Crown Resorts Sued by Man Who Alleges Casino Aware of His Gambling Problem

Posted on: August 10, 2021, 07:20h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2021, 11:47h.

Crown Resorts is being sued by a man who claims the casino continually enticed and allowed him to gamble, despite knowing of his addiction to the roulette table.

Crown Resorts Melbourne casino
Crown Melbourne has been named in a lawsuit alleging that the casino failed to prevent a known problem gambler from continuing to access the property’s roulette tables. Crown Resorts is fighting for its life in Victoria, as the state continues to determine if its casino license should be revoked. (Image: AP)

Attorneys representing Ahmed Hasna allege in court documents that their client was a severe problem gambler. The legal complaint contends that Hasna visited Crown Melbourne nearly three to four times a week, every week, between 1993 and 2019. 

Hasna racked up considerable losses, and people close to him tried to convince casino staff to ban him from gambling. Hasna’s mother, the litigation claims, even went to the casino twice pleading with staff to prevent her son from gambling away “all of the family’s money.”

Hasna’s lawsuit argues that Crown did not heed mom’s calls, and instead continued allowing him access. He was eventually banned by the casino in December of 2020.

Multimillion-Dollar Challenge

The evidence of a gambling problem, Hasna’s lawyers assert, was overwhelming. They claim their client was invited to Crown Melbourne’s prestigious VIP Mahogany Room even after he gambled away AU$100,000 (US$73,400) in chips he purchased with a check that later bounced. 

On another occasion, Hasna was lured to Crown Melbourne with free Phil Collins tickets. He lost AU$30,000 on the roulette tables while stopping by the casino to claim them. Crown Melbourne additionally afforded Hasna tickets to the 2017 AFL Grand Final. Crown canceled the Australian soccer match passes after Hasna was discovered trying to scalp the tickets.

The lawsuit discloses that the Hasna family sold his sister’s Newport beach home in New South Wales to pay off some of his gambling debts.

Hasna is reportedly no longer a problem gambler and has reconciled with his wife and children, though he is said to have an estranged relationship with his parents and siblings.

Hasna’s lawsuit seeks AU$4,593,000 (US$3.37 million) in damages. 

Crown Brass Admits Shortcomings

Hasna’s case was one item of focus during Victoria’s ongoing suitability inquiry into Crown Resorts. The Australian state is reviewing whether Crown’s inadequacies in protecting its resorts from being used to launder money and the casino group’s alleged links to organized crime throughout Asia, render the company unfit to continue holding its gaming license.

A similar inquiry in New South Wales concluded that Crown isn’t qualified to conduct casino operations at its Sydney resort complex. The verdict in Victoria is set to be handed down by October 15. 

In testimony before the Victory inquiry, Peter Lawrence, head of VIP customer service at Crown Resorts, said Crown Melbourne should have done more in the Hasna case.

It was irresponsible,” Lawrence declared. When asked if it was predatory, Lawrence answered, “Yes. It’s a strong word, but possibly, yes.”

Hasna’s odds of winning his case, however, aren’t exactly strong. Australia’s High Court in 2013 ruled “There is no general duty upon a casino to protect gamblers from themselves.”  

More important to Crown is retaining its casino permit in Melbourne. Attorneys assisting the state inquiry have recommended that Crown Resorts lose its gaming privileges. However, a recent note from gaming analysts at JPMorgan predicts that Crown will ultimately retain its casino license.