The Ritz Casino Chases Debts

chris brown
Written by Chris Brown
Published on Wednesday 18th March 2015, 9:50 am

The Ritz Casino Chases Debts

The Ritz Casino in Piccadilly in London is suing several ‘high-rollers’ after their unpaid debts led the venue to post losses of £12.5 million in 2013. A casual observer might understandably assume that multi-millionaires and billionaires would be the most reliable clients for a casino to have, but the Ritz has found that this isn’t the case by any means, and extending credit to a number of wealthy players is an act of trust and good faith that has cost it dearly.

It has been reported that ten players were pursued last year by the venue, but an insider has said that the casino has good relationships with the majority of its customers. Unfortunately, when a high-roller defaults on his or her debt, that one player can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line. A casino that has several high-rollers who fail to settle their accounts can devastate its ability to make a profit.

The Ritz Casino and its relationship with high-rollers has made headlines several times previously. Last year it reached an out of court agreement with billionaire Bharat Kalwani over a £5 million cheque that had previously bounced. It eventually transpired that the cheque had not been drawn on an account owned by Mr Kalwani, and the case was settled ‘amicably’, but no details about the agreement were released.

Then there was the case of Nora Al-Daher, the multi-millionaire wife of an Omani politician who sued the casino after losing £2 million in a single sitting playing Punto Banco. Al-Daher claimed that the casino had taken advantage of her gambling addiction, and should not have extended her credit which allowed her to incur such losses. The case was eventually dismissed, with the judge commenting that the plaintiff was more than rich enough to afford the loss.

Although providing carefully screened clients with extended credit is a facility that famous gaming venues such as the Ritz are no doubt proud to offer, it is not one that is completely free of risk by any means. As this story demonstrates, a customer can be perfectly capable of paying his or her debts from a financial perspective, but that doesn’t mean that he or she will actually choose to do that. 

The only way to totally eradicate the risk of bad debts would be to operate an offline venue in the same way as online casinos, with customers depositing cash up front and no credit being extended to any player – no matter how rich or famous – in any circumstances. That might not be quite as attractive to high-rollers as the current system is, but it would certainly reduce the number of lawsuits that may need to be filed in the future. Facebook

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