If you plan on gambling in Ireland anytime soon, be forewarned, if you win, under Irish law there is no legal guarantee that you will ever be paid, according to a judge’s ruling in the Circuit Civil Court.
The legal action that found its way to Judge Francis Comerford’s court was brought by 36-year-old married father of two, Sayed Mirwais, who sued Automatic Amusements Ltd, a Dublin-based company that provides gaming machines, music systems, and pool tables to the hotel, bar, and restaurant industries; D1 Casino, and the casino director, Michael Donnelly, according to the Irish Times.
Mirwais, an Afghan refugee who resides in Phibsborough, Dublin, claimed that D1 Casino refused to pay him €11,713 he reportedly won after having placed several bets on an automated roulette machine. Mirwais said that while gambling at the casino located at 63/64 Lower Dorset Street in Dublin on the evenings of March 2 and 3 in 2015, he initially won about €7,500. He was reportedly given €2,500 of the winnings in cash and €5,000 worth of chips when he wanted to cash out. At that time he was told to continue playing and at the end of the night he would be paid, according to the news agency.
Mirwais told the court that he won an additional €6,713 and at that time, a manager told him to cash out. When he tried to do so at the cashier counter he was reportedly told that the casino did not have any additional cash for the night but that the following day he would be paid. Mirwais also said that he was told that the roulette machine would be checked by an engineer later.
Mirwais, who in his home country is qualified as a doctor, claimed that in spite of multiple requests, the casino refused to pay him the money. He claimed that the casino allowed him to keep playing on the machine in the hope that he would lose and that they never intended to pay him if he won, which according to Mirwais, constituted an unfair commercial practice.
A full defense to Mirwais’ claim was delivered to the court by counsel for the casino, claiming that there had been “suspiciously high amount of money lost by the roulette machine,” according to the report.
Mirwais denied allegations that he took advantage of a flaw in the machine that he found which allowed him to continue playing in spite of the screen indicating ‘no more bets.’ D1 also claimed that Mirwais had been “under observation.”
The allegation by the casino was that the screen layout had been altered by Mirwais, changing it from single play mode to double, in order to re-place a bet that had been placed in a previous game, which reportedly enabled him to place a bet after the roulette ball had already stopped. The casino was not aware of the machine’s malfunction, according to the report.
Mirwais told the court that the night prior to the incident, he lost €9,000 at D1 Casino and that he had won “fairly and squarely.” He reportedly told the court, “When I was losing my money, the machine was ok and the casino was happy to take it, but when I won, they wanted to investigate.”
Judge Comerford reportedly said that a person needs to have considerable trust to place a bet on an automated machine considering that you cannot see what’s happening. He said he had to rely on the Gaming and Lottery Act of 1956 in making his judgment. The law states that “no action shall lie for the recovery of any money or thing which is alleged to be won.” The judge went on to say that “If you happen to be too lucky while placing a bet or gambling, the person can simply say ‘no you’re not entitled to the money’. That is simply the law in Ireland,” as reported by the news agency.
Mirwais’ claim was dismissed by the judge, who also refused the casino’s application to recover its legal costs. It is unclear if Mirwais has standing for appeal or if one will be sought.