‘Unimaginably rich’ gambler must meet losses

Posted: 3rd September 2014

Casino3A woman who lost £2 million in a few hours at the gaming tables, has failed to convince a judge that staff at a top London casino took advantage of her gambling addiction and positively encouraged her to carry on betting.

Noora Abdullah Mahawish Al-Daher lost spectacularly at the punto banco table in the Ritz Casino in 2012. She claimed that casino employees were aware of her addiction but reassured her that she would win as she reached, and then exceeded, her £1.7 million betting limit. They were alleged to have stood behind her with more cheques to sign in return for chips.

The cheques, each of them for £200,000 or £300,000, were dishonoured, although Mrs Al-Daher had since covered £1 million of her losses. The casino sued her for the balance but, in resisting the claim, she had presented herself as a ‘vulnerable woman’ in thrall to her uncontrollable gambling problem.

Exonerating the casino, and ordering the wife of the Omani foreign minister to pay £1 million plus interest, the judge found that her account of events was unreliable and inconsistent. Arguments that the casino had been negligent or that it had extended her credit, in breach of gaming laws, were rejected.

Treated as a ‘VIP gambler’, she had seemed relaxed, friendly and generous, paying £14,000 in tips to the dealer and others on the night of her losses. Before her betting limit was extended, she had been asked if she was 'comfortable to go on' and had replied that she was.

The judge commented, "She is a person of wealth unimaginable to the ordinary person and, I suspect, to many of moderate or substantial wealth. It is demonstrable that...the enormous sums she gambled, and the enormous losses she sustained, were within her means."