When Should Casinos Owe a Duty of Care Toward Their Patrons?

  • Erika Chamberlain
  • Robert Simpson
  • Garry Smith


With the release of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Paton Estate, the possibility was left open for a casino to be found to owe a duty of care to patrons who gamble excessively. This article explores the circumstances under which the Anns/Cooper framework could be applied to find that such a duty exists. Specifically, where the gambler is a member of a casino’s customer loyalty program, thereby imputing knowledge of extreme gambling behaviour on the casino, and where the casino has no reason to believe the patron’s losses are sustainable, a duty of care should be imposed. Liability should follow in cases where the casino knowingly contributed to or deliberately ignored these losses.