CNA, 7 Dec 2010
SINGAPORE: Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is suing a casino patron it describes as a “premium” player for alleged non-payment of $240,868 in credit extension but the man is disputing its claim that he owes it money.
In the first legal suit of its kind here, MBS claims it had extended credit to 30-year-old Lester Ong Boon Lin as he was a premium player with a minimum deposit of $100,000 with the casino.
According to court documents filed by MBS, Mr Ong applied for a S$1 million credit extension in May and presented a cheque of an unknown amount to the casino as a form of security.
MBS then decided to extend S$250,000 in casino chips to Mr Ong and both parties allegedly entered an agreement documenting this. It was not stated in the documents why MBS was not demanding the repayment of the full sum.
Mr Ong is denying these claims, saying he was not a premium player as he had withdrawn the S$100,000 deposit to buy gambling chips before credit was extended to him.
In his defence filed by lawyer Sunil Singh Panoo of Messrs Dhillon & Partners, Mr Ong further contends that the MBS is deemed to be a moneylender under the law as it had extended credit to a non-premium member. He argues that the credit extended is “unenforceable and not recoverable” since MBS is not a licensed moneylender.
Mr Ong also denies that agreements had been made between him and MBS. He claims that the credit extended to him was an unsolicited offer.
Court papers showed that MBS first filed its writ of summons against Mr Ong on Oct 14, after failing to encash his cheque and unsuccessful attempts to seek payment from him.
Following Mr Ong’s defence, the MBS‘ reply — filed by lawyers Surenthiraraj Saunthararajah and Toh Wei Yi of Harry Elias Partnership — reiterates that Mr Ong had deposited S$100,000 cash to qualify as a premium player before credit was given to him.
It said that S$250,000 worth of casino chips would not have been offered in the absence of an agreement between the two parties.
The MBS also alleges that Mr Ong has never denied the debt when it tried to seek payment from him from May to August.
He had also made various proposals for repayment.
The MBS is seeking at least S$250,000 — the minimum for a High Court case — in damages and cost.