A GAMBLER who turned a £17 stake into £650,000 (€801,000) over a three-and-a-half-hour online gaming session could be stripped of his jackpot in a case that a judge compared to the film 'The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo'.
Bruno Venturi (41) kept winning while playing a lottery-style game on Eurobet.com in 2009.
The company that operates the gambling website insists a software bug meant chance had nothing to do with it.
Eurobet UK Ltd, which is based in Surrey, claims that his winnings are null and void because he was mistakenly charged for only one in six of his bets. The company has refused to pay up, a decision that Mr Venturi, from Naples, is challenging in the high court in a battle which Judge Simon Brown said reminded him of the 1935 film.
'The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo', inspired by a British music hall song of the same name, tells of a former Russian aristocrat who, by luck, wins 10 million francs playing baccarat at a casino. The casino dispatches a beautiful woman to lure him back to the gambling tables and he is eventually left penniless again.
Mr Venturi, a pet shop worker who had won only meagre sums in his previous two years using the Eurobet website, says he was unaware of what was about to unfold when he logged on to play the "Sixty Seconds" game from his home in Naples.
Patrick Lawrence, counsel for Eurobet, said the bug meant it was "mathematically inevitable" that Mr Venturi would keep hitting the jackpot.
The game has been removed from the internet. The hearing continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)