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Shop sues over gambler suicide licence loss

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10:03 CET+01:00
A newsagent and tobacconist has taken the group that runs the French lottery to court after it withdrew the newsagent's licence following the suicide of one its clients - a gambling addict.

Michel Chomyn, tabacconist in the town of Trie-Château, between Paris and Rouen, is taking the company Francaise des jeux (FDJ) to court today.

In what is being called landark case, the tobacconist is accusing FDJ of causing the his business to go bankrupt by illegally breaking their contract.

Chomyn’s lawyer claims 35 percent of his client’s income came from the FDJ franchise.

FDJ withdrew Chomyn’s licence after one of his clients, Benjamin Cavalon, killed himself by jumping off a bridge.

In the weeks running up to his death, Cavalon, a hotel receptionist, was spending on average €16,000 a day on gambling.

The group has defended itself by saying it provides classes to all its clients to teach them to identify and stop obsessive behaviour in their customers.

“We tried to reason with [Cavalon] on several occasions, but after that, what more can we do,” said Chomyn’s wife, Nathalie.

“If his parents allowed him to do it and his bank manager warned him against it, what is there left for us to do?

“We are not psychologists and it is not our role to educate our clients.”

A spokesperson for the EDJ said: “During this period (in which Cavlon was gambling excessively), we identified an unusual peak in gambling at the newsagent and we called him.

“He told us there was no problem. With our machines, it is impossible for us to know the identity of the gambler, or even if only one or several people are using it.

“We only established there was a rise in the total number of bets made.”

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