Gamblers, Caesars in dispute over $5.9 million
By Grace Leong
LAS VEGAS SUN
Two Hong Kong high-roller gamblers are fighting the Caesars Palace resort on the Las Vegas Strip for the return of $5.9 million they claim was wired to their Caesars’ gambling account.
Caesars, however, claims it doesn’t have the money. It says the funds were impounded by police in Hong Kong.
A Clark County District judge on Friday denied the gamblers’ request to immediately recover the money.
David H.C. Wong and Yat Fat Hui sued Caesars Palace last week, alleging the hotel-casino repeatedly refused to release the funds despite having allegedly given Wong a cash deposit receipt on Oct. 15 that allegedly indicates the funds are to be refunded on surrender of the receipt.
Wong and Hui claim the money was sent to Caesars from a Bank of America branch.
“A cash deposit receipt indicates money is available,” said Eckley Martin Keach, the plaintiffs’ attorney, at Friday’s hearing. “Caesars Palace had no legal right to withhold the funds. Caesars Palace didn’t object to him playing or cashing his chips … it acted as though the money was there.”
But Cam Ferenbach, attorney for Caesars Palace, disputed the allegations, saying the funds aren’t in Las Vegas and that the hotel-casino doesn’t have control of the funds because they have been seized by police in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police allege an unspecified portion of the funds were acquired illegally, attorneys said.
Ferenbach also disputed the plaintiffs’ definition of a cash deposit.
“A cash deposit is an intangible credit in a bank account. A cash deposit receipt doesn’t mean cash in the cage because it’s a reflection of credit,” he said.
“And if the funds are still in Bank of America in Hong Kong, how can a court in Las Vegas order a sheriff to try to get it out of Hong Kong?” he asked at the hearing.
The suit said Caesars Palace allegedly removed more than $1 million of the funds to pay off a marker on the account despite its claims that the monies were “frozen.”
But Ferenbach disagreed, saying “no money was ever removed.”
Clark County District Judge Mark Gibbons, while not ordering the release of the funds, granted the plaintiffs’ request to amend their complaint and ruled that further proceedings in the case will be heard later in the month.