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.