Australian high-roller Harry Kakavas loses lawsuit against casino

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 1:49am


An Australian property mogul yesterday lost his lawsuit against the nation's largest casino after wagering more than A$1 billion (HK$7.5 billion) and losing over A$20 million in the process.

High-roller Harry Kakavas sued Melbourne's Crown Casino to recoup his losses, alleging it lured him with gifts and private jet flights, while knowing he was a compulsive gambler who was barred from a Sydney casino.

Kakavas bet A$1.43 billion over 16 months on baccarat at the Crown and ran up net losses of A$20.5 million. He argued that the casino ought to repay him because it had exploited his "pathological urge to gamble".

But the High Court of Australia threw out his case.

"The court did not accept that the appellant's pathological interest in gambling was a special disadvantage which made him susceptible to exploitation by Crown," the judges said.

"He was able to make rational decisions in his own interests, including deciding from time to time to refrain from gambling.

"Crown did not knowingly victimise the appellant by allowing him to gamble at its casino."

Kakavas was described by the initial judge assessing his case as a prolific gambler who had tried his luck in Las Vegas and Macau.