There are plenty of places to gamble in Sydney but surely the people who choose to enter them and gamble are entirely responsible for any and all the money they lose? Is it just rubbish to try and argue that a casino made you lose all your money and get compensation for it? Whatever you think, one man tried to do exactly that.
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Harry Kakavas went to the High Court to argue that Crown Casino victimised him and made him lose 20 million dollars over a year. He claimed that the casino knew he had a gambling problem and that they offered him incentives to go there, including the use of a private jet.
Kakavas could be classed as a high-roller, a businessman on the Gold Coast who would often make a turnover of about one and a half billion dollars. The life blood of casinos are high-rollers and so plenty of incentives are used to encourage them to come back time after time. Not only was Kakavas given private jet rides to take him from the Gold Coast to Crown Casino in Melbourne, he was also given free luxury accommodation, gift boxes of cash and one and a half million dollars in credit. That’s certainly a lot to just get one man down to play at the tables.
Originally he tried to argue a negligence claim against the casino but when that looked like it would fail he changed his argument to one regarding poor treatment of a consumer by breaching consumer laws. However, from Crown’s side they didn’t do anything wrong. They may have allegedly been aware of Kakavas gambling problem and history of law proceedings against other casinos but he did present to the casino each time as a man who could afford to gamble and, more importantly, afford to lose large amounts of money. He would often come to the casino and place initial deposits of up to a million dollars.
As a result of this appearance of capability, the High Court decided that there was not enough premeditated or predatory behaviour to suggest that Crown Casino had actually gone out of its way to get such a large sum of money off Kakavas. To be realistic, he was the one accepting the incentives and deciding to continue to gamble.
It’s not just casinos that get drawn into gambling-related compensation cases, have a read of A Gamble on Love: The Not So Happily Married Couple Could Find Themselves in Family Court if They Win Big on Lotto to find out more.