A compulsive gambler was banned from Crown Casino after he blew more than $2 million in 43 minutes, a court has been told.
Harry Kakavas allegedly told casino chief operating officer John Williams in August 2006 that he was feeling “deflated” having lost $30 million over four months.
Mr Williams urged Mr Kakavas to take a break from gambling at the casino, the Victorian Supreme Court was told today.
But Mr Kakavas, a high flying Gold Coast property developer, replied he was “fine” and proceeded to play games of baccarat, losing more than $2 million in 43 minutes, the court was told.
Mr Kakavas is suing Crown for $20.5 million he claims he lost gambling in the Melbourne casino.
He alleges Crown allowed him to play despite knowing he was a pathological gambler who was banned from other casinos.
The court was told that, during a period of 16 months, Mr Kakavas turned over $1.5 billion in bets at the casino.
It is claimed Mr Kakavas, who was at times allowed to bet hands of $300,000, lost a total of $30 million including money from commissions he received from the casino.
Crown’s lawyer Neil Young, QC, said it was after Mr Kakavas lost more than $2 million in under an hour that he was stopped from gambling at the casino.
Mr Young said that, in the months after the ban, Mr Kakavas attended the casino on several occasions without gambling.
He also made calls to the casino asking to be allowed to gamble again, but was refused.
Mr Young rejected accusations that the Crown had taken advantage of a compulsive gambler.
“There was no effort in any sense of the word to lure Mr Kakavas to Crown,” he said.
The trial before Justice David Harper is continuing.
CONFIDENTIAL documents reveal how multi-millionaire problem gambler Harry Kakavas used a fake name at Crown casino and had VIP treatment lavished upon him, despite an earlier life ban.
Computer print-outs show Mr Kakavas was regularly booked into complimentary hotel suites, complete with private butlers, under the pseudonym “Harry Kay” between January 2005 and August 2006
– via News.au
He lost $30 million on a total of $1.5 billion in bets, so he only lost 2%. How do you do this? First, get millions of dollars… uh, wait… how do you do that?
Several business associates of Kakavas would not speak on the record either, but described him as a nice bloke, an astute businessman with a strong work ethic and a nose for a deal.
Born in Carlton but barracking for Collingwood, he has been called Harry “Hedges” Kakavas because of an extraordinary run of sales on the Gold Coast’s bluechip Hedges Avenue, which has been dubbed “Millionaire’s Row”.
Kakavas grew up in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. After a brief foray studying economics at LaTrobe University, he started his real estate career in 1986 selling residential property. A former teacher at Murrumbeena High School had become a real estate agent and had encouraged Kakavas to do the same.
After several years with commercial property agencies Baillieu Knight Frank and Colliers Jardine, the ambitious agent made his first foray into residential development and built three apartments on his parents’ South Caulfield property. The project earned him almost $400,000 and he turned over several other profitable developments in quick succession.
In 2001, Kakavas headed to Surfers Paradise as the Queensland property market was about to hit its straps. He bought two waterfront properties in Hedges Avenue for $4 million, spent another $4 million building a three-storey Mediterranean- style mansion and set a state record when he sold it for $18 million. A month later he sold a nearby property for $15 million. A Gold Coast agent says Kakavas was solely responsible for doubling house prices in Hedges Avenue and helped establish it as Queensland’s premier residential locale.
He also set up a successful prestige real estate agency, which turned over more than $150,000 a week.
When the market peaked in 2004, business associates estimate Kakavas’ personal wealth at more than $60 million. But gambling, particularly baccarat, was always his Achilles heel and less than three years later, Kakavas has lost most of his vast fortune
via – TheAge