Gambler ordered to repay $1m to Crown
During a $1.5 billion gambling spree Harry
Kakavas bet hands of $300,000 and once blew $2 million in 43 minutes at
Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
Left broke and owing millions to casinos, Mr.
Kakavas did what he knew best and took another gamble – going head to
head with Crown in court.
He sued the casino to recoup losses of $35
million, arguing it took advantage of his disability as a pathological
gambler and enticed him to gamble away his millions in 2005-06.
But again the house won.
On Tuesday, Victorian Supreme Court judge
Justice David Harper
ruled Mr. Kakavas not only failed in his case against the casino but must
repay $1 million he owed Crown.
He likely also faces paying interest and
legal costs for a trial that ran for more than five weeks.
Melbourne-born Mr. Kakavas’ gambling
obsession began in the early 1990’s with small bets using money
borrowed from friends which he put on tables of the new Crown Casino.
Later he found his fortune investing in property
on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast.
But it disappeared on the Baccarat tables of
Crown and casinos in Australia, Las Vegas and the Bahamas.
Crown wooed Kakavas away from Vegas with
private jets, limousines, boxes containing $50,000 cash and free
Justice Harper described Mr. Kakavas
„one of this country’s highest rollers”.
A man who enjoyed some „spectacular
wins”, but in the end lost „all he won and more”, he
Justice Harper said Crown could not divorce
itself from some knowledge of Mr. Kakavas’ pathological gambling
But, he said, the casino did not exploit Mr.
„Crown was not in a position to
prey on him”, Justice Harper said.
„Despite his attempts to
persuade me to the opposite conclusion, he was not a person so helplessly
trapped by his love of cards that he found it impossible to resist
Justice Harper said Mr. Kakavas used his
power to ‘exclude’ himself from the casino as a bargaining chip
when negotiating the terms of hos patronage with Crown.
Kakavas also failed to produce any evidence
of a conspiracy by Crown to exploit him, he said.
„Crown certainly wanted his
„But Crown had no conception of
Mr. Kakavas as suffering from any kind of relevant disadvantage”.
Outside court, Mr. Kakavas made no comment to
reporters as walking along a rainy Melbourne street.
Newscan, 11 december 2009
Gambling addicts losing it all
are stealing food, nappies and even baby formula as they struggle to cope
with gambling addiction.
shocking new study has found that half of all Tasmanian gambling addicts
who committed a crime as a result of their habit were first-time offenders
who held senior management positions or positions of trust.
past five years, 41 people have appeared in the Tasmanian Supreme Court
charged over gambling-related thefts involving $6.8 million.
largest theft was $4.5 million and the smallest $539.
to the Tasmanian taxpayer to jail the offenders was $3.8 million, or an
average of $263 a person a day.
cases before the courts also involved drug trafficking in an effort to fund
the gambling addiction. Six of the cases involved violent crimes.
yesterday released the findings of its new report, Nothing Left To Lose,
which calls for better consumer protection and new sentencing options for Tasmania's growing
number of gambling addicts.
author Margie Law said there was a clear link between crime and problem
the cases between 2004 and 2009, the offender had no previous convictions
and had become caught in a gambling web.
the most notable convictions was that of Tasmanian Crown prosecutor Michael
Shirley who stole $200,000 in cash, seized mostly from drug dealers, to
feed his addiction to Keno.
Shirley was jailed in 2008 and is eligible for parole in March.
Group spokesman Brendan Blomeley said new
measures had already been introduced to deal with problem gambling as a
result of a State Government review.
Federal Group holds the monopoly on poker machines and casinos in Tasmania.
Michael Aird said it would be pre-emptive to
legislate for a $1-a-spin bet limit before the Productivity Commission
finalised its report late next month.
Mercury, 21 January 2010
to get into online gambling business
Loto-Quebec plans to announce Wednesday that it's
getting into the online gambling business.
has approved Loto-Quebec's proposal to set up
online poker and other sites as part of a deal with B.C. Lottery Corp.
(BCLC) and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which operates in eastern Canada.
provincial gambling monopolies already offer online bingo, sports betting,
and gambling video games.
presentation in November, Loto-Quebec president
and CEO Alain Cousineau said his agency wants to
offer an alternative to unregulated online gambling.
gambling sites obviously do not offer an assistance program for vulnerable
players," he said.
leaves the state to pick up the costs of problem online gambling without
reaping any benefits."
unregulated online gambling websites are hosted on the Kahnawake
advocate Sol Boxenbaum told CTV's
Paul Karwatsky that Loto-Quebec's
online sites will attract new gamblers -- and new problems.
new type of gambling always attracts new people, especially now when it's a
hidden one that you can do in your den in your pajamas
when your spouse is fast asleep," said Boxenbaum.
