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Gambler threatens to sue casino over missing cash

A PRETORIA man has threatened to take legal action against gambling giant Emperors Palace after security allegedly opened his safe for a stranger who helped herself to almost R120,000 of his winnings.

Abednigo Lamola had won R135,000 from the casino on the weekend of July 7. He says after the lucky night at the roulette tables, management offered him a room - on the house - and at about 7am he decided to retire to his suite.

He says a woman who followed him to the reception area where he checked in, also went into the lift with him.

"I was not sure if she was staff or what because she asked me my room number and directed me. She followed me to my room and stood at the door.

"She was talking, something about how nice the room was, but I was not paying attention. I was focused on putting the money in the safe. I just kept saying 'yes' as she spoke," says Lamola, who adds that because he opened the closet door, the stranger could not see the money he was locking away.

He says he heard her say "okay" and the door closed. That was the last he saw or heard of her.

"I wanted to make a phone call but realised my battery was flat. I decided to go to the car to use my other phone," said Lamola.

On his way back to the room he stopped at reception and asked for toothpaste and brush.

"While there the hotel manager said a lady in my room called asking for a safe to be opened," he says.

"I asked whose permission was needed for that as I never gave consent."

Lamola says the tables manager joined the conversation and confirmed that he told the hotel manager not to open the safe as he saw Lamola was alone and had won a lot of money.

The men rushed to the gate but were told that a woman matching the description had already left the premises.

Lamola says security cameras confirmed his story. He has opened a theft case at the Kempton Park police station after Emperors Palace wrote a letter confirming that he had won the money at the casino.

Captain Jethro Mtshali confirms the case but said police were still investigating.

- moengk@sowetan.co.za

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