Compulsive Gambler Suing Caesars Casino in Canada for $760,000

Written By Ivan P

Caesars Windsor Casino in Ontario, Canada, is being sued by an unlucky gambler who claims the casino is responsible for his loss of $260,000. The player by the name Tarwinder Shokar is asking not just for his losses back but for $500,000 in punitive damages as well.

According to the lawsuit, which also names The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the province’s regulatory body, the casino and/or the regulator failed to protect the player whom they knew (or should have known) had a gambling problem. Namely, Shokar has problems with drinking and gambling addiction and his disruptive behavior had led to bans from other casinos in the past.

Enabling Addictive Behavior

According to the lawsuit, cited losses happened across two visits to Caesars Windsor Casino back in October of 2013. On October 17, Shokar came to a casino with a draft card filled with cash and the casino provided him with a special treatment. They gave him free meals and accommodation, although he refused the latter, choosing to spend the night at home instead.

During this visit, Shokar lost $70,000 over the few hours of play. Then, some days later, he came back to the same casino and proceeded to lose another $190,000.

According to Shokar’s lawyer, the casino did everything in their power to encourage his client to keep playing during this time. They even covered hundreds of dollars’ worth of taxi bills to and from Mr. Shokar’s home and over-served him alcohol while he was playing.

Now, several years later, the player has decided to sue the casino over their failure to stop him from playing and encouraging his addictive behavior. Iain MacKinnon, the lawyer, is firm in his belief that the casino or the OLG should have been aware of the problem and shouldn’t have allowed for this to happen in the first place.

Caesars Refutes the Allegations

In the statement for Fox News, the spokesperson for Caesars Windsor defended the venue, claiming they had no way of knowing Mr. Shokar had gambling issues. The statement explains that the casino has practices in place for these types of situations and had the player informed anyone about his problem, he would have been refused the service. However, this never happened.

Caesars’ lawyer is asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit altogether, claiming Shokar was fully aware of his actions at the time. He knew what amounts he was betting and he fully understood the risks associated with placing these wagers.

According to MacKinnon, the trial should begin at the end of 2020, provided the court doesn’t dismiss the lawsuit. If this happens, the total amount Shokar will be asking for is $760,000.

Not the First Player to Sue Over His Losses

Although it may seem frivolous, Shokar isn’t the first player to try and sue casino for letting them lose their money and encourage them to gamble. There’s been a number of similar incidents in which patrons turned to courts and lawyers to try and recover their losses claiming a casino failed to act responsibly and protect them from themselves.

Back in 2009, a high roller sued Melbourne’s Crown Casino over a loss exceeding AUD 20 million after they allowed him back despite the fact he had self-excluded from the property earlier. Although it seemed like Harry Kakavas’ case had legs to stand on, Australian High Court dismissed his lawsuit. The judge claimed the millionaire was able to make rational decisions at the time and it was his choice to gamble, so Crown Casino was not at fault.

Terrance Watanabe was another high roller who took it to courts to determine if casinos were to be blamed for his losses. During 2007, Watanabe lost almost $130,000,000 gambling at the Rio and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. His lawsuit was somewhat different, though, as it came as a response to a casino suing him for close to $15 million they extended to him in credits, which he failed to pay back.

This case ended in a confidential out-of-court deal, in which Harrah’s Entertainment decided to drop their suit (which could have sent Watanabe to prison for a long time) and the high roller dropped his civil lawsuit against the casino. Other details of this deal were not revealed to the public.

So, going back to Mr. Shokar’s case, it will be interesting to see what happens if the case ever proceeds to the trial. It seems that courts and judges tend to side with casinos on these matters more often than not but every case is trialed based on its own merits and evidence.