A Pretty Good Indication of a Gambling Problem

Harry Kakavas, standing in front of Crown Casino

Some of us who break out in a rash at the thought of losing a quarter in a faulty vending machine may have difficulty empathizing with Australian businessman Harry Kakavas. He didn’t just lose some pocket change … He lost a LOT of money, and he kept on losing a LOT of money in extravagant gambling binges at the Crown Casino.

Admittedly a gambling addict, Kakavas had already been banned from the Star Casino of Sydney after losing millions of dollars. Much of the millions he borrowed from friends and family. Not finding that enough, he stole $286,000 and served a brief time in jail.

This was not enough to deter him from his habit, however, so Kakavas found his way to the Crown.

During one five and a half hour period in May 2006, Kakavas lost $164 million. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Between June 2005 and August 2006, Kakavas lost the princely sum of $1.479 billion (yes, that’s BILLION), mostly while playing the game baccarat.

Kakavas, naturally, did what any responsible person would do under the circumstances: he blamed the casino for taking his money. Filing a lawsuit against Crown, Kakavas claimed Crown took advantage of his addiction by luring him into its casino by offering him incentives, such as the use of its private jet.

In 2013 the High Court of Australia unanimously ruled that Kakavas, not the casino, was responsible for the gambler’s plight.

Anyone care to place a bet on whether Mr. Kakavas has learned his lesson?


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