Time to Talk: Gambling.

To-day we have the breaking story of one Graham Calvert, 28 years old and a gambler who lost. And he lost big time. The beeb tells the story well but it’s on all the airways downhole1.gifso you’ll hardly have missed it! Check here to start with:- How a gambling addict lost £2.1m

Interesting…isn’t it? This successful young guy is obviously pretty talented when it comes to his career but can’t say no to a bet. In his case he bet in thousands not pounds and even bet £347,000 on America to win the 2006 Ryder Cup. Now setting aside, for the moment, the thought that anyone who bets the gormless Yanks to win a team golf game gets everything he deserves when he loses….. don’t you feel just a little sorry for the guy?

Time was you had to go into a bookies to place a bet or take the trouble to join a casino or travel to a race track but now…. just lifting the phone or logging on to a website gives you instant access 365/24/7 to thousands of ways to lose your savings!

The evidence is that Graham figured he had a problem. Of course, like all gamblers, he only figured he had a problem on the days he lost! On the days he won he probably thought he’d found a really easy way to turn a profit and make quick money.

So what’s to be made of Graham’s suing of the bookmakers for £2.1 Million? The grounds of the case are that he “self-excluded” from gambling and closed his account with William Hill. The BBC have a transcript of the call when he closed his account.

This is what was said:-

J: “Hi Mr Calvert , you’re through to John, team leader here. I understand you want to close the account?”

GC: “Yes please, yeah.”

J : “Can you tell me why that is please?”

GC: “‘Cos it’s just far too easy to gamble.”

J: “Right, so do you want to be self-excluded at this point then? Which means you will not be able to open the account with us again within the next six months?”

GC: “That’s right, aye.”

J: “Right, well, what I’ll do is I’ll pass on all the relevant information.”

GC: “Right.”

J: “The account will now be closed, you will not be able to open it within the next six months.”

After a discussion about returning the remaining funds in the account to Mr Calvert, he’s told by J: “But the money will be returned to your account and the account will now be closed for the next six months.

“You will not be allowed to open it under any circumstances. You will not be allowed to bet over the phone with William Hill.”

Don’t you just love the way everything said on the phone is recorded now?

So… that should be ok then.. yes? Except, of course, as a gambler he could not resist the lure of another bet and opened another account with Hill’s, in his own name, and placed that famous Ryder Cup bet. Now he is taking the company to court and claiming that they broke their rules by allowing him to open another account within his “self- exclusion” period.

I wonder if he had won and Hill’s had refused to pay out would this guy be suing them for NOT paying out!? Just a thought…..

And so we have a fascinating court case to exercise our minds! Who’s responsible for a gambler’s actions? The gambler or the bookie? At what point does a bookie have to say to someone… “Enough .. no more… stop throwing your money away!”

So… what do you think? Has he got a case? Did he just throw his money down a bottomless hole or does the bookie really have to exercise a duty of care to the punter?

If Graham wins this case can bookies continue to operate at all?




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