He said Quebec is simply
legitimizing an activity that would otherwise be illegal.
the firms that are operating right now are operating illegally and now the
government is legitimizing it by saying 'well, we'll run one too.' "
Minister Raymond Bachand was to answer questions
about Loto-Quebec's online gambling gambit later
3 February 2010
plans online gambling crackdown
China plans to crack down on the online gambling
industry, including the banks and websites that support it, the Ministry of
Public Security said in a statement posted on its website.
campaign will "concentrate on investigating major and important cases
of online gambling, knock out domestic and foreign groups that organize
online gambling, and severely punish the criminal elements," the
crackdown, to be conducted between February and August, was agreed to by
eight government bodies including the Supreme Court, Propaganda bureau, the
Central Bank and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
was banned in mainland China
after the Communist takeover in 1949, the exceptions being two state
lotteries -- one run by the sports ministry to fund the building of
casinos, overseas conglomerates and illegal syndicates have sprung up to
fill the gap.
statement said it will severely punish those who run underground banks and
third-party payment platforms that provide banking services needed for
gambling. As in pornography crackdowns, website operators will also be
is the latest in a series of curbs on the country's relatively
free-wheeling online world, one of the few arenas for people from across China
to interact in large groups, share information and criticize the
long-running anti-pornography drive has netted many sites with politically
sensitive or even simply user-generated content, in what many see as an
effort by the Chinese government to reassert control over new media.
protests in Iran after a
contested presidential election alerted Beijing to the potential for protesters
and dissidents to use social media to spread their message.
China has banned Google's Youtube
since March 2009, when a Tibetan exile film documenting the injuries and
death of a Tibetan protestor was published on the video sharing site. The
government began blocking Twitter, Flickr and Facebook last summer.
News, 9 February 2010
proves online gambling bans fail; studies show
January 1st of 2007, Germany
had, as a nation, banned online gambling. The legislation was enacted in
order to preserve the monopoly on gambling held by the state. Despite this
ban, almost two million Germans continue to gamble online.
numbers showed that 22% of all net surfers have played or do play online
poker. This equates to roughly 400,000 players. Online sportsbooks
also accounted for a large number of Internet gamblers, bringing 18% of the
players to different sports betting sites. Additionally, the research
showed that 15% of all German online gamblers were female.
In the United States, it has been estimated that
there are over 5 million online gamblers in the United
States, ranging from the best online casinos to USA
online poker rooms. The United
States had banned gambling in 2006.
Despite this ban, online gambling continues to be a multi billion dollar
industry in the United
both nations had banned online gambling, their bans continue to be nothing
more than a slight inconvenience. Both Germany
and the United States
are contemplating repealing the legislation that would ban online gambling.
The United States'
initiative to legalize online gambling is currently working through
Congress, spearheaded by Congressman Barney Frank.
Bitkom Research was responsible for the released data
As part of the Bitkom Group of Companies, Bitkom Research has become a leading organization for
enacting studies on electronics and entertainment from around the world.
USA Online Gambling News, 9
Guessing gamblers’ behaviours
Yin, associate professor of the School
of Business of the
Macau Polytechnic Institute (IPM) has developed the technology to recognise
gamblers’ behaviours by using artificial intelligence (AI)
Chan developed the AI technology that comes up with the formula to guess
gamblers’ gaming behaviours as well as the “winning
technology is most often used to optimize aircraft performance through
developing flight control systems that can identify aircraft
professor Chan has developed a calculation model by using the technology to
predict the stakes the online gamblers will put on a bet in the next round.
The miscalculation is less than USD 10 cents, said the press release.
software can also calculate the profit and loss in each round of gambling
and that technology can be applied to different gamblers with the same
addition, the professor also found that the gamblers can cast the
“winning formula” without putting bets consecutively.
believed that the technology will benefit the related departments, gambling
sectors, economists, sociologists and psychologists.
technology has also received the coverage of Scientific American, a popular
scientific periodical in the United States.
Macau Daily Times, 28 December 2009
Betsson takes Socially Responsible Operator 2009
HAS WON THE SOCIALLY Responsible Operator of the Year trophy at the EGR
Swedish operator beat off shortlisted rivals including 888, UK National
Lottery operator Camelot, Ladbrokes, PartyGaming
and Rupert Murdoch’s SkyBet to scoop the
prize, with judges recognising the company’s ‘substance over
form; commitment above and beyond duty and detailed execution and
the award, Betsson responsible gaming and
corporate social responsibility manager Hillevi Stuhrenberg said:
“Fair and fun gaming is our core concept and I am very glad that has
trophy was presented last night at London’s
Old Billingsgate Market at a gala dinner and awards ceremony on the first
night of EGR Live, eGaming
Review's two-day conference and exhibition for
Betsson was shortlisted for achievements in the last year
including pursuing a multi-channel media approach to sending the
responsible gaming message that has ranged radio and print notices to
presentations at festivals. The operator also awards two annual research
scholarships in the area of gambling and problem gambling.
shortlisted for the award were 888, Camelot, PartyGaming
which was specially commended by the judges, was shortlisted for having
demonstrated its commitment to social responsibility by launching a new
system, The Observer, to flag up problem gambling by detecting players
early on who run the risk of being addicted, as well as having redesigned
its software and website so as not to appeal to young people.
