Last year, Safa Abdulla Al-Geabury lost £2,000,000 in just two hours gambling on the roulette tables at Ritz Club Casino in London. Such exorbitant amounts of money don’t usually mean much to billionaires like Al-Geabury, but when the check he wrote to cover the debt was returned unpaid, the London casino filed a lawsuit.
In most cases, refusing to pay a debt to a casino will immediately result in a courtroom win for the accusing party. But Al-Geabury’s situation is a bit different, and it could place the Ritz Club in hot water with regulators from the UK Gambling Commission.
Safa Abdulla Al-Geabury is an admitted problem gambler. He’s been aware of his addiction for years now, going so far as to place himself on the self-exclusion list of casinos in 2009. According to UK law, a self-excluded player should not be permitted to gamble £2 million away at the roulette tables
Nevertheless, Ritz Club has filed a lawsuit against Al-Geabury for £2.2 million, encompassing the amount the billionaire lost at the London casino on February 19, 2014, plus £200,000 in accrued interest.
According to Al-Geabury, the London casino violated its licence agreement with the UK Gambling Commission, not just by allowing him to wager outrageous amounts of money, but by coercing the 52-year old currency trader and real estate tycoon into visiting the casino in the first place.
Al-Geabury alleges that the London casino wooed him by giving him free tickets to Emirates stadium in London to watch a soccer game between Bayern Munich and Arsenal, then persuaded him to gamble by offering him a massive £5 million credit line at Mayfair’s Ritz Club.
A representative of the casino “asked why I was not coming to the Ritz Club,” explained Al-Geabury. “He then suggested I should go to the Ritz Club and said my style of play was very attractive.
“I told [the man] I was a problem gambler and that I had limited my access to my own money for that reason,” Al-Geabury continued. “He said access to money was not a problem and I would be provided with credit of up to £5 million, which I could pay back when I liked.”
Kevin Pettican, lead counsel for Al-Geabury, argued his client’s case by emphasizing the gross negligence of the London Clubs International owned establishment. Pettican stressed that Ritz Club was in violation of its own licensing agreement when it extended credit to Al-Geabury, a self-excluded problem gambler. He said the London casino displayed “undue influence and unconscionable transaction”, therefore should be held accountable for the £2,000,000 debt.
Al-Geabury has filed a counter-suit against the Ritz Club for £5.4 million, the amount which the billionaire claims to have lost at the London casino between October 2010 and February 2014, after self-excluding himself from the gambling facility.
The High Court has requested Safa Abdulla Al-Geabury undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation to assess the severity of his gambling addiction and determine whether casino employees should have been able to reasonably identify and prevent the situation.