Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gambler Suffers One More Loss; Judge Backs Bookies as Punter Destined for Ruin

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gambler Suffers One More Loss; Judge Backs Bookies as Punter Destined for Ruin

Article excerpt

A COMPULSIVE gambler who lost more than pounds 2m has now lost his High Court claim for compensation and damages from bookmaker William Hill.

Mr Justice Briggs ruled that the bookies had a duty to take reasonable care to exclude Graham Calvert, 28, from telephone gambling after he asked them to stop taking his money.

But he said that although William Hill had failed to take reasonable steps to implement its own self-exclusion policy, pathological gambling would still probably have led to his financial ruin, but over a longer time.

Mr Justice Briggs said: "William Hill's failure to take reasonable care to exclude him from telephone gambling ... did not therefore cause Mr Calvert any measurable financial or other loss." He dismissed his claim. Mr Calvert sued William Hill after he said he had lost not only money but also his wife, health and livelihood.

Anneliese Day, who represented the greyhound trainer at the High Court in London, told the judge at a hearing last month that William Hill should be held liable because it had failed to operate its own policy.

She said Mr Calvert, of Sedgletch Farm, Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, was hoping to establish in law for the first time that bookies do owe a duty of care.

She said the scale of her client's gambling was "staggering" in periods of mania, when he placed huge multiple bets in a few hours. He lost pounds 347,000 in one bet alone when he backed the US to win the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Miss Day said her client, who ended up borrowing to fund his habit, was an accomplished greyhound trainer who ran the family business from a farm in County Durham. He was once comfortably well-off and had been gambling most of his life.

"The claimant's descent from betting being a hobby to betting being a disorder appears to have commenced when he began betting by telephone. …

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