A court has ordered Wynn Macau to help pay back HK$6m (US$769,447) plus interest to a VIP gambler who had his funds stolen at the property’s VIP room. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A Macau court has ruled that Wynn Resorts needs to help return funds to a VIP player who had his cash stolen from him. The Court of Final Appeal ruling ordered Wynn and its partner Dore Entertainment Limited to pay HK$6m (US$769,447) plus interest to the high roller.
Dore works as a gaming promotor and intermediary for Wynn’s Macau gaming operations. Through this partnership, the casino company opened the Dore VIP room in the Wynn Macau casino.
operators are partly responsible for all activities that their promoters carry out
In their ruling, the judges argued that operators are partly responsible for all activities that their promoters carry out in a casino. This includes ensuring the gaming promotor is compliant with relevant regulatory and legal standards. For these reasons, the panel of judges believes that Wynn is partly responsible, no matter if the activities of Dore are illegal or legal.
Not honoring the withdrawal
Wynn Macau confirmed in a filing on Wednesday that it had received the judgment from the court. The company’s statement said: “Based on advice from the Macau counsel of the Company, the Judgment is final and binding to all parties. The Group is currently seeking legal advice from its Macau counsel in relation to the Judgment.”
stole nearly HK$700m (US$89.8m) from a cashier cage
Dore was hit hard financially in September 2015 after a cage manager stole nearly HK$700m (US$89.8m) from a cashier cage in the VIP room. The authorities never caught the worker or recovered any stolen funds. Four gamblers subsequently sued Wynn and Dore for a total of HK$64m (US$8.2m). However, only one was able to showcase proof of deposit and proceed with their case.
In June 2015, the unnamed VIP gambler deposited funds worth HK$6m (US$769,447) with the Dore VIP Room. He has reportedly returned to the VIP room numerous times since September 2015 in an attempt to get back his money, but Dore supposedly refused to honor his withdrawal requests. This prompted the gambler to sue the operator, seeking the return of his HK$6m (US$769,447), as well as 9.75% interest.
A long-running legal process
The Court of First Instance initially ruled on the case in December 2017. The ruling stated that Dore should pay the gambler his funds, without laying any responsibility on Wynn. Both Dore and the gambler did not agree with this initial ruling, leading to both parties appealing the decision to the Court of Second Instance (TSI).
A TSI panel ruling in October 2018 stated that both Wynn and Dore held responsibility in making the repayment to the gambler. This time, Wynn decided to appeal the decision to the Court of Final Appeal. The operator claimed that Dore was just a contractor, and therefore it relinquished any responsibility for paying the promoter’s debts.
Junket operators such as Dore attract VIP gamblers to casinos, often extending credit to them and arranging their travel and accommodation.
Ultimately, this appeal proved unsuccessful. According to industry insiders, this latest ruling could have significant implications for all casino operators in Macau. It will also likely affect their future dealings with junket operators. The number of licensed promotors in Macau has dropped significantly in recent years as casino companies rely on them less.