Stanley Choi, a Hong Kong businessman and high stakes poker player, is embroiled in a betting scandal. The multi-millionaire is facing rumours that shady dealing might be going on regarding Wigan Athletic’s sudden move into administration.
The rumour is that business decisions were made to ensure Wigan’s relegation because of an insanely large bet in the Philippines.
Has Au Yeung Wai Kay always dreamed of owning a football club in Lancashire? Doubt it. He paid £17million for the club + £28million in loan repayments. That’s £45million pounds to own a club for 7 days and then place it into admin. Why would anybody do that?
— mark 🇸🇱 (@marksparko) July 3, 2020
Stanley Choi Facing Accusations
Wigan Athletic are an English football team in The Championship division – the second tier. They were owned by former player turned businessman Dave Whelan for many years and are a small, popular team generally seen as punching above their weight.
In October 2018 Whelan decided to sell up to safeguard his legacy at the club. International Entertainment Corporation, publicly traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange and owned by Stanley Choi, took control of the outfit in a £15.9 million deal.
At the time, IEC was in a partnership with PokerStars to host live poker festivals throughout Asia.
All was well, even though the team was struggling this year, and then a chain of strange business decisions led to the recent bankruptcy.
IEC sold up to Next Leader Fund in May 2020 in an agreement worth £17.5 million.
When the deal was announced on June 4th a minority shareholder of NLF, Au Yeung Wai Kay, gave a statement saying how excited he was for the future of the club and the supporters must have thought the good times were about to return. Little did they know.
Out of the Blue
What nobody knew was that Stanley Choi owned more than 50% of the shares in both companies. A strange arrangement was clearly going on.
On June 24th it came out that Au Yeung now had at least 75% of NLF with rumours it was the whole lot.
A week later, after paying off a £24 million loan that Choi invested in the club, Au Yeung decided not to continue with the project and brought administrators in. He claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to change his plans unexpectedly.
Well, here’s why… This is a video of the head of the English Football League, Richard Parry, stating he’s heard a rumour that there was a big bet placed on Wigan’s relegation in the Philippines. Remember the past owner was a professional gambler who owned a string of casinos? pic.twitter.com/uW3PTkrOAL
— mark 🇸🇱 (@marksparko) July 3, 2020
And then this video surfaced.
Although it has to be said there is no hard evidence of wrongdoing. However, the court of public opinion has clearly made its mind up.
The man talking in the video is English Football League (EFL) Chairman, Richard Parry,
“There’s a rumour that there’s a bet in the Philippines on being relegated, because the previous owner has gambling interests in the Philippines,”
Did Au Yeung deliberately place the club in administration to take the 12 point hit that would ensure they went down at the end of the season?
The supporters are now calling for an official probe by the English Football League.
Who Is Stanley Choi
Stanley Choi is a bit of a wizard at the poker table as well as in business. With almost $8 million in live tournament winnings he has consistently picked up big scores in high roller tournaments since he burst onto the scene in 2012.
His debut cash was in the Macau HK$ 2,000,000 No Limit Texas Hold’em – Super High Roller where he picked up $6.5 million for an incredible win.
His reputation as a player is outstanding considering how little he seems to play. Time will tell if his reputation as a businessman will be the same after all the investigating has finished.
Will more come out about this bet rumoured to have been placed.
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