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UK London Casino Aspinall's facing tribunal over alleged racism by VIP

A Mayfair casino allowed some of its members to racially abuse black croupiers and refuse to be dealt by them, according to a legal claim brought at a tribunal.

Semhar Tesfagiorgis, 40, has filed a claim with the London employment tribunal accusing Crown London Aspinalls of race and sex discrimination.

The Eritrean mother-of-two, who has worked as a croupier at the den for 13 years, said club managers allowed guests to use racist language and behave in a racist way.

Her claim includes allegations that punters referred to black gambling tokens as 'n***** chips' and compared black people with gorillas.

Ms Tesfagiorgis said her experiences are 'all too familiar to people of my background' and vowed to quash what she described as the 'industry-wide problem' of racism at high-end London casinos.

Aspinall's in Mayfair, which is owned by Crown Resorts, refused to comment as the matter is now the subject of legal proceedings.

In papers seen by The Times, Ms Tesfagiorgis claimed that a Turkish club member called a black employee a 'n*****' in her presence in 2007. Two years later, the same gambler is alleged to have shouted at her black colleague 'that f****** n*****; that f****** dirty woman... you better get that n***** girl out of here otherwise I am never coming back to this casino'.

According to the papers filed with the tribunal, managers refused to bar him - and instead removed the black croupier from dealing with him.

Ms Tesfagiorgis has also alleged that members requested 'white, whiter or lighter-skinned' croupiers and referred to 'nice t***' in relation to female staff.

Her claim further alleges that she and another black colleague were kept away from a gambler by managers who wanted only white dealers in 2015.

And when an east Asian member allegedly requested only white croupiers last year, Aspinall's chief operating officer Michael Branson is said to have asked Ms Tesfagiorgis 'did she expect him to turn away a million-pound punter?'  

Eritrea-born Ms Tesfagiorgis said that she has filed a case with the London employment tribunal because 'over the years I have tried to reason with management on many occasions and have had no success'.

Shazia Khan, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing Ms Tesfagiorgis, said: 'The treatment has directly impacted on my client's health and well-being.' 

Aspinall's was founded in the 1960s by John Aspinall, a breeder of wild animals who funded his zoos, to a large extent, from house winnings.

Its early clientele was largely aristocratic in nature, but has since become more reflective of Mayfair's residents as the wealth of the landed gentry declined.

In a statement to The Times, the club said: 'As the matter is the subject of legal proceedings, we will not be commenting.'


Daily Mail Online