Crown Casino Zhao Li gambling losses

Zhao Li’s $8 million debt is the latest in a long line of Crown Casino gambling losses.
(Image: ABC)

Melbourne’s Crown Casino is hunting a Chinese high roller who racked up a huge gambling debt at the flagship gambling joint. The Chinese VIP amassed what is believed to be losses of around $8 million in just two weeks. Now, after the gambler – a Chinese man called Zhao Li – allegedly refused to pay back the money, the Crown has had no choice but to pursue Li in court.

Mr. Li Runs Up a $10 Million Line of Credit

In court documents filed last week at the Supreme Court of Victoria, it was revealed that the Melbourne casino had given Mr. Li $6 million worth of credit back in the summer of 2011. However, the credit was given a strict stipend that it be paid back within 20 days.

In October 2011, that line of credit was extended first to $8 million, then again to $10 million. By the end of Li’s gambling splurge that month, he owed the casino almost $7 million. With interest added, his bill now stands closer to the around $7,895,632 being claimed.

It was not known what games Li played at Crown Casino to rack up such a debt. However, the Crown Casino runs some pretty serious high-roller gaming tables with a minimum sit-down around the $50-75 million mark.

Zhao Li is a resident of China, but court papers revealed he has an address listed in Australia in North Balwyn, outside Melbourne. According to reports, however, the palatial mansion in a swanky Melbourne suburb has been effectively in a state of neglect for months.

Li’s $8 million is a drop in the ocean when compared to other gambling debts accrued at the Crown, however. Between 2005 and 2006, Gold Coast businessman Harry Kakavas – dubbed “the highest of high rollers” – racked up a purported $1.5 billion gambling debt at the flagship Melbourne casino.

A Bad Week For James Packer

James Packer and his Crown Casino in Melbourne have been in the Australian news plenty of times in recent weeks – and not for all the right reasons.

Prior to this story, the outspoken casino mogul and media heir was splashed across the front pages of the Aussie newspapers after getting into a quite public spat with Channel Nine CEO, David Gyngell. The ‘Battle of Bondi’ was allegedly a result of Packer’s opposition to Channel Nine’s media coverage of his relationship with model, Miranda Kerr.

Packer Continues Sri Lanka Gambling Expansion

However, in the same week that police issued Packer with a Criminal Infringement Notice following the Bondi infringement, the businessman received a bit of better news when his proposed casino project in Sri Lanka got the green light. A Sri Lankan government official confirmed that Packer’s resort development in Colombo will be allowed to operate as a casino.

If Packer’s Crown Casino expansion into Sri Lanka does get the final go-ahead, he will certainly need that missing $8 million if he is to come up with the $427 million needed to develop the complex.

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