Legal Case Summary
Case citation: Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd (t/a Crockfords Club)  UKSC 67
Also known as: Ivey v Genting / Ivey v Crockfords / Phil Ivey v Crockfords
Table of Contents
In Ivey v Genting Casinos professional gambler Phil Ivey visited Crockfords Club, a casino in London, and played a game of Punto Banco, a form of baccarat. Over two days, Ivey won a substantial sum of money. However, the casino refused to pay out his winnings, suspecting that he had used a technique known as 'edge-sorting' to gain an unfair advantage. Edge-sorting involves identifying small differences in the patterns on the backs of playing cards to determine their face value.
The key issue was whether Ivey's use of edge-sorting constituted cheating under the Gambling Act 2005. The case also addressed the test for dishonesty in English criminal law, specifically whether the test established in R v Ghosh  QB 1053 should be reconsidered.
Decision / Outcome
The Supreme Court unanimously held that Ivey's actions amounted to cheating. The Court found that edge-sorting involved manipulating the game in a manner which was not intended by the casino and was inherently dishonest. Importantly, the Court also took this opportunity to overrule the Ghosh test for dishonesty, replacing it with a more straightforward, two-step objective test: firstly, determining the actual state of the individual's knowledge or belief as to the facts, and secondly, whether the conduct was dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people.
The decision was significant for its clarification of what constitutes cheating in gambling under the Gambling Act 2005. The case is also notable for its reformulation of the test for dishonesty in English law, moving away from the subjective element of the Ghosh test. This new test focuses more on societal standards rather than the defendant's own perception of dishonesty.
Q: Did the ruling mean that Ivey had to return his winnings?
A: Yes, as the court found that he cheated, he was not entitled to the winnings.
Q: Does this case mean that all advantage play in casinos is considered cheating?
A: Not necessarily. The ruling was specific to the facts of this case, particularly the use of edge-sorting. Other forms of advantage play would need to be considered on their own merits.
Q: Has this case affected the test for dishonesty in other areas of law?
A: Yes, the new test for dishonesty established in this case has been applied in various areas of English law, providing a more objective standard.
- Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd (t/a Crockfords Club)  UKSC 67.
- Gambling Act 2005.
- R v Ghosh  QB 1053.
- "Redefining Dishonesty: Ivey v Genting Casinos," Journal of Criminal Law.
- "The Supreme Court's Decision in Ivey," Law Quarterly Review.
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