Park Lane Club Casino Lawsuit Dismissed, High Roller Cannot Collect Alleged Incentives

A lawsuit filed against London’s Park Lane Club by a high roller who claimed he was owed incentives has been dismissed.

London Park Lane Club casino lawsuit
London Park Lane Club casino lawsuit
Juste Puharic, seen here in London last year, has lost his lawsuit against the Park Lane Club. A judge has ruled against Puharic’s claims that the casino promised him incentives for his high-stakes gambling. (Image: Daily Mail)

Located in the swanky Mayfair district amid London’s five-star hotels, the private Park Lane Club was sued by guest Juste Puharic last November. A businessman originally from Croatia, attorneys representing Puharic alleged that he was promised incentives for his high-stakes gaming escapade that ran some five days.

Puharic gambled £27 million (US$37.8 million) during his stay at the club in May of 2015. He claims casino staff guaranteed him a 0.9 percent VIP incentive bonus on the total amount he gambled.

Puharic argued he was “contractually entitled” to around £243,000 (US$340,000). This week, a judge in the High Court said he was not.

Winners Can’t Be Losers

Park Lane denied that it ever promised Puharic any sort of incentive to gamble at the luxurious club. It hasn’t been disclosed whether Puharic was a member or guest at the club.

Park Lane’s membership includes many of London’s most elite residents. The casino said in court that it quite frankly didn’t care whether Puharic gambled there or elsewhere. An attorney said Park Lane was “not particularly interested” in Puharic’s business.

Puharic says he was lured to gamble larger stakes. Following his five days of gambling, he finished on the winning end. He quit ahead roughly £1.5 million (US$2.1 million).

In his dismissal, High Court Judge Gavin Mansfield said there was no physical contract showing Puharic was owed an incentive.

The claimant was paid his winnings. This claim concerns an additional amount: a bonus or incentive,” the judge reasoned. “In my judgment, there was no concluded agreement reached between the parties about bonuses or incentives.”

Even if there were a physical contract, the legal case would have been weak, as casino incentives are typically used against losses.

Park Lane Club attorney Guy Olliff-Cooper told LADBible, a UK media outlet, that incentives tend to come in the form of free hospitality, including dining, drinks, and lodging. Any offered commission is to be credited against losses.

“Casinos use a variety of incentives to attract customers,” Olliff-Cooper explained. “The defendant’s position is simply that it never made him this offer.”

“This action should be dismissed,” Judge Mansfield finished.

Park Lane Opening

Park Lane’s luxury boutique indoor casino and terrace gaming patio have been dark since it was once again forced to shutter on government orders effective December 16.

But in UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reopening plan unveiled this week, high street betting shops and casinos are able to resume operations beginning April 12. While that date could change, it’s welcomed news to England’s gaming industry, which has been heavily damaged by the pandemic.

Park Lane’s casino has 20 slot machines, and a limited number of table games, including roulette, blackjack, baccarat and three card poker.

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