Gambling “whale” Lester Hui is defending himself against a claim of almost £600,000 by an exclusive Mayfair casino in London. Hui maintains that Aspinall’s Clubs Ltd helped him get “blackout drunk” in order to help him lose more than half a million Pounds playing double chance baccarat at Aspinall’s casino at Curzon Street.
Hui claims the casino kept bringing him drinks of Moutai, a particular style of baijiu, a distilled Chinese liquor that is crafted in the town of Maotai in China’s Guizhou province and often referred to as “firewater”.
Claims Failure of Club’s Social Responsibility
Under Gambling Commission rules, Hui maintains that the casino failed to fulfill its social responsibility to him when staff failed to intervene in his self-destructive behavior by continuing to serve him the potent liquor so that he would be likely to lose large sums of money to the house edge and Aspinall’s financial benefit at his expense.
Aspinall’s is having none of it if they can help it and are demanding he pays up the money it says he owes through the gambling contract. The casino contends he remained sober enough to make clear game decisions and drove himself home when he was done gambling.
Aspinall’s is a members-only club that has entertained celebrities and various royalty over the years since opening in the 1960s. The purported gambling debt dates back to early 2016. Hui has reportedly been a member since 1996.
As is usually the case with a game like baccarat, his winnings reportedly fluctuated throughout his gambling session but he ended up in the hole after spending £600,000 in pursuit of wins. When he was done playing he wrote a check for £589,724, representing his spend minus a smaller amount the club owed him from earlier.
However, the check didn’t clear the bank.
Attempted to Settle Out of Court
According to a report in the Mirror, the club has tried on several occasions to help Hui settle the debt out of court but has been involved in the court process since late 2019.
According to Hui, he planned to get drunk and informed staff while also asking them to limit his losses to £30,000 and then got too drunk to know what he was doing while the club allowed him to lose five times his self-imposed limit he claims he asked the club to help him enforce. Being in a state of “blackout” drunkenness, Hui claims he was not legally capable of entering a gambling contract to lose money.
Club barrister, Alexander Robson doubts Hui’s claim of asking for limits and forcefully defends against the main notions put forward by the gambler.
“If Mr. Hui had made any such formal request to limit his gaming to a particular amount, the request would have been recorded and requested.
“Further, if Mr. Hui had said he was going to get drunk, he would not have been permitted to play at all,” said the barrister.
Providing complimentary drinks, enforcing insufficient breaks from the tables, and continuing to serve drinks after he began gambling are claimed as a breach of Aspinall’s social responsibility to its customer.
Source: High roller claims top Mayfair casino plied him with ‘firewater’ as he gambled away £600k, The Mirror, March 13, 2023