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Gambling addict can sue for injury

LONDON (Reuters) - A compulsive gambler who is suing bookmaker William Hill after he lost more than two million pounds, has been granted permission to expand his claim to include compensation for personal injuries.

A croupier turns the roulette at a casino in a file photo. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Greyhound trainer Graham Calvert, from Houghton Le Spring, Tyne and Wear, was already seeking damages for negligence during a hearing at the High Court in London.

But his lawyers had argued his gambling habit had cost him his marriage, livelihood and health as well as the money.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Michael Briggs granted the 28-year-old permission to widen his claim.

If the judge does ultimately award damages for both claims in this landmark case, it could increase the vulnerability of bookmakers to legal suits.

Judgement will be given in writing at a later date.

Calvert, who is said to have lost an estimated 2.1 million pounds during a six-month period, was described by his lawyers at the beginning of the hearing last week as a “pathological gambler”.

His counsel, Anneliese Day, said William Hill had been guilty of “negligent encouragement and inducement” by not acting to curb Calvert’s gambling even though he had indicated he wanted them to on at least two occasions.

Far from doing that, William Hill had sought to encourage Calvert to go on huge betting sprees, breaching their own “self-exclusion” policy, she added.

Self-exclusion enables customers to ask that their accounts be closed for six months or longer.

William Hill denies any wrongdoing and says it can not be held legally liable for Calvert’s losses.

The hearing continues.

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