonerated Wynn from any responsibility in the case. However, the statement pointed out that both A and Dore were dissatisfied with the ruling and both appealed to the Court of Second Instance (TSI). 

The statement noted that the TSI panel ruled on 11 October 2018 that both Dore and Wynn were responsible for the payment of the deposit and its interest, yet Wynn was discontented with the TSI ruling so it appealed to the Court of Final Appeal.

The TUI bench of judges said that since Dore cooperated with Wynn – concessionaires are jointly responsible with their gaming promoters for any activity carried out in casinos by the latter as well as for their compliance with applicable legal and regulatory standards – Wynn must oversee and, therefore, is responsible for Dore’s action, regardless of whether the latter’s activities are legal or illegal. 

The statement underlined that the judges could not understand why Wynn could delegate one of the responsibilities listed in its concession agreement with the government to another company and enjoy the benefits that the company brought but refuse to share the burden when the incident occurred.

Therefore, the statement said that the appeal by Wynn Resorts (Macau) failed and the company would both have to pay back A’s HK$6 million as well as the interest, The Macau Post Daily reported. 

Industry insiders have indicated that the ruling will have widespread implications for Macao’s casino operators, and it will affect their future relationship with junket operators.

 

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