The gambling industry has had its fair share of controversial incidents over the years and nothing is more controversial than a good old-fashioned court case with millions of dollars at stake. Here are our top 5 gambling court cases that have rocked the gambling world:
Phil Ivey vs Crockfords
Arguably the most famous gambling court case in history is one that is actually still ongoing. Professional poker player Phil Ivey is currently involved in legal proceedings with London casino Crockfords.
Earlier this year, Ivey appeared at a UK-based appeals court to launch an appeal against the 2014 High Court decision that determined Ivey had used improper methods to win £7.8 million at the former gentlemen’s club situated in the English capital city.
The whole court case came about when Crockfords refused to pay out on Ivey’s winnings after it carried out an investigation into his mini-baccarat gaming at the venue back in 2012.
He was playing at the table with his partner Cheung Yin Sun. It was an almost identical situation to the controversy surrounding Ivey’s play at the Borgata that saw $9.6 million winnings contested by the Las Vegas casino.
An appeal decision on the Crockfords case is expected later this year and the verdict could have a knock-on effect for the Borgata case.
Pauline McKee vs Isle Hotel Casino
It is the stuff of a slot machine player’s dreams to win $41,797,550.16 but that is exactly what happened to 87 year old Illinois-based grandmother Pauline McKee at Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo, Iowa.
The experienced slots player was chancing her arm on the IGT-developed Miss Kitty slot at the casino during a family trip to the state when she had seemingly triggered the multi-million pound jackpot sum when playing the game with her daughter.
Unfortunately, it would prove to be just a dream and nothing more for McKee.
When McKee and her daughter went to claim their jackpot prize from the casino management they were told that the win was allegedly due to a computer glitch and the winnings could not be paid out. McKee then took the decision to sue the casino and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
The court ruled in favour of the casino and decided that McKee had only been due winnings to the value of $1.85 with rules on the machine stating it only carried a maximum payout amount of $10,000.
Safa Abdulla Al Geabury vs Ritz Club
Safa Abdulla Al Geabury is a 53 year old Swiss businessman who was thrown into the public spotlight after a fateful trip to the Ritz Club, a casino located in the basement of the London-based Ritz Hotel, back in 2015.
As a night of heavy gambling started to unfold, Al Geabury wrote a cheque for the value of £2 million payable to the casino in order to continue his time at the roulette tables.
However, Al Geabury’s cheque was never honoured and the Ritz Club never received payment from the businessman. Al Geabury attempted to get out of paying the multi-million pound debt by claiming he was a renowned gambling addict and the casino should never have allowed him to gamble at their tables.
The judge presiding over the case ruled that Al Geabury was to pay the full amount of his debt. Despite claiming to be a billionaire, the businessman failed to pay the money owed and was eventually sentenced to 10 months in jail for contempt of court.
Bruno Venturi vs EuroBet Casino
This entry is unique because it is the only case relating to online gambling on this list. Bruno Venturi was a 41 year old Italian man playing at the Surrey-based online casino EuroBet when he triggered a £650,000 jackpot from an £18 bet on the website’s Sixty Seconds lottery game back in 2009.
Even though the online casino initially congratulated Venturi on his jackpot win it later refused to pay out his winnings blaming the win on a computer glitch.
Venturi took the case all the way to the High Court but it was ruled that the pet shop worker would not receive a single penny of his winnings after it was confirmed that the glitch had been covered in the game’s terms and conditions.
The glitch had meant that Venturi only paid for one in every six of his bets at the online casino which had a huge impact on his odds of success and was out of the control of EuroBet.
Christian Hainz vs Two Swiss Casinos
Compulsive gambler Christian Hainz became a figure of controversy in 2004 when he successfully managed to win a court case against two Switzerland-based casinos, owned by Casinos Austria, over a disputed sum of €2.5 million.
Hainz has alleged that he had lost the sum of money at two Swiss casinos over a three year betting binge on the blackjack and roulette tables. The 40 year old claimed that the money should be handed back to him due to his gambling addiction.
Hainz stated that he had visited the two casinos over 100 times during a period between 1997 and 2000. He claimed that workers and management at the casinos were fully aware of his condition and had proceeded to take advantage and manipulate him to keep him at the tables by not limiting his excesses.
In a landmark ruling, Casinos Austria were ordered to reimburse Hainz for the figure of €499,729 at the Austrian Appeals Court.