Gambler sues William Hill for letting him bet
A compulsive gambler is suing William Hill for £2 million of losses he racked up after allegedly asking to be barred.
Graham Calvert, a greyhound trainer, claims that the bookmaker failed in its duty of care by allowing him to continue betting despite his requests to be excluded.
William Hill contests Graham Calvert's allegations
The 28-year-old from Tyneside gambled more than £7.5 million on football, golf and horse racing in an 18-month spree beginning in August 2005.
He once lost £347,000 - at that time the biggest bet in golf history - after backing United States to win the 2006 Ryder Cup. On occasions he would drag bin bags stuffed with notes into the bookmakers.
Aware that his problem was spiralling out of control, and with his marriage on the rocks, Mr Calvert telephoned William Hill in June 2006 to ask them to close his account.
He claims they offered him what is known as "self-exclusion", under which the bookmaker agrees not to accept any bets from a customer for a set period - in his case six months.
But within two months Mr Calvert claims that he was able to set up a new account in his own name and start gambling again.
Since then he has placed more than £3.5 million of bets, losing more than £2 million.
Mr Calvert is now attempting to make legal history by getting a judge to rule that William Hill was negligent in allowing him to continue betting.
"If I'd known I had the problem and didn't do anything about it, I would see myself as being 100 per cent responsible," Mr Calvert, who is now £1.5 million in debt, told the BBC.
"The fact is that I did try to go through the right procedures and I was let down."
Tiejha Smyth, Mr Calvert's solicitor, said: "He was allowed to continue gambling after Hill's agreed he should be self excluded. They should be held legally responsible."
William Hill contests the allegations, arguing that customers place bets of their own choice.
The case is due to begin at the High Court next week.
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