D1 Casino in Dublin, Ireland was recently on the favorable end of a judge’s decision in the case of Sayed Mirwais, a common gambler who won upwards of $8,000 dollars playing the automated Roulette machine early in March. Mirwais claimed that the casino failed to pay him the full amount of his winnings. On the night in question, Sayad went to cash in around $8,000 in winnings when he was only given around $2,700 while the rest was paid out in chips. The casino was quoted by Mirwais to have said they were “out of cash” when they started handing over the chips instead. They informed Mr. Mirwais that he would be paid later in the night should he wait awhile for the next cash installment.
Sayed Mirwais then went and took those chips and won another $7,200 dollars to cash out later that night. When he returned to the both he was refused his full winnings again while being told that an engineer would be called to inspect his winning machine. It was found by the casino that it was “machine error” that caused his winning streak and they refused to pay, and later in March a court agreed.
According to Irish Law as interpreted by Judge Francis Comerford, “If you happen to be too lucky while placing a bet or gambling, the person can simply say, ‘No, you’re not entitled to that money.”
Mirwais, on the other hand, feels cheated out of his winnings, “When I was losing my money, the machine was okay and the casino was happy to take it,” Mirwais continued. “But when I won, they wanted to investigate.”
The laws against collecting gambling debts officially goes back as far the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act but unofficially has been said to have gone on for even longer than that. It’s supposed to protect the individually who would “bet the house” in late night pub gambling shenanigans from ending up in court for failure to pay but has been taken to new heights now that casinos have used it to deny payouts. In section 36 of the Gaming Lotteries Cat from 1956 it states that ““Every contract by way of gaming or wagering is void.”
This type of risk is not something players have to face when visiting legal Irish online casinos. While this law seems to be an obvious hide-a-way for most major casinos to get out of paying big winners, it also works in the opposite direction. Irish resident John O’Shea lost a particularly large bet on a Heineken Cup rugby match to a company named “Sporting Index Ltd” who subsequently sued him for the amount he supposedly lost in the bet. Although the company’s lawyers tried to argue that It was a court judgment order and not a gambling debt, the court saw things differently and ruled in favor of Mr. O’Shea.
If Casino’s are allowed to just refuse big payouts than what’s stopped them from just refusing all payouts? Well, to keep patronage is one thing, but it could also cost them their licensing too. The regulatory bodies that sanction such casinos look into these cases as well when they review the establishments for licensing in the following year. Cases like these could play major roles in those licensing procedures.