Leniency for Gambler who ‘Found’ £15k in Genting Casino — And Blew the Lot

Have you ever wondered what you’d do if you happened to stumble on a big pile of cash, carelessly left behind by a high-roller at your local casino?

Panikos Constantinou

Panikos Constantinou was sentenced to six months and suspended for two years by a Birmingham judge, having been found to be of previous good character and genuinely remorseful for his theft of £15,000 at the Genting Casino (Image: AP)

Maybe you have, but the most sensible answer came loud and clear at Birmingham Crown Court this week: you give it back to its rightful owner or face the consequences.

Sixty-three-year-old Solihull resident Panikos Constantinou was presented with precisely this tempting dilemma at the Genting Casino at Resorts World in Birmingham last June.

Unfortunately, when he saw a wealthy customer leave a laptop bag containing £15,000 unattended under a gaming table, he elected to “stuff it up his jumper, according to court filings, and do a runner, before blowing it all gambling elsewhere.

Genuine Remorse

On Friday, Constantinou pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years. The judge offered leniency on account of the defendant’s previous good character and apparently genuine remorse, Birmingham Live reported.

Constantinou’s lawyer noted his client had health difficulties and also cared for his wife who suffered from epilepsy. The couple lived a quiet life and only visited the casino every two months to gamble about £30, he said.

On June 15 last year you saw that the bag had been left by a gaming table,” said Judge Richard Bond. “I am absolutely sure you had a fairly good idea that it contained money. You took a chance. I accept you did not go into the Genting Casino to steal other people’s money.

“What an amazing day you had when you realised you had £15,000!” he added. You certainly enjoyed it. You really should be ashamed of yourself having committed such an offence at your age. You thought ‘free money, it is mine and I am going to spend it.

Advantage Player Was Not Racism Victim

In other legal news, an Asian man who was barred from a Dublin casino, ostensibly for advantage play, has lost his claim of racial discrimination against the casino.

Ireland’s Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) said there was no substance to the accusation, adding he had been banned because he “no longer relied on chance to win bets”.

The unnamed man said he had been racially abused as he was escorted off the premises of a casino he had frequented for 12 years, having won €6,000 with a €1,500 stake. He further claimed he received similar verbal racial abuse when he returned to the casino the next day and was refused entry.

The WRC said the gambler’s decision to come back the next day was not consistent with someone who felt embarrassed and distressed and that his claim of racial abuse was “not credible”.

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