It would seem like Maui County Corporation Counsel Patrick “The Gambler” Wong’s luck has turned, and not for the better. On Saturday, May 14, The Maui News reported that Wong’s latest financial disclosure statement reports that he only won “between $1,000 and $9,999” in Las Vegas last year.
For most people, this would be wonderful news. But for Wong, who enjoys playing poker, craps and slots in Vegas hotels like Harrah’s and the MGM Grand, usually brings home a lot more in winnings. Last year, I went through Wong’s disclosure statements dating back to 2011 (the county’s website hasn’t yet been updated to include Wong’s most recent filing). “[T]hey show that since 2011, Wong has earned somewhere between $500,000 and $1.2 million gambling in Vegas,” I wrote in our June 17, 2015 cover story “Maui County Corporation Counsel Pat Wong loves gambling in Las Vegas. And he wins a lot, too.”
Though the forms show that since 2012, Wong hasn’t brought home less than $50,000 in winnings from Vegas, Wong’s gambling success was largely a secret–even among his colleagues in the county. An search through The Maui News’ online archives also indicates that their May 14 story was the first time the paper had written about Wong’s gambling.
In any case, Wong wouldn’t talk to me last year when I started asking county officials about Wong’s lucrative hobby.
“He doesn’t want to talk,” county Communications Director Rod Antone told me a few days before my 2015 story came out. “Not because he’s being cagey, but because he doesn’t want to jinx it. And if he starts losing after this article comes out, he’s gonna blame you.”
But hey–winning between a grand and 10 grand is still winning, right? Right?!
June 18, 2015 cover design: Darris Hurst
Photo of Patrick Wong: County of Maui