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Gambler now looks to court for luck

Bob Bowman was unstoppable at the gambling tables. His luck may have run out at the collection window.

More than a month after taking an IOU for $10,000 in winnings from a local casino boat, Bowman, known to casino boat workers as "Bud Light Bob," has sued Ward Casino Cruises Inc. to get the cash.

On June 15 and 16, Bowman, 56, of Tarpon Springs won $28,069 at the craps table aboard the Victori cruise ship but received only $18,069 in cash. The rest was promised to him in an IOU signed by the boat's assistant casino manager.

Bowman has tried to contact Ward