Ivey v Genting Casinos

The test for ‘Dishonesty’ as established by R v Ghosh [1982] QB 1053 is modified by the Supreme Court.

At first instance, Mr Ivey brought a civil claim against Genting Casinos after a refusal by Genting Casinos to pay out his winnings (£7.7 million). Genting Casinos refused to pay on the grounds that by using a strategy known as ‘edge-sorting', Mr Ivey was cheating and therefore he was not entitled to his winnings. The Court at first instance took the view that Mr Ivey had in fact cheated and therefore he was not entitled to his winnings. This was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The appeal to the Supreme Court was brought on the ground that dishonesty was an element of cheating and because Mr Ivey did not believe he was cheating and was acting on ‘legitimate gamesmanship' the second limb in Ghosh had not been satisfied and he had not been cheating.


The Supreme Court ruled that cheating at gambling need not involve an additional legal element of dishonesty, but more importantly the Supreme Court re-visited R v Ghosh [1982] QB 1053.

The Court took the view that, following the decisions in Royal Brunei Airlines Sdn Bhd v Tan [1995] UKPC 4 and Barlow Clowes International Ltd v Eurotrust International Ltd [2005] UKPC 37, a new two-stage test ought to be applied. In doing so, the fact-finding tribunal must consider the following;

What was the actual state of the individual's knowledge or belief as to the facts; and

Was the individual's conduct dishonest by the (objective) standards of ordinary decent people?

In the light of the Supreme Court's restatement of the test, there is no longer a requirement that the Defendant must appreciate that what he/she has done is, by the standards of ordinary people, dishonest.

Furthermore, the Court took the view that there can be no logical or principled basis for the meaning of dishonesty to differ according to whether it arises in a civil action or a criminal prosecution, save as for the standard of proof, as applicable.

Appeal dismissed.


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