UNITED KINGDOM, London - There is such a thing as gambling addiction, problem gambling, or ludomania which is the urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Pathological gambling is considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be an impulse control disorder rather than an addiction. However, for the DSM 5.0, Pathological Gambling is being considered as an Addictive Disorder as opposed to an impulse-control disorder. (Wikipedia) Then, there is the question of personal responsibility. In today's modern world there are a number of means to avoid the consequences of irresponsible or downright bad behavior i.e. if one is rich enough, if one can claim mental defect, or you can simply run away.
None of these options absolve the person of responsibility, but having a disorder such as a gambling addiction could potentially mitigate the ultimate judgment in the case of someone gambling away their savings, house, and car, thus leaving them in a position whereby they are unable to meet credit obligations.
Nora Al-Daher, whose husband is the foreign minister of Oman, told the High Court that she is a gambling addict. She was testifying in a suit which she brought against the exclusive Ritz Club in London where she gambled and lost £1million, but only after she had lost an equal sum earlier that night at other casinos around the city.
It is interesting to note that according to Islamic scholars gambling, is categorically forbidden, as is drinking alcohol. So, this begs the question of how Mrs. Al-Daher was able to lose millions of pounds, a sum which 99.9% of the world's population will never realize in their lifetimes? According to court documents, "between 1999 and April 2012, The Ritz alone had received more than £20million in buys-ins from Mrs. Al-Daher, of which she lost more than £7million." (Daily Mail U.K.)
Her credit was extended by The Ritz because of her previous good payment history, and as a valued customer they wanted to accommodate the self-proclaimed addict. However, this time she wrote checks, which in the parlance of the poor, "bounced" and were not honored by her bank because of "Non-Sufficient Funds."
The idea that someone with access to that amount of money would be frivolous enough to gamble it away, and then refuse to pay the debt, disparages people of lesser means who have gambling addictions. With her extreme wealth she could have sought the best addiction treatment in a private and exclusive environment.
She could have also settled her debt and informed in advance all the casinos that she frequented and were known to extend generous credit to her, that she has a gambling addiction, and ask that they cut her off much like a bar tender is now legislated to no longer serve alcohol to a patron who is clearly intoxicated.
Instead, Mrs. Al-Daher called foul play after the fact, and used the condition to justify her not settling the debt. It is not as if she doesn't have access to the money, but it is curious that her checks bounced. Perhaps, this time her husband refused to provide her with the money to pay her debt, but in any case The Ritz should not be made the scapegoat.
Personally, I am against gambling, so this article is not written in support of these institutions that regularly fleece millions of customers each year in casinos all over the world. The fact that gambling, once illegal in many countries, has been granted the veneer of respectability under the guise that the taxes which they pay are used to better the communities in which they reside, does not confer upon them beneficence.
The logic behind the marketing scheme used to convince communities to allow these establishments to operate in their midst, is that by paying large sums in taxes to local and state governments, these funds can in turn be used by these governments to improve schools, social services, etc. However, in fact this premise is about as valid as the claims that cigarettes are safe and do not cause cancer. The fact that exorbitant taxes are paid is akin to bribery because very little of this money trickles down to the people or communities that are professed to benefit.
That said, this case has yet to be adjudicated, but in this court of opinion......she played, she lost, she has the millions, so she should pay the piper.