CASINO

Marina Bay Sands casino settles with VIP gambler over $10m debt

TAGs: Las Vegas Sands, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

marina-bay-sands-vip-gambling-lawsuitLas Vegas Sands’ Singapore casino appears to have resolved its five-year quest to collect a $10m marker from an Australian-Chinese VIP gambler.

This week, the Straits Times reported that lawyers representing the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort had filed a notice of discontinuance with the Singapore High Court on June 6 regarding its legal claim against Wang Zhi Cai. The parties reportedly reached an amicable settlement, the details of which remain unknown.

MBS launched legal proceedings against Wang, who was born in China but holds significant assets in Australia, after he ran up a gambling tab of SG$10m (US$7.3m) at the casino’s VIP tables over two sessions in 2013 and 2014.

Wang proved reluctant to honor his markers, based on his claim that the debt was owed to a junket operator, not the casino. Other VIP deadbeats have raised similar defense claims, flying in the face of MBS’ repeated insistences that it doesn’t employ junkets, or ‘international marketing agents’ (IMA), as they’re referred to locally.

Efforts to contact Wang proved fruitless, and in 2017 MBS was awarded a default judgment by a Singapore court. A court in Sydney then granted MBS permission to pursue Wang’s Aussie assets based on this judgment but Wang’s attorneys were granted leave to appeal the default judgment earlier this year. By then, interest on Wang’s debt had pushed his outstanding tab to SH$13.8m.

While the details of the settlement remain confidential, the casino apparently doesn’t bear Wang any ill will for having made them chase him across the Asia-Pacific legal system. An MBS spokesperson told the Straits Times said Wang was a “valued patron” who they’d be happy to see cross their threshold in future.

MBS’ crosstown rival, Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa has made use of IMAs but MBS’ publicly declared avoidance of IMAs means the company is personally on the hook if its VIP gamblers can’t or won’t pay up. This has led to any number of high-profile court proceedings, including a 2017 case involving a Chinese Olympic gold medalist.

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