VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – In a class action, people who signed up for a “voluntary self-exclusion program” because they “concluded that it is not in their best interest to continue to participate in gambling,” say the state-owned British Columbia Lottery Corporation wrongfully refused to pay them jackpots when they went ahead and gambled anyway.
Hamidreza Haghdust claims in B.C. Supreme Court that he signed up for the lottery corporation’s self-exclusion program in 2006, for 1 year, and later signed up for the maximum 3-year exclusion.
But even after he signed up, Haghdust claims he “routinely” attended casinos and was never denied entry by security.
“The BCLC failed to take reasonable measures available to it to deny entry to B.C. gaming facilities to participants in the voluntary self-exclusion program and instead relied solely on BCLC security staff to identify from memory more than 6,500 persons who were participants in the program,” the complaint states.
“The BCLC knew, or ought to have known, that such memory identification would be largely ineffective to prevent participants in the voluntary self-exclusion program from entering a B.C. gaming facility.”
Haghdust he lost more than $250,000 playing slot machines in B.C. casinos since November 2007, and also claims that the state refused to pay him two jackpots totaling more than $35,000, because he had signed up for the program.
“The BCLC’s refusal to pay the plaintiff and each class member the jackpot prizes they won, because of their execution of the voluntary self-exclusion form, is in breach of the contract resulting from the payment of the wager made by the plaintiff and each class member to the BCLC,” the complaint states.
If the court finds that the lottery corporation is not obliged to pay off the jackpots because of plaintiffs’ participation in the program, Haghdust claims the lottery was unjustly enriched because “the only consideration for the wagers was the opportunity to win a prize as determined by the game of chance in relation to which the wager was paid.”
The class is represented by Paul R. Bennett of Hordo & Bennett.