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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gambler loses, sues casino

Gambler loses, sues casino

A "PATHOLOGICAL gambler" who lost more than $600,000 playing roulette at Star City casino after he begged management to keep him away now wants his money back.

Iranian refugee Behrouz Foroughi, 43, volunteered to go on an "exclusion list" of problem gamblers to bar him from the gaming floor.

It emerged yesterday that Mr Foroughi was just one of 5746 names on Star City's exclusion list.

Mr Foroughi's lawyer Greg Laughton SC told the Federal Court in Sydney the casino had failed in its duty of care after his client informed staff of his gambling problem.

He said Mr Foroughi, a painter and decorator who never sought counselling for his problem, went to Star City staff after losing more than $27,000 in just two days in May 2004.

Within three weeks, Mr Foroughi returned to the casino and blew another $21,000.

He claims that despite being told he would be refused entry, he was able to return 65 times and was even offered access to the high rollers' room.

Mr Foroughi agreed under cross examination that he found gambling exciting and that he spent his winnings on dinner parties and sex with prostitutes.

Mr Laughton said the casino's security system for tracking the thousands of gamblers on the exclusion list, with the details of those on the list contained in 150 yellow folders, had failed.

"At the very least, Star City was on notice that Mr Foroughi had a problem with gambling and was probably addicted to it by reason of his voluntary exclusion from the casino," Mr Laughton told the court.

"Star City knew or ought to have known his ability to resist gambling was diminished. He was told that he would be detected and removed. Star City was at least accepting an obligation to do that."

It emerged that when the casino put Mr Foroughi on the exclusion list they also gave him an information pack with the numbers of counselling services for gambling addicts. However, Mr Foroughi had never accessed the services, the court heard.

Mr Foroughi also agreed when cross-examined by Ian Jackman SC for Star City that he had lied when he filled out his tax returns by claiming his income was lower than what he had claimed to have gambled away.

A psychiatrist attributed Mr Foroughi's "pathological gambling" addiction to his upbringing in war-torn Iran and to the gruesome murder of his brother, who was studying at university.

The court heard Mr Foroughi was persecuted in Iran because he was of the Baha'i faith.

The court heard Mr Foroughi was tortured when he tried to escape for a new life in Australia in 1986.

The hearing before Justice Peter Jacobson continues today.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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