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Gambler’s claims of being exploited by casino thrown out by court

A Swiss gambler has failed in his bid to avoid a hefty gambling debt after being unable to convince the courts that he was a vulnerable gambling addict.

Swiss property tycoon Safa Abdulla Al-Geabury owed the Ritz club in London £2 million ($3.1m or €2.8m) after a frantic gambling spree back in February 2014. Mr Al-Geabury had bought chips worth £2 million with a check, which subsequently bounced. When the casino later approached him to pay back the debt, he refused stating that the casino had exploited his blatant gambling addiction.

The defendants case hinged on convincing the court that he had previously asked The Ritz’s parent company LCI to exclude him from all their venues. He claimed he had submitted a form that read: “I have brain problem. I am addict of gambling.”

The honorable Mrs. Justice Simler, who presided over the case, had little sympathy with Al-Geabury, stating the defendant “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.”

The judged added, “At the heart of Mr Al-Geabury’s defense to this claim is his case that he suffers from ‘a very severe and serious gambling addiction which he is unable to control’ and for which he claimed he was receiving treatment as at April 8, 2014.”

The judgement went in favor of the casino in all counts: “evidence was a far cry from establishing the defendant’s account.”
Mr Al-Geabury was ordered to promptly pay back the gambling debt to the casino.