BOOKIES must pay out more than £100,000 to a 32-year-old problem gambler who lost the money playing roulette and blackjack after a landmark case was settled out of court.

The man lost just over £134,000 playing casino games.

But experts from the Christchurch branch of Ellis Jones

Solicitors argued that the betting operator breached the Gambling Commission’s social responsibility code because it failed to protect him as a vulnerable customer.

In total, Ellis Jones has reclaimed 89 per cent of the man’s net losses.

The bookmakers company cannot be named under the terms of the settlement.

Solicitors Ellis Jones, which also has offices in Bournemouth and Canford Cliffs, recovered just over £100,000 for its client – its highest amount to date in a gambling case.

Solicitor Henrietta Dunkley, who acted in the case, said: “This was an outstanding result in a high value dispute with a major betting operator.

“Our client had shown very obvious signs of problem gambling for a considerable amount of time and was spending far beyond his means.

“He had lost well in excess of £100,000.

“We were able to persuasively argue that there had been clear failings by the betting operator.

“We were able to show that the firm had failed to protect him as a vulnerable customer and therefore breached a number of obligations set out within the Gambling Commission’s Social Responsibility Code.

“Ultimately we were able to negotiate and recover 89 per cent of our client’s net losses without having to pursue any court proceedings.”

Although a landmark case for the firm itself in the amount reclaimed, it has also achieved various other settlements for clients in similar positions.

Paul Kanolik, a partner in the firm’s betting disputes team, said: “This fantastic result is reflective of a much wider recognition by the Gambling Commission and other organisations that more protection is needed for gambling customers, particularly those that display obvious signs of problem gambling.”