Casino, big winner in row over ID

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Copy of ND CHIPS (43752883) DAILY NEWS Roshan Roopnarian and his partner, Sharina Singh. Photo: Puri Devjee

Durban - They were happy to take his money - R4 000 for a single hand at times - but when it came to paying out his winnings, uMhlanga businessman, Roshan Roopnarian was angered to discover that a casino suddenly demanded ID.

Standing outside Suncoast Casino early on Wednesday clutching more than R54 000 in casino chips - after an eight-hour gambling spree - Roopnarian and his partner, Sharina Singh, were fuming.

 

After amassing as much as R85 000 in winnings at about 3am on Wednesday, Roopnarian said casino management refused to cash his chips - without seeing proof of identity.

They claimed Suncoast gaming management wanted Roopnarian’s ID to ensure he complied with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica).

“They took our money throughout the night with no problem. Not one person asked for Fica documents when I was spending R4 000 on a single hand,” Roopnarian said.

They said they had been to casinos across the country and this was the first time they needed to produce an ID to cash in chips.

The couple, who run their own businesses, said that while they could easily get their Fica documents, they had refused as a matter of principle.

“Imagine if you came from out of town on business and decided to go to the casino for fun, and happened to win. Would you have to go all the way back to where you came from to get your documents before they could pay you out?” asked Singh in disbelief.

“If that is the principle, they should ask you for Fica before they take your money.”

The couple, who pointed out they were “not high-rollers”, said the drama began on Tuesday night when they decided to have dinner and take a chance at the casino after a successful week at work.

“We had R5 000 in cash when we went into the casino. However, I withdrew R14 000 more at 9pm and another R10 000 a few hours later,” said Singh.

“As the night progressed, whenever Roshan won, he would give me the chips.”

The first problem encountered was at 3am on Wednesday when after a few good rounds on the tables, Roopnarian managed to increase his chips to R85 000, Singh said.

“We had made some money and I told him we should call it quits. When I went to cash the chips, I was told I could not because I needed his ID and Fica documents. Despite me having my ID, they refused,” she said.

Singh said Roopnarian, however, continued to gamble with some of the chips he had won and within three hours had lost R31 000.

However, when they tried to cash the remaining R54 000, casino staff allegedly demanded his ID, he said.

The couple, who earlier vowed never to return to Suncoast again, relented somewhat when Roopnarian, ID book in hand, went in at about 4pm on Wednesday to cash in his chips.

Kelly Graham, communications manager at Suncoast, said they were aware of the incident and were investigating.

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