Gambler seeks to block Wynn case

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 September, 2009, 12:00am

Lawyers representing high roller Henry Mong Hengli yesterday asked a high court judge to deny a motion by Wynn Resorts (Macau) seeking summary judgment over HK$30 million in unpaid gambling debts.

Mong's lawyers in the groundbreaking case argued that, among other issues, the credit agreement between Mong and Wynn did not receive advance approval from the local gaming regulator.

In 2004, Macau passed its first legislation on gaming credit, but to date Wynn appears to be the first casino operator to attempt to recoup debts through the courts in either Macau or Hong Kong.

Analysts and industry executives have said the implications of the outcome of the case could be magnified by Macau's heavy reliance on credit-driven casino play and the dominant role of the enclave's junket agents in the VIP gaming segment.

Wynn filed a lawsuit in January against Mong seeking repayment of up to HK$30 million in debts he incurred during a gambling session in August last year.

Lawyers for Mong had argued that Macau was the appropriate forum for the suit, but the Hong Kong court accepted the case, citing the fact that Mong maintained local bank accounts and owned property in the city.

Mong's lawyers argued yesterday that Macau law requires the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau to individually approve such credit agreements and said Mong 'has put up an arguable case that should go to trial'.

Lawyers for Wynn, which is asking the court to enforce the gambling debt plus interest, said the Macau laws in question targeted credit agreements between casinos and VIP junket agents and were not focused on direct loans to players.

They argued that requiring casinos to seek advance approval from the bureau every time they issued credit to players would 'lead to commercial chaos'.

Both parties are awaiting the judgment following the closing of arguments yesterday before Court of First Instance judge Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling.

Gaming impact

Outcome seen affecting Macau's heavily credit-driven casino play

Wynn Resorts is seeking a court ruling on unpaid gambling debts of, in HK$: $30m