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The Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd v Mr Safa Al Geabury [2015] EWHC 2294 (QB)

In a case that has attracted considerable media attention, Marc Delehanty of Littleton Chambers has successfully represented the Ritz Hotel Casino in a claim against an individual, Mr Safa Abdulla Al Geabury, who lost £2million playing roulette. In the High Court today, 31 July 2015, Mrs Justice Simler handed down judgment for the £2million claimed plus interest and awarded costs on the indemnity basis. Marc was led by Clive Freedman QC and was instructed by PCB Litigation LLP.

Mr Al Geabury defended the claim, and counterclaimed for £4million of past losses, on the basis of his allegations that he had a gambling addiction and that the casino staff were aware of this and that, in any event, he should not have been allowed to gamble having previously signed a voluntary self-exclusion agreement form ("VSE”) with the casino in November 2009.

Ultimately, the judge found that the Defendant did not have any gambling disorder. Notwithstanding expert psychiatric evidence in support, the Defendant’s case on addiction was undermined by the paucity of contemporaneous documentation relating to medical treatment he claimed to have received and also contradicted by the patterns of his gambling apparent from the records of other casinos (in London and abroad). 

Further, Mrs Justice Simler held that, as a matter of law, VSEs can be lawfully revoked and that, on the facts of this case, the VSE of November 2009 was lawfully revoked in compliance with the terms of the Claimant’s casino licence and the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005.

Obtaining disclosure from the Defendant had been a key battleground in this litigation. The Defendant’s compliance with his obligations was scrutinised across a number of hotly contested pre-trial hearings at which Marc appeared unled and secured orders for specific disclosure and inspection from the High Court in respect of Mr Al Geabury’s medical records, records of gambling at other casinos, bank statements, and emails.

Marc’s contribution to the success of the Ritz’s legal team at trial can be seen from paragraph 16 of the judgment where Mrs Justice Simler relied upon the "careful analysis of the records” of the Defendant’s gambling at casinos worldwide which were "painstakingly analysed by Mr Delehanty” as demonstrating that the Defendant could control when and how much he gambled.

The full judgment may be accessed here: [2015] EWHC 2294 (QB).

Links to press coverage:

The Guardian, 31 July 2015

The Express, 31 July 2015

The Daily Mail, 31 July 2015

The Mirror, 29 June 2015

The Express, 29 June 2015

The Evening Standard, 11 June 2015

The Daily Mail, 11 June 2015

Click here for more details of Marc’s practice.

Posted: 31.07.2015 at 17:01
Tags:  Cases  Commercial Law
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