Ly Sam, a Vietnamese American, has filed a lawsuit demanding the Palazzo Club inside the 5-star Sheraton Saigon Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to pay out US$55.5 million in cash prize he said he won in 2009.
The case should have been tried at a civil court before Tet early this month but it was delayed since both Mr. Sam and the defendant – Dai Duong Joint Venture Company that operates the casino – provided additional evidence to the court, said Mai Xuan Binh, the presiding judge of the People’s Court of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
“This is a lawsuit with the biggest ever claim in Vietnam. We will hear the case at the earliest time possible,” said Mr. Binh.
On October 25, 2009, while Sam was playing the Landlord Game on game machine No. 13 at the Palazzo Club, the machine reported that he won the huge cash prize.
Sam asked the club to make a report to confirm the winning result but the club’s manager refused to do so, just promising to pay the prize to the winner within three days.
Sam himself made a report on his winning and many other game players at the club put their signatures on the minutes as witnesses.
He also took some photos of the machine that reported the wining result.
On October 30, 2009, Sam sent Dai Duong a letter asking for the prize but the company did not respond.
In another letter to Dai Duong a month later, Sam stressed that the company had to be responsible for paying the prize.
Ewarton Consultancy Co., Ltd, an affiliate of Dai Duong, later replied to Sam that “the winning result was invalid because it had resulted from something wrong that happened to the game machine.”
Not accepting such an argument, Mr. Sam has sued Dai Duong to court.
According to a source, Mr. Sam is residing in Ho Chi Minh City and is engaged in the restaurant business.
Although gambling is illegal in Vietnam, classy casinos are permitted but they are open to foreign passport holders only.
$55 mil winnings must be paid to gambler: lawyer
Ly Sam, a Vietnamese-American who has filed a suit against a Ho Chi Minh City casino for not paying him US$55.5 million he won while gambling in 2009, has the law on his side, a lawyer has said.
Tran Cong Ly Tao, a member of the city Bar, said Dai Duong Joint Venture Company, which owns the Palazzo Club at the five-star Sheraton Saigon Hotel, has no choice but to pay up.
After he won the money while playing a game called the Landlord on October 25, 2009, Sam asked the club for a written confirmation of his winning.
The club manager refused but said Dai Duong will pay him within three days.
Sam himself made a report and asked other players at the club to sign as witnesses.
But the money was not forthcoming and despite two requests from Sam, Dai Duong did not pay.
Eventually, Ewarton Consultancy, an affiliate of Dai Duong, told him that due to “some fault” with the game machine, the result was “invalid.”
‘Some fault’ not acceptable
Mai Xuan Binh, the presiding judge at the People’s Court of District 1, HCMC, said the case will be heard at the soonest.
It was scheduled for trial before Tet early this month, but was postponed when the court received additional evidence from both sides, he said.
“This … involves the biggest ever claim in Vietnam,” he added.
Tao said: “Dai Duong Joint Venture must pay the money. Players pay money to play and so when a player wins, the game operator must pay the winner.”
He emphasized that it is unacceptable for Dai Duong to say the prize will not be paid because of “some fault with the machine.”
“Even the Penal Code can be based on to charge the game operator with ‘abusing trust to appropriate assets,’” he added.
Source: Tuoi Tre