Harry Kakavas has gambled $1.5 billion over 14 months at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia in 2005-2006. Playing baccarat, Kakavas would bet up to $300,000 a hand.
Suing the casino for losses and damages for the sum of $35 million "only", the court has freed the casino of duty to the high roller. Instead he owes the casino $1 million, and probably court expenses too.
Justice David Harper ruled that while the gambler could have used Crown Casino's self-exclusion program, he had continuously bargained for better deals, which he got in the form of private jets to fly in to Melbourne and other high-roller benefits.
The justice said: "I am satisfied that, had Mr Kakavas wished to escape the enticements of the casino, he could have done so with ease. He could have arranged for self-exclusion."
Free Choice or Politics
In this case, the court has ruled to protect a person's free choice. In this context, a casino has no general duty to protect gamblers from themselves.
Leader of Family First, Australian Senator Steve Fielding, has called following the ruling for the Prime minister to step in and get involved.
The Federal Government, Fielding said, should "step in and change the laws regarding gambling inducements."
Seemingly at odds with the free choice principle that the court has stated, Senator Fielding added that the Federal Government needs to protect the states as well. "The states are never going to do anything in this area because they are addicted to the revenue they make from gambling," said Fielding.