Sydney Court Forces Casino to Give Disabled Gambler His Winnings

For many Australians, playing casino games at their local land-based casino is a popular pastime, adding extra thrills and entertainment to their lives. 

While the majority of gamblers probably won’t win a particularly noteworthy payout during their playing sessions, occasionally someone does strike it lucky and receives a whopping win with the potential to change their life. 

A jackpot win turned sour

This is what should have happened in the case of disabled gambler, David Joe, who managed to win a whopping $285,000 jackpot at Sydney’s Star Casino. 

Joe, who suffers from motor neurone disease, held a Platinum Vantage VIP membership at the Star. Because of his severe disability, however, he needed help from a friend in order to operate the machines. 

According to Joe, the casino had agreed that he could ask a friend to assist him when he gambled, and on this particular occasion he asked Lois Lie. The pair approached the Year of the Tiger machine, where Joe instructed Lie to put in $10 of his own money; he then gave full instructions as to how to operate the machine. In no time, they had won the hefty jackpot of $285,000. In case you’re interested, a similarly generous payout can be won on the online slot version, which you may find along with many other casino games at sites such as

Unfortunately, the Star refused to pay Joe his winnings, as Lie had signed a voluntary exclusion order three years previously and was supposedly banned from entering the casino – a fact that Joe was unaware of. Mr Lie himself said he had believed that the ban had been repealed because he had been visiting the casino for the preceding six months and none of the staff had asked him to leave. 

The Star was adamant that it would not hand over Joe’s winnings, however, and the case was taken to a Sydney court, where Judge Robert Montgomery decided in favour of Joe. 

The casino was found to be acting illegally

According to the judge, the Star’s actions were not only “misconceived” but “breached the contract of wager between the plaintiff and the defendant.” 

He also explained that since the money that had been wagered was Joe’s, and since Joe had provided all of the instructions for operating the machine, the winnings were clearly his and had nothing to do with Mr. Lie, who was merely on hand to provide the physical assistance Joe required. 

In total, Judge Montgomery ordered the Star Casino to pay Joe his jackpot prize plus interest, amounting to $320,000, and the casino had to pay the gambler’s legal fees. 

Is all publicity good publicity?

This isn’t the first time that The Star casino in Sydney has made the headlines this year. The casino was also taken to court by another of its patrons, beauty therapist Kim Nguyen, who sought to revoke a verbal ban she had received as well as attempt to recoup the substantial amount of money she had lost while gambling at the casino. 

More worryingly, the casino is also under investigation by the Queensland government, which will be exploring allegations of criminality and deciding whether or not the casino will remain eligible to hold a license. 


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