Hong Kong lottery winner fails in legal bid over claiming of prize
Man loses appeal to get winnings after he did not collect money within 60-day limit as stipulated in Jockey Club Lotteries’ rules
Luck was not on the side of a Mark Six winner, who claimed that he was unfairly treated by the Jockey Club because he was a non-registered lottery buyer, after he failed to convince a court to award him his prize money.
Cheung Kwok-wah lost his appeal bid to recover the HK$47,140 denied by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Lotteries at the Court of First Instance on Monday .
Cheung was denied the third prize he won after he failed to claim it within a 60-day limit as set out in the Jockey Club’s Lotteries rules.
During the trial, Cheung argued that while registered winners enjoyed the convenience of having the winnings directly transferred into their Jockey Club accounts within that time period, non-registered gamblers did not have the same luxury, leading to the expiry of the money they had won.
He claimed that the Lotteries’ rules had violated the Basic Law, which requires every person to be treated equally and protected by law.
Commenting on the differential treatment, Mr Justice David Lok said: “But this does not amount to a ground of unconstitutionality.”
The judge, who heard the man’s appeal from the Small Claims Tribunals and handed down a written judgment on Monday, said the law allowed the Jockey Club to offer “convenience” to registered gamblers, just as flight mileage providers are permitted to provide a priority check-in service for their members.
“In that sense, you cannot say people are given unequal treatment before the law,” he wrote.
The judge said the board of directors at the Jockey Club had the say to set out the rights and responsibility that limits the lottery house and gamblers through the Lotteries’ rules.
Although it was enshrined in the Basic Law that the court would treat everyone who had the same legal footing equally, he added, the legal rights could be varied once one bound himself to a contractual agreement.