CASINO

Wynn high-roller lawsuit reinstated, Macau land deal probe ongoing

TAGs: gambling debt, konstantin, Macau, marker, Nevada, Steve Wynn, wynn palace, Wynn Resorts, zoggolis

wynn-resorts-lawsuit-probeA US federal court has reinstated a lawsuit filed by a high-rolling gambler who claims Wynn Resorts failed to honor his self-imposed credit limit. In 2011, Konstantin Zoggolis filed suit against Wynn Las Vegas for not adhering to the $250k credit limit deal Zoggolis signed with the casino in November 2008. Instead, the casino issued Zoggolis markers worth a total of $1.3m, an amount Zoggolis claimed he couldn’t – and wouldn’t – pay. Zoggolis’ attorney Gary Logan claims Wynn subsequently fired the casino host who handled Zoggolis during his spree.

While willing to repay the $250k he’d originally bargained on losing, Zoggolis claimed that Wynn had no right to disregard their agreement, rendering the markers for the other $1.05m unlawful. But US District Judge Philip Pro dismissed Zoggolis’ suit on the grounds that Zoggolis had yet to exhaust his claims before the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which ordinarily claims jurisdiction over casino-related debts.

On Tuesday, a three-judge appellate panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed that the case should be reinstated. The panel noted that Wynn’s own lawyers had acknowledged that Zoggolis’ markers were “credit instruments under Nevada law” and thus they “must be received in the same manner as any other dispute involving the enforceability of a negotiable instrument.”

WYNN LAND MACAU PROBE NOT DONE JUST YET
In other Wynn legal news, the head of Macau’s Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) has refuted claims by Wynn boss Steve Wynn that its probe into a controversial land deal had concluded. Two years ago, the Wall Street Journal raised questions about a $50m payment Wynn Resorts had made to a man named Ho Ho in order to obtain the rights to a parcel of land on Cotai on which the new $4b Wynn Palace is being built. Ho Ho’s business partner was reputed to have had something of a checkered past.

The matter was dredged up this spring by Jeffrey Fiedler, head of a US-based labor union and the former operator of the CasinoLeaks-Macau website, which raised questions about alleged ties between Macau casino operators and Chinese triad groups. In June, Fiedler launched a new site, CotaiLandDeal.com, to specifically address the Wynn land issue. Wynn responded by dismissing Fiedler as a “bitter, unsuccessful” muckraker who didn’t have the balls to make such accusations in court.

On Tuesday, Wynn traveled to Macau, where he said the CCAC’s probe had concluded and that the anti-graft agency was “satisfied with the inspection.” Wynn declared the issue to be “totally mundane, irrelevant. Everything about the transaction is so crystal clear and clean you could drink it like bottled water.” On Wednesday, the CCAC corrected Wynn, saying the “relevant investigation is still underway,” while declining further comment.

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