Wine glasses

Anyone who has been to a casino knows they have little tricks designed to get you to stay there as long as possible and to gamble as much as possible. One of the obvious ones is giving you free drinks while you gamble (be sure to tip!). And now the Crown London Aspinalls casino is in a legal battle with a customer who claims the casino plied him with strong drinks to the point where he couldn’t control his gambling and lost £600,000 ($730,000).

Lester Hui, a member of the club since 1996, said that Aspinalls staff continuously served him Moutai, a Chinese liquor that is 53% alcohol by volume until he was “blackout drunk” and encouraged him to keep gambling during a 2016 visit.

He has refused to pay the casino for his losses and as such, Aspinall’s Clubs Ltd has filed a lawsuit against him.

Hui’s legal team alleges that Aspinalls violated its “social responsibility” promises as mandated by its gambling license. Hui says that casino employees “deliberately failed to intervene so as to stop him from gaming” and felt free to let him keep gambling “so that through intoxication he would gamble large sums and so lose to the financial benefit of (Aspinall’s).”

Aspinalls argues that Hui, though maybe drunk, was not so intoxicated that he did not know what he was doing, adding that he even drove home after his time at the casino (hey, good job letting him drive home as long as he wasn’t passed out on the floor). Before leaving, he cut Aspinalls a check for £589,724 ($718,632), which equaled what he lost minus money the casino previously owed him, but it bounced.

Hui’s defense in the lawsuit is that because he was so drunk, he was “legally incapable” of any sort of contract, including gambling or writing a check. Another tactic he is trying is that he says after he arrived at the casino, he “stated that he was going to get drunk and wished to limit his losses to £30,000.”

In addition to refuting Hui’s claim that he was “blackout drunk,” Aspinalls also said that it would not make business sense for them to let someone get that intoxicated and intentionally egg them on.

“It would expose the club to serious reputational harm,” said the casino’s attorney. “The club looks to build on its long-term reputation based on trust between the club and its clients.”

As to Hui’s claim that he said he was going to get drunk and wanted a loss limit, the casino denies that happening, too. It would recorded and honored a loss limit request, but at the same time would not have even let him play if he straight-up said he was going to get wasted.

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