A man whose family are originally from Kırkısrak village in Kayseri, Turkey, was found dead in his East London home a few hours after racking up huge debts at Aspers Casino at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford.
Businessman Hüseyin Yaman, 37, visited the casino last Sunday, 11 November where he played the highly addictive slot machines and roulette. Mr Yaman lost a five-figure sum within a few hours of arriving.
After seeing him visibly distressed and angry, trained casino staff accompanied Mr Yaman to a side room. Unable to calm him down over his £25,000 plus loss, staff then called the police to assist and Mr Yaman was escorted off the premises.
Some hours later, the police were called out to Mr Yaman’s home in Hackney, where he was found hanged. His death has been reported to the coroner and an inquest into his death will be held at a later date. As the incident involved the police prior to Mr Yaman’s death, the case has also been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
It has since emerged Mr Yaman was a regular at the casino and had lost in the region of £100,000 over the past few years. Casino staff had previously approached him to ask if he had a gambling problem, but no further action was taken.
Mr Yaman’s distraught relatives cannot understand why casino staff or the police allowed him to return home alone on Sunday night given his highly distressed state. One told the MailOnline: “Why did the police let him go? If you found someone in distress, why would you let them go? They had a responsibility to look after him. Is it because they were stretched and didn’t want to do the paperwork?”
They added that Mr Yaman was a “cheerful guy”,and his family were unaware he was gambling so heavily.
A spokesman for Aspers told the MailOnline: “We can confirm that the man who tragically died was an Aspers customer.
“Early on Monday morning he became emotional and agitated in the casino. Our staff followed proper and well-practised procedures and took him to a quiet room. Since he remained in an agitated state, we asked for police assistance and handed him to officers who took him from the casino.
“The chain of events in the few hours following his removal from our premises remains under investigation by police and the coroner’s office. Therefore we can make no further comment.”
According to the NHS, there are now almost 600 000 ‘problem gamblers’ in Great Britain – people who gamble compulsively and with little control over themselves. Of these, just 5% seek help for their addiction. Research by the University of Glasgow found 13% of gambling addicts had attempted suicide.
The slot machines, or fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) Mr Yaman was playing on before he died are known in the industry as ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’ due to their highly additive nature. Players can place a £100 bet with every spin, which takes less than 20 seconds to complete.
A few days after Mr Yaman’s death, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned due to the government’s delay in bringing in essential curbs to limit the FOBT stake to £2. It finally prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to act. She announced the restrictions would be enforced from April 2019.
If you are concerned by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on 116 123. Alternatively you can visit their website by clicking here.
Main photo top © Yamaguchi先生, of Las Vegas slot machines, 2006, image CC by SA 3.0 / Wikipedia