Wynn Wins ' Federal Court Dismisses Punter's Application For Leave To Appeal

Law FirmSKRINE
AuthorMs Siew Ka Yan
In the case of Wynn Resorts (Macau) S.A. v Poh Yang Hong [2019] MLJU 2003 ("Poh Yang Hong Case"), the Malaysian High Court allowed a Macau-based casino's claim against its patron in the sum of HK$33,186,554 (equivalent to RM17,257,000), with interest thereon, being the amount owing under a gaming credit facility.

In coming to its decision, the High Court distinguished a wagering agreement (i.e. where the obligation to pay depends on the outcome of the wager, thus having an element of chance or uncertainty) from a gaming credit agreement (i.e. where credit is granted to a person for purposes of gaming). While a wagering agreement is unenforceable in Malaysia, the High Court held emphatically that enforcement of a debt owing under a credit facility, albeit for gaming, is not contrary to public policy. A summary of the High Court's decision is available here.

Following the Court of Appeal's dismissal of the Defendant's appeal on 21 July 2020, the Defendant applied for leave to appeal to the Federal Court. On 12 November 2020, the Federal Court dismissed the Defendant's application as the threshold to appeal the matter under Section 96(a) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 was not met, namely:-
  1. The appeal did not involve a question of general principle decided for the first time; or
  1. The appeal did not involve a question of importance upon which further argument and a decision of the Federal Court would be to public advantage.

This necessarily means that the High Court's decision which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal now stands as a landmark precedent with regards recovery of debts pursuant to credit agreements between foreign casinos and Malaysians who avail themselves to gaming or casino credit to gamble in these casinos.

Comment

Gaming or casino credit is commonly offered by foreign casinos to creditworthy patrons for the sole purpose of gaming / gambling in such places. Credit agreements of such nature are lawful in amongst others, Macau and Singapore. Whilst there may be sentiment that granting such credit encourages or promotes gaming / gambling and thus is against Malaysian values and public...

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