The Australian gambling group Tabcorp's latest financial results reveal a massive negative hit to the company's bottom line - the result of a dud cheque for A$11.5 million from a high-rolling gambler at one of the company's casinos.

Releasing its financial results for the first half of the 2008/09 financial year, Tabcorp reported this week that it had made a bad debt provision of A$11.5 million in respect of a single customer.

Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper told reporters that Tabcorp did not provide credit to players but did provide cash-chequing facilities. Asked if the player in question had cashed a cheque for A$11.5 million and the cheque had bounced, Funke Kupper said: "Yep".

The casino executive declined to identify the casino where the cheque bounced, the whale involved or the country of origin, but said the gambler was an international player known throughout the region.

"These are people who play very large amounts of money over time," he said. "They tend to be baccarat players, in some cases playing between a hundred and three hundred thousand dollars a hand, so these are very significant players. Therefore it is not unusual to have substantial facilities in place for some of these people."

The casino executive explained that worldwide there were perhaps 10 to 30 players who gambled such big stakes.

Funke Kupper confirmed that Tabcorp was seeking to recover the money owed to it. "Like any business you expect your money back," he said.

"The reality of this business is every now and then you get this, we got it, we make no excuses for happened early in the half, nothing else happened during the half," he concluded.

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