The Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd v Mr
Safa Al Geabury  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
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
EWHC 2294 (QB).
Links to press coverage: