The Star Casino has escalated its bid to sue a Singaporean billionaire who fled Australia after racking up a $40million debt in just three days.
Gambling baron Yew Choy Wong allegedly dishonoured a blank cheque after a five-day losing streak playing the card game baccarat at The Star Gold Coast in July 2018.
Despite losing an international bid to take Dr Wong to court in Singapore, Star Casino was on Wednesday given the green light to pursue the billionaire in the Queensland Supreme Court.
The VIP gambler was seduced to the casino as part of a marketing junket.
He handed over the blank check in exchange for $40million in gambling chips which he promptly lost on the baccarat table, documents lodged in Queensland Supreme Court revealed.
Undeterred by the massive blow, the billionaire splashed out another $10million in chips.
After a week 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.
However, Star Entertainment has refused to fold, taking its legal fight to the Queensland Supreme Court to recover the $43million, 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.