Gambler Loses $20 Million At Crown CasinoMay 24, 2012 12:22 pm
An Australian property developer who claimed he was a compulsive gambler after losing $20.5 million gambling at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia has lost his legal bid to recover the money on the grounds the casino took advantage of his condition.
Between June 2005 and August 2006, Harry Kakavas visited the casino on 30 separate occasions and lost the huge sum mostly at the baccarat tables, where he would wager up to $300,000 a hand. At one time, he even lost $2.3 million in just 28 minutes. Over the 14 month period, Mr Kakavas then wagered a total of almost $1.5 billion, eventually accruing losses of $20.5 million in the process.
At the heart of the businessman’s legal argument was that the Crown Casino knew he was a pathological gambling addict, but still lured him back to the tables with an assortment of preferential allowances, including use of a private jet, as well as entertainment and cash incentives.
Nevertheless, the judge rejected Mr Kakavas’ claim that he was unable to make rational decisions on account of his pathological condition. As Justice Bongiorno explained:
“When gambling at Crown he had negotiated the terms on which he gambled and had threatened to and in fact had withheld his custom from Crown when he did not get what he wanted. These are not the characteristics of someone unable to conserve his own interests.”
A further argument made by Mr Kakavas that at one stage he lost $30 million in one losing streak was also rejected as apparently one night Mr Kakavas returned home with $14 million in winnings.
“The longer a person plays the more certain it is that he will ultimately lose. Were it otherwise casinos would fail,” Justice Bongiorno stated.
Initially, Mr Kakavas’s claim was dismissed by the Supreme Court before he decided to take it to The Court of Appeal. He has now been ordered to pay Crown’s legal costs which will run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.