A drunk night at Aspinalls ends poorly
A high roller at Crown London Aspinalls Casino claims that staff continuously got him “blackout drunk” until he took on losses of £600k ($725k).
brought him “firewater” constantly until he was well above the legal limit
Lester Hui says that one night in 2016, casino staff brought him “firewater” constantly until he was well above the legal limit. He is now being sued by the casino for refusing to pay his unsettled debt.
Hui’s legal team claims that Aspinalls did not uphold its “social commitments” that came with its gambling license. As such, they do not believe that Hui should be held liable for losses taken on that night.
A target of the casino?
Despite the arguments from Hui and his lawyers, Aspinalls is demanding that he pay off his debt.
through intoxication he would gamble large sums and so lose to the financial benefit of [Aspinalls]”
Hui says the casino brought him a Chinese liquor called Moutai, which has an alcohol percentage of 53 and is commonly known as “firewater.” He also says the staff “deliberately failed to intervene to stop him from gaming…so that through intoxication he would gamble large sums and so lose to the financial benefit of [Aspinalls].”
The casino believes that these claims are unfounded and that Hui was sober enough to make rational decisions during his visit, and that he even drove home early in the morning after his night was over.
According to a statement in court, Hui started the night in the black before his luck took a turn for the worse and he ultimately ended up down just under £600k ($725k). Aspinalls also alleges that Hui wrote them a check for the exact amount of losses, but that check bounced when the casino attempted to cash it.
The casino also said that it made several attempts to settle the issue with Hui out of court, but was forced to file a lawsuit in September 2019. Hui had been a member of the club since 1996.
There is another layer to the case, as Hui claims that upon entering the casino, he told employees that he was going to become intoxicated and wanted to limit his losses to £30,000 ($36,000). As per his story, the staff still served him copious amounts of free drinks and allowed his debt to pile up to the £600k ($725k) amount it is seeking in repayment.
Alexander Robson, a lawyer who spoke for Aspinalls, said that Hui’s assertions were ridiculous and unfounded. He also questioned why a club with the reputation of Aspinalls would risk its name to swindle money from a drunken guest that had been frequenting the club for 20 years.
“It would expose the club to serious reputational harm,” said Robson. “The club looks to build on its long-term reputation based on trust between the club and its clients.”
denied that Hui requested to self-impose a £30,000 ($36,000) debt limit
Robson also cited footage from a CCTV camera that he claims showed “no concern” regarding Hui’s allegedly drunken behavior. He also denied that Hui requested to self-impose a £30,000 ($36,000) debt limit.
The same casino was convicted by a tribunal of racial discrimination in 2021 following a suit from a former employee. According to the plaintiff, the casino allowed visitors to refer to black gambling tokens as “n***** chips” and granted requests to swap Black dealers for white ones.
The casino plans to submit a series of emails from 2015 that prove that if Hui was drunk, he would not have been allowed to continue gambling. The club’s former head of marketing and a colleague also testified that they met with Hui on the night of his visit after having a previous relationship with him, including playing golf together, and they had no concerns over his drunkenness.
The case is still ongoing.