Canadian gambler: you let me lose C$330,000

“An admitted gambling addict claims the British Columbia Lottery and two casino companies let her gamble away hundreds of thousands of dollars after she signed a voluntary self-exclusion program for problem gamblers.” [Courthouse News via Legal Blog Watch; similar] Meanwhile, another man is claiming the government-owned lottery did finally enforce its exclusion order — and, per its rules, refused to pay him — when he won a $42,000 jackpot. [Globe and Mail]


  • Well, if you can’t win, it’s not gambling.


  • Well it seems to me in the first case that if they offered a self exclusion program they voluntarily assumed a duty of care that they subsequently failed to meet. If you can’t make the program work, don’t offer it and allow people to think it will prevent them from gambling. In the second, he seems to have voluntarily waived his right to any winnings, so….

  • I don’t see that he waived his right to any winnings. He asked not to be allowed to gamble. Having allowed him to gamble anyhow, the casino is obligated to pay out.

  • Gumby, in the first case it was the gambler who entered voluntarily. There is nothing in the story to suggest that the program was offered voluntarily by the casino; it was probably mandated by the government (as it is in Missouri, where the casinos do have some statutory immunity to suits from patrons who sneak in anyway).
    As for the second, the gambler can be made whole simply by returning his initial wager.

  • In the first case, whether the program was offered “voluntarily” is meaningless. If operating the program is a condition of obtaining a business license, the casinos are obligated to operate it competently. If, for example, my obtaining a permit to build an apartment building is contingent on my ugrading a sewer line, and that sewerline fails and causes damage, whether I “voluntarily” undertook to upgrade the sewerline is irrelevant.

    In the second, I agree — he should get his wager back. I would think that part of participating in the program was signing a document saying “I agree that if I gamble I will not be entitled to any winnings”. I would think (hope?) the lawyer that drew up the terms for participation in the program would have considered the possibility that a probelm gambler would evade whatever system that would prevent him from gambling. With respect to lotteries, it would be very difficult to police, as tickets are sold over the counter at every two bit smoke shop. I’d think a key element of the program is that the gambler would agree to participate, like by waiving winnings, to the same degree as the govt / gambling facilities.