March 7, 2014

Kevin Gourlay

Reasons today on a case where the plaintiff was suing for the $78k she lost at a couple casinos while she was a participant in the voluntary self-exclusion program – people with gambling problems can sign up, have their picture taken, and are supposed to be kept out of the casinos.  The effort that casinos make to enforce this is questionable.

The learned trial judge dismissed the claim.  He found the casinos did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care to guarantee or ensure she wouldn’t continue to gamble, only a duty of care to put in place the voluntary self-exclusion program.

The Court’s concern was that to “award her these monies simply because she was in the self-exclusion program when every other gambler not in the program is not entitled to this recovery, would be to encourage every other gambler to join the self-exclusion program in order to have this claim.”  Enforcement of the self-exclusion program presents challenges (though a requirement that identification be provided on entrance would not seem overly onerous).  Personal responsibility is important.  However, the corollary concern also appears true and un-remarked upon: casinos profit handsomely from pathological gamblers and this decision will allow them to continue to prey on such gamblers with impunity.



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