- »Compulsive Gambler Sues Caesars Windsor and OLG
Compulsive Gambler Sues Caesars Windsor and OLG
The plaintiff’s lawyers called him a compulsive gambler in their statements about a player who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars at Caesars Windsor Casino. That player is suing the casino and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) for allowing him to gamble.
The player, Tarwinder Shokar, wants his C$342,000 back.
Shokar Loved Roulette
As described by the Windsor Star, Tarwinder Shokar has lost very large sums of money several times in casinos over the years.
Years ago, Shokar visited Casino Brantford, gambled, and lost all of his money. He exited the casino and put himself in front of a moving truck to commit suicide. It didn’t work, but his resulting injuries put him in line for a lucrative insurance payout.
As soon as he received the insurance money, he tried to go back to some casinos but had been banned from several of them. Through a travel agent, though, he booked a casino tour to Caesars Windsor.
Shokar first visited on October 17, 2013. He walked in with a bank draft for $55,000, and he claimed he was treated like a VIP player, complete with an executive host escort through the casino. He played with $25,000 in chips at the roulette table for an hour and then received a complimentary steak dinner. Upon returning to the tables, Shokar bought another $25,000 worth of chips over a 16-minute period and lost it all.
From there, Shokar took a cab home instead of staying at the Caesars Windsor but returned the next morning. When all was said and done, he had lost $92,000 in that 24-hour period.
A few days later, Shokar returned to the casino with a bank draft for $100,000. Within an hour, he had withdrawn all of that money and lost it. Soon after, he cashed in another two drafts worth $75,000 each. The total amount lost that day was approximately $250,000.
In total, Shokar claims he lost C$342,000 in October 2013.
Lawsuit Against Caesars Windsor and OLG
Represented by Iain MacKinnon of the Toronto law firm Linden & Associates, Shokar is suing Caesars Windsor and its management company, which is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). He wants his C$342,000 (approximately $264,000 in USD) back, as well as C$500,000 (about $385,000 in USD) in punitive damages.
MacKinnon said, “Our position is he was a compulsive gambler, and the casino and/or the OLG were either well aware of his past background – or should have been.”
The civil lawsuit, which was the original route of the litigation, contained the admission that Shokar was an alcoholic and compulsive gambler. He was also a criminal, having been convicted of fraud. Moreover, he had been banned from several casinos in Ontario for disruptive behavior.
Based on this, Shokar and his attorney feel that Caesars Windsor and/or OLG should have known his background and not allowed him to gamble. Instead, they bestowed the VIP treatment upon him, escorting him to tables, including a special one for him. The casino offered food and drinks and accommodations, even paying for Shokar’s $800 in cab fare on the first of his visits.
In fact, part of the basis of the case involves the casino serving too much alcohol to Shokar and specifically encouraging him to continue gambling, despite his continuing losses. Shokar claimed the casino should have determined that he was “mentally incompetent” but instead took advantage of him for “unjust enrichment” of the casino.
In short, Caesars Windsor and OLG deny that there is any truth to the accusations. In addition, they say he is the only one to blame for his financial losses.
The team of defense attorneys from Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto issued a statement, saying of Shokar, “Each time he made a wager, he chose the amount of money he wanted to wager in full knowledge of the risks associated with that wager.” Further, the statement read, “As an admitted problem gambler, Mr. Shokar was also negligent in coming to Caesars Windsor in the first place.”
Since that time, Shokar has been banned from every casino in Ontario.
Status of Lawsuit
The civil suit has been in the court system for more than six years but only recently transferred from the Brampton courts to the Superior Court of Justice in Windsor. A regional senior judge approved the defendants’ motion to move the case to Windsor because of the importance of the casino to its local community.
Justice Bruce Thomas said the community has an interest in the case, particularly because Caesars Windsor employs more than 2,500 people and contributes approximately $15 million and 100,000 employee volunteer hours to community projects.
MacKinnon told the Windsor Star that he expects a trial at the end of 2020…at the soonest. There is a high likelihood that the trial will not begin until 2021.