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Fiona Simmons April 28, 2023 3 min read
UK Court Dismisses Millionaire’s Claim that a Sportsbook Ignored His Addiction
Judge Heather Baucher ruled in favor of the sports betting operator as the millionaire’s claims seemed untruthful
The Central London County Court has dismissed the case of a millionaire who claimed that a sportsbook exacerbated his problem gambling and caused him to lose a lot of money. The millionaire’s request to have his money back was turned down.
The man in question is Scott O’Brien, a rich British entrepreneur. In his case, O’Brien described himself as a problem gambler experiencing long-term gambling addiction.
O’Brien Claims Problem Gambling Almost Drove Him to Suicide
O’Brien slammed the sports betting operator Star Sports, which, according to the plaintiff, failed to protect him from his addiction. The millionaire said that the sportsbook staff surely knew that he was a problem gambler. Yet, the operator allowed him to lose thousands of British pounds without intervening.
O’Brien said that he has lost almost $125,000 (converted to USD) to playing with Star Sports, which, he says, is a clear violation of the company’s social responsibility code provisions. The millionaire noted that he doesn’t even like gambling but cannot control his behavior.
The plaintiff added that his problem gambling started in 2012, soon after he sold his paper-recycling business.
O’Brien blamed Gemma Mehmet, a member of the Star Sports staff, for not banning him. The millionaire said that Mehmet knew of his condition but didn’t do anything about it. He had asked the worker to not tell his ex-wife about his condition and had also asked to be banned from gambling.
Continuing with his claims, O’Brien said that he told Ms. Mehmet that he had tried to take his own life because of gambling. Because of that, he was even forced to spend 10 months in rehabilitation.
Star Sports Sees Things Differently
However, Star Sports’ lawyer, Christopher Gillespie paints a different picture of what happened. According to him, O’Brien’s claim that he told Mehmet about his problem is untrue. Furthermore, the company had no reason to suspect O’Brien of being a problem player.
Gillespie said that O’Brien was always dressed well, had a driver and moved in wealthy social circles. According to the lawyer, the plaintiff always portrayed himself as a successful businessman. In addition, the alleged problem gambler could have always used the self-exclusion tools available to him to exclude himself from playing with Star Sports.
The lawyer also noted that O’Brien didn’t seem to be that problematic of a player. He would visit the sportsbook around 17 times in six months, which did not indicate addictive behavior. Last but not least, the plaintiff was actually winning against the bookmaker until his final wager. Gillespie noted that this is somewhat suspicious.
Judge Heather Baucher evaluated both sides’ claims and ruled in favor of Star Sports. She concluded that O’Brien was not, in fact, a problem gambler and lied about telling Mehmet about his condition.