made the shortlist for its strong focus on corporate and social
responsibility demonstrated by the development of a worldwide responsible
gaming framework through chief executive Dianne Thompson’s
co-chairmanship of the World Lottery Association, with close to 140
companies in 75 countries now signed up to the initiative.
put itself in the frame by implementing new measures aimed at ensuring the
company meets the requirements of the Gambling Commission’s three key
licensing objectives – to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure
gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and the
vulnerable from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
PartyGaming, last year’s Socially Reponsible
Award winner, made the list for building on its foundations in this area
with initiatives including working with behaviourial
analytical experts Featurespace to gain a deeper
understanding of transactional behaviour of gaming customer to identify and
prevent problem gambling before it occurs - and promises to share its
findings with the rest of the industry.
SkyBet was shortlisted for its having instigating new
internal and external training of its customer care staff to spot potential
problem gamblers, which is soon to be supported by a knowledge exchange
programme with gambling charity GamCare.
eGaming Review, 1 December 2009
Safeguards to aid gamblers
A slew of
safeguards were announced by the National Council on Problem Gambling
(NCPG) on Friday to help problem gamblers.
will a voluntary stop-loss service, where patrons can limit their losses
before they start gaming. There are also limits on credit facilities.
and permanent residents will not be allowed to use credit or debit cards in
will be accepted, and since there are no ATMs in the casino, patrons will
have to get out of the casino to load up their pockets. This will give them
a chance to think about the money they are spending, said the NCPG.
on problem gambling will also be prominently displayed in the Casino and
staff will be trained to detect and deal with problem gambling cases.
on top of the entry levy for Permanent Residents and Singaporeans and the
about 29,000 have been banned from the casinos.
Straits Times, 29 January 2010
Swedish city to block online gambling
gambling laws are a bit fuzzy when it comes to gambling on the internet.
All land-based gambling in the country is currently monopolized by the
state-run Svenska Spel,
and this company’s reach officially extends to include online
gambling as well, but their monopoly online is not strongly enforced. Loose
attempts have been made by the Swedish government to keep players from
accessing foreign internet
gambling sites, but in fact no formal rules have been
established, and Swedish players find it easy to gamble online using
however, has decided to take matters into its own hands. In a recent study,
officials monitored the use of the city’s 8,000 public computers to
see how students and employees spend their time online. The results were
astonishing – up to 80% of internet bandwidth was used for illegal
file sharing, and a combined total of 1,300 hours were spent visiting
websites associated with pornography and internet gambling. In addition to
these direct records, indirect evidence of attempts to cover IP addresses
and to anonymize web surfing activities point to
even more illicit use.
to control the use of “inappropriate websites” such as Swedish
poker rooms or file sharing websites on public computer, Jonkoping officials have ordered
technology updates at a cost of nearly SEK 500,000 ($70,000). These web
filters will allow managers to see exactly how computers are being used,
and to block online casino and other websites.
these are public computers, the owners are within their rights to control
how they are used. Players using their own computers can freely access online gambling
sites in Sweden, but so long as they are using
public computers, Jonkoping
have the final word.
United Kingdom -
watchdog bans contentious gambling ad
internet ad campaign for an online gambling site in the UK has been removed from
circulation by the local Advertising Standards Authority after the watchdog
organization received several complaints calling the adverts “irresponsible”.
The advertisements promoted a website called Prime Scratchcards,
which offers instant-win games over the internet to UK players.
several advertisements in the campaign, the most problematic one featured
an image of a woman holding a baby. The text read as follows:
am a single mom & I live on family benefits, I played and won
£46,799 and it is incredible for me. I was very stressed for my son's
future and I couldn't sleep, now that I won I know that I can help my son
build a better future."
complaints received by the Advertising Standards Authority said that the
advertisement exploits vulnerable people by claiming to offer a solution to
debt – a solution which is not guaranteed to be helpful in all
situations. The ASA agreed, saying that the ads "suggested gambling
was a solution to financial worries and encouraged gambling behaviour that
could lead to financial and emotional harm".
PrimeGaming, the owner of Prime Scratchcards,
was contacted by the ASA about the advertisements. They removed the ads
immediately, even before the ASA could rule, citing “errors” as
their reason for pulling the campaign.
campaign ran on Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft's
network of websites. The ads were viewed more than a billion times before they were
that offer internet
gambling in the United Kingdom are subject to
strict regulations when it comes to advertising. The Department for
Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) laid out these guidelines back in August
2007, after which around 1,000 advertisements were pulled for not complying
with the new rules. The guidelines were established in an attempt to
prevent unregulated gambling sites from attracting players. Today, the DCMS
warns that organizations found breaching these rules may face fines or even
The gambler who blew $127 million
year-long gambling binge at the Caesars
Palace and Rio
casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million.
is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It
devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, he says, which he built
up over more than two decades running his family's party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb. It also benefitted
the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which derived
about 5.6% of its Las Vegas
gambling revenue from Mr. Watanabe that year.
Wall Street Journal, 5 December 2009