Problem Gambler Sues Crown Resorts For $4.6 Million

A problem gambler is suing Crown Resorts for almost $4.6 million after they failed to take action despite his obvious gambling addiction.

A problem gambler is suing Crown Resorts for almost $4.6 million, the money he lost over 26 years. It is the latest in a long string of negative stories concerning the Australian gambling giant. Ahmed Hansa filed a suit in the Federal Court on August 9. He seeks $4,593,000 in damages, including $200,000 in money he lost that a friend lent him.

Hansa has all the hallmarks of a problem gambler and considers himself a gambling addict. He gambled almost every other day at Crown Melbourne between 1993 and 2019. Hansa claims some sessions spanned 26 hours. The problem gambler alleges Crown knew he was a problem gambler, or at least should have.

The suit shows Hansa pleaded with Crown to ban him from the casino. However, instead of restricting his access, Crown acted irresponsibly and lured him back into the property. Hansa’s losses are astronomical.

Crown never encouraged the problem gambler to gamble responsibly. They never checked his financial or mental wellbeing. The complete opposite happened with Crown enticing him back to the casino.

The casino did this by offering lavish dinners, holidays, gifts, and tickets to concerts and sporting events. Hansa says he lost $30,000 after coming into the casino to collect free Phil Collins tickets.

Royal Commission Hears About This Problem Gambler

The royal commission into Crown’s Victorian licence heard about Hansa in June. Hansa lost $100,000 of chips bought with a cheque that later bounced. Crown staff invited Hansa back to its exclusive Mahogany Room, where they allowed him to gamble on credit. Crown acted like this despite the problem gambler informing staff about his financial woes and that he was considering banning himself from the casino.

Peter Lawrence, the Head of VIP Customer Service at Crown, told the commission the casino acted irresponsibly and in a predatory manner. Lawrence’s comments will add weight to Hansa’s seven-figure claim.

Crown took until 2020 before it banned Hansa from all its properties. However, it was not because he was a problem gambler, but because he started becoming abusive when losing.

Hansa’s gambling problem resulted in him hardly seeing his parents or siblings. Furthermore, his sister sold her Newport home to pay back Hansa’s gambling debts. His wife initially left him and fought Hansa for the custody of their children. Thankfully, now on top of his gambling addiction, Hansa is back living with his wife and children.

Responsible Gaming Had No Input Into Pokies Purchases

Not only Crown Melbourne is under the cosh because the royal commission into Crown Perth’s operations continues to receive evidence that shows the company in a poor light.

Crown Perth kept its responsible gambling team in the dark when it came to the casino’s electronic gaming machines. Monthly data highlighting the most popular pokies was kept from the responsible gaming team. This seems ludicrous when the team could have used the data to watch for problem gamblers.

James Sullivan is the casino’s Gaming Product Manager. He took the stand on August 9 and confirmed only the gaming machine department received the data. The data shows which games are most popular and, therefore, most profitable.

David Leigh, counsel assisting the commission, grilled Sullivan about the lack of data sharing.

“Do you think it would be appropriate that those people be informed of which persons are spending the most amount of money in the casino so they can make sure they’re not suffering from any form of gambling-related harm?”

Sullivan confirmed the data could be of interest to the responsible gambling team.

Leigh continued his questioning, asking if the responsible gambling team had any input into purchasing machines. In addition, he asked if the team gave feedback on potential purchases that could prove attractive to a problem gambler. Sullivan confirmed the team has zero input into purchasing decisions.