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Gambler's court challenge fails 13/3/2008
Clare Dyer

A compulsive gambler who sued William Hill for allowing him to continue betting until he was more than £2m down lost his high court claim for compensation yesterday. Mr Justice Briggs ruled that the bookmaker was not liable to Graham Calvert, even though he asked it to stop taking his money under William Hill's self-exclusion policy.

The judge said that although William Hill did agree to exclude Calvert from telephone gambling and failed to take reasonable steps to do so, pathological gambling would still probably have led to his financial ruin, but over a longer period of time. If one bookmaker excluded him, he would simply go elsewhere. The judge said: "William Hill's failure to take reasonable care to exclude him from telephone gambling ... did not therefore cause Mr Calvert any measurable financial or other loss." The 28-year-old greyhound trainer, from Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, claimed he had lost not only his money but also his wife, health and livelihood through gambling. Anneliese Day, his counsel, told the judge last month that William Hill should be held liable because it failed to operate its own policy.

She said Calvert was hoping to establish in law that bookmakers owe a duty of care in his circumstances.

She said the scale of her client's gambling was "staggering." He lost around £347,000 in one bet when he backed the US to win the 2006 Ryder Cup. Calvert, who was not in court, was granted permission to take his case to the court of appeal.

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