Betting's Biggest Court Cases - Christian Hainz vs Casinos Austria

Betting's Biggest Court Cases - Christian Hainz vs Casinos Austria

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Published Date · March 22, 2024 · Last Updated · March 22, 2024 ·Read Time · 4 mins

Casinos are great fun when you're winning, but they can quickly become a bleak and sad place to be if you're not playing responsibly. Unfortunately, problem gambling is something that can happen to anyone, and casinos do have a responsibility to protect players from excessive spending and bad habits.

problem gambling

In one such case, a gambler - Christian Hainz - argued that the casinos had failed to spot his harmful behaviour and opened a lawsuit against them.

Who is Christian Hainz?

Christian Hainz is an Austrian business owner who had been the director of a successful building supplies company, before spending all his money and getting into debt due to his gambling habits.

Hainz had been a regular at two land-based casinos owned by Casinos Austria. What had begun as a fun way to spend the evening eventually spiralled into a serious problem for the 40-year-old businessman.

Who Are Casinos Austria?

Casinos Austria were one of the largest casino operators in the world at the time, responsible for more than 60 casinos in twelve different countries and on seventeen cruise ships. Their casinos offered all kinds of games, including slot machines, blackjack tables and much more.

casinos austria

Hainz spent three years between 1997 and 2000 visiting Casinos Austria venues over one hundred times, mostly playing blackjack and roulette. He claimed to have gotten around the table limits by playing at multiple tables at once and had reportedly once lost the equivalent of £36,000 on a single bet.

In total, Hainz lost up to £1.68 million, which affected his life, his family and his business. Eventually, saddled with debt, he lost his business and even tried to end his own life by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide. He was thankfully found before he died, but the damage caused by his financial woes were hard to recover from.

The Lawsuit

Gambling addiction can be an extremely harmful condition that takes over a person's life and prevents them from thinking clearly. If left untreated, it can cause serious financial problems as well as other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In the case of Christian Hainz, his addiction very nearly cost him his life, and he portioned some of the blame onto the casino.

After losing almost everything due to his gambling addiction, Christian Hainz consulted lawyers and decided to sue Casinos Austria. His lawyers demanded that the casino operator repay half of what Hainz lost due to their failure to recognise his problem and stop him from gambling.

The Court Case


While Mr Hainz's lawyers demanded that Casinos Austria pay €1.2 million (£807,000) in compensation, the operator claimed it only had records of Mr Hainz spending €290,000 in its casinos. In addition, Casinos Austria said that they had always carefully followed regulations to ensure that he and all other players were protected.

The lawyers representing Hainz pointed out that casinos have a duty of care towards their customers, which should include turning away those who are drunk or not fully in control of their actions. Hainz detailed how he would often be drunk while playing and also exhibited clear signs of problem gambling, including playing at multiple tables at once.

The case against Casinos Austria went to court and was ruled in favour of Hainz, although the courts ordered a lower amount of compensation to be paid. The courts agreed with Hainz that the casino had not done enough to recognise his compulsive gambling habits and that there weren't adequate protections in place to safeguard players.

Impact of the Court Case

After Casinos Austria appealed the decision, it was upheld. The casino operator was ordered to pay a total of €499,729, worth £336,709 at the time. Although Mr Hainz declined to comment on the verdict, his lawyers stated that it was a great success, not only for their client but also for other compulsive gamblers who had lost money to casinos.

The decision led to a wave of similar court cases, and ultimately, casinos were forced to improve the way they treat problem gamblers. These days, casinos take far more care to spot the signs of gambling addiction, turning away to players who are clearly acting compulsively and encouraging responsible gaming habits.

slot machines

As a result, you're far less likely to win back losses from a casino by taking them to court, but it's also more likely that you'll receive help if you have a gambling problem.

Where Are They Now?

Casinos Austria is still operating today, running several land based casinos across Austria with even more venues open all over the world.

It's not known what happened to Christian Hainz following the court case, but hopefully, he was able to get help for his gambling addiction and rebuild his life. Although the money didn't repay everything that he lost, it would have been enough to get him out of debt and back on track.


Nosa Omoigui

Content Editor


Tim Williams

Head of Content