March 12, 2008 / 11:54 AM / 10 years ago

Gambling Addict Loses Case Against UK Bookmaker

LONDON (Reuters) - A compulsive gambler on Wednesday failed in his bid to force British bookmaker William Hill (WMH.L) to repay losses of more than two million pounds.

Graham Calvert, a greyhound trainer, was suing for negligence and compensation for personal injuries at the High Court in London.

The 28-year-old, described by his lawyers as a “pathological gambler,” claimed he had lost more than two million pounds, his marriage, livelihood and health as a result of a 6-month gambling spree in 2006.

But Justice Michael Briggs said William Hill had no legal responsibility to protect its customers from the consequences of their gambling.

“William Hill owed no common law duty in 2006 to its known problem-gambler customers to protect them from the financial and psychological consequences of their gambling,” he said.

The judge added as far as Calvert was concerned, William Hill’s failure to take care to exclude him from telephone gambling in the second half of 2006 did not cause him any measurable financial or other loss.

“Had William Hill taken care to exclude Mr Calvert from telephone gambling for six months, his pathological gambling disorder would still probably have brought about his financial ruin, but over a longer period of time,” he said.

“This is because he would have continued to gamble both at William Hill’s betting shops and with other bookmakers.”

    Calvert had suffered a deterioration in his gambling disorder during the six months, the judge observed.

    William Hill called the decision a victory for common sense.

    “We stated from the outset that there was no case to answer to Mr Calvert and that no duty of care was owed to him in this instance,” said David Hood, director of public relations at William Hill.

    He added in a statement: “We, along with the industry, believe that counselling is best offered by those qualified to provide it.”

    Lawyers for Calvert said the decision was disappointing. Calvert was given the right to appeal.

    Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison and Janet Lawrence

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