A man who lost £2m at a casino failed to escape liability for his debt because he could not prove his gambling addiction

Wealthy businessman Safa Al Geabury indulged in a “frantic gambling spree” at the Ritz Hotel Casino on 19 February 2014, signing a £2m cheque for roulette chips. His request for a further £5m in credit was refused. He did not honour the cheque, and claimed he is a gambling addict who had, in 2009, asked to be banned for life from a range of casinos through a voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) agreement. Al Geabury claimed in court that an agreement for life could not be terminated.

The Ritz sued him for the unpaid sum plus interest, which was running at £438 per day.

He counterclaimed for £3.4m, or £5.4m if he was deemed liable for the cheque, with the argument that the Ritz unlawfully breached the terms of its licensing agreement by allowing him to game.

However, Mrs Justice Simler ruled against Al Geabury, in Ritz Hotel Casino v Al Geabury [2015] EWHC 2294 (QB).

Expert evidence and analysis of his gambling records brought before the court demonstrated that he had no gambling addiction.

Simler J said he: “Failed to establish that he had any gambling disorder at any material time and ultimately accepted that he never told any of the casino staff about any such problem. He was the author of his own misfortunes.” There was no general duty of care and no negligence, since the casino could not reasonably have known he was a problem gambler.

She added that the facts of the case were “highly unusual and unlikely to be repeated”.

The Ritz Club said in a statement that it was “committed to ensuring the strictest standards of care towards both our customers and staff at all times”.

Story: www.newlawjournal.co.uk

– Danielle Munroe