High roller loses High Court bid to recover $20.5m in losses from Crown Casino

A HIGH roller who gambled a whopping $1.5 billion at Melbourne’s Crown Casino has lost his High Court bid to recover his losses.
Gold Coast businessman Harry Kakavas turned over $1.479 billion playing baccarat at the casino between June 2005 and August 2006 and had been fighting to recover a $20.5 million in net losses.
Mr Kakavas, who made his fortune as a property developer and has been described as Australia’s «highest of high rollers», claimed the casino knew he was a pathological gambler and acted unconscionable in allowing him to gamble away vast sums.
He argued Crown had lured him to its tables by allowing him use of its private jet, providing rebates on his losses and had even once driven him to the bank to withdraw more money.
After a failed attempt to recover losses on appeal at Victoria’s Supreme Court last year, Mr Kakavas made a last-ditch bid in April to take on Crown in the High Court.
Today, the court unanimously dismissed his appeal, ruling the casino did not act unconscionably, that the businessman was not in «a position of special disadvantage», and his transactions were not unfair, unjust or unreasonable.
In a statement, the court said it did not accept that Mr Kakavas’s pathological interest in gambling was a special disadvantage that made him susceptible to exploitation by Crown.
«He was able to make rational decisions in his own interests, including deciding from time to time to refrain from gambling altogether,» it said.
«Crown did not knowingly victimise the appellant (Mr Kakavas) by allowing him to gamble at its casino.»

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