Vietnamese American drops lawsuit over $55 mln jackpot

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Slot machines at the Palazzo Club at the luxury Sheraton Hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City where Ly Sam, 62, controversially won a jackpot of more than US$55 million. PHOTO: LE QUANG

Despite winning his initial hearing, a Vietnamese American has dropped his three-year lawsuit claiming he was owed a US$55-million jackpot.

The lawsuit has been making local headlines since it was launched in 2010.

Ly Sam, 61, agreed to the out-of-court settlement offer made by Dai Duong Joint Venture, which owns the casino Palazzo Club at the luxury Sheraton Hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted one of Sam's lawyers as saying.

However, the lawyer refused to reveal the amount of the settlement.

An appeal hearing by the city People's Court annulled the first trial's verdict and suspended the lawsuit on Thursday, after both Sam and the company withdrew their appeals and did not show up at court.

Dai Duong was ordered to pay VND1.2 billion ($55,400) in trial fees for the first hearing, while Sam had to pay VND100,000 ($4.7) for the second hearing.

According to the court, Sam asked the case to be suspended, saying a technical error with the slot machine had probably occurred.

On October 25, 2009, the Vietnamese American restaurant owner was playing at the club's slot machine number 13 when the screen flashed $55,542,296.73. He continued to play another time and his final credit was deducted by $5.

The club manager refused to give Sam the jackpot or sign a paper approving the result. He said Sam could collect his winnings within three days.

Sam took a picture of the screen displaying the winning amount and asked other visitors at the club to sign a paper as witnesses.

He then contacted the casino many times to collect his winnings, but he was told that it was a machine glitch.

It was reported that the club manager later came to meet Sam and told him that they would agree that the result was $20 million on the condition that Sam take only 40 percent of the amount.

Soon after, another club representative contacted Sam and lowered the amount to $10,000.

Sam rejected all offers and filed a lawsuit against Dai Duong Joint Venture on January 20, 2010 in an attempt to claim the full amount.

He also demanded $3.517 million in interest and asked that the club's operations be suspended for between three to six months.

Last January, District 1 People's Court ordered Dai Duong to pay Sam in full.

After that the company filed an appeal, while Sam also filed an appeal, demanding the interest. 

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