Sat, Apr 27, 8:50pm by Kevin Pitstock
A Vietnamese immigrant is having trouble convincing Australian officials that his revenues came from baccarat winnings, not his business. Meanwhile, judges for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal are having a hard time believing the man’s story that he knows a system which can’t lose at the baccarat table.
A tax evasion inquiry for a man who immigrated to Australia from Vietnam in 1991 turned strange when the man claimed his money came from gambling, not business. The Vietnamese-Australian businessman claimed his business has shown only a modest profit over the years. The man also claims he and his brother were losing gamblers, until he learned on a trip to Vietnam in 2006 a trick for beating baccarat that would make him a winner 95% of the time.
The man claims he and his brother went to the casinos to play using this system and, sure enough, won 95 out of 100 trips to the casino. His biggest problem was to avoid raising the suspicions of the management at the Star Casino in Sydney. The tax evader claimed he and his brother agreed to restrict winnings to $10,000 per visit. At one point, his brother flatly told the man they won $24 a minute.
When the Administrative Appeals Tribunal looked at the Star Casino’s financial records, they found the gambler had indeed been a losing player in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2008, though, the man won over $464,000 and received 41 different checks from the Star Casino cashier. Management at the casino claimed the payouts of nearly a half-a-million dollars was an extraordinary amount over that extended period of time. The man went on to claim he used the system all the way into 2010.
The Tribunal isn’t buying the story. Tribunal deputy president Stephen Frost called the man’s story “inherently improbable” and claimed casino records showed the man had exaggerated the extent of his winnings. Anyone who’s played at the casino knows that games can be volatile, especially when playing a game like baccarat with a house edge as low as 1.40%.
Even over a one-year period, a person can get lucky. It’s notable that he man’s winning didn’t begin until two years after he returned from Vietnam, suggesting he had two losing years followed by one winning year, well within the margin of probability for a game with a 98.6% payout percentage.
The fact the businessman was able to lose $168,791 in 2007, a year before his winning streak happened, also suggests the man’s business ventures may have been more successful than he wanted to admit. The biggest mark against the claim is logic: baccarat is a game with no strategy component.
One is just as likely to develop a method for guessing heads or tails on a coin toss. While gambling experts might expect to fool the occasional gambler into believing the opposite is true, it’s unlikely a gambler is going to convince tax auditors, who are sceptical by nature, such a story is correct. Better luck next time.
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