No Legal Requirement for Irish Casinos to Pay Punters

Imagine visiting an Irish casino and losing €9,000 playing an automated roulette machine, only to return the next day to win €11,713 on the same machine, thus turning a tidy profit. All’s well that ends well, you may surmise concerning your roller coaster gambling ride, but unfortunately that’s not the way it turned out for Sayed Mirwais who was subsequently refused payment at the D1 Casino in Dublin.
The incident happened on March 2nd, when after Mr Mirwais, 36, experienced his winning streak the casino had the machine inspected by an engineer who then claimed that there had been a malfunction. Mirwais has since brought a lawsuit against Automatic Amusements Ltd director Michael Donnelly, who owns the D1 Casino, but ultimately the judge sided with the casino, stating that it was not legally obliged to honor any gambling winnings.
According to Judge Francis Comerford, Ireland’s Gaming and Lottery Act (1956) makes it clear that “no action shall lie for the recovery of any money or thing which is alleged to be won.” Elaborating further on the bizarre law, Comerford stated:
“If you happen to be too lucky while placing a bet or gambling, the person can simply say ‘no you’re not entitled to the money’. That is simply the law in Ireland.”
According to recent research conducted by H2 Gambling Capital, Irish gamblers are the world third biggest losers per capita, losing on average €470 per annum. However, it seems like even if they win, there is no guarantee they will be able to collect payment for their good fortune, and as Mr Mirwais explains:
“When I was losing my money, the machine was ok and the casino was happy to take it, but when I won, they wanted to investigate.”
Nevertheless, Ireland’s bizarre gambling law applies equally to the country’s casinos, bookies and online gambling sites, and in 2015 a High Court ruling found in favor of Irish punter John O’Shea who lost €118,058 on a Heineken Cup rugby match, but subsequently refused to pay Sporting Index Ltd, the operator with whom he placed the bet.

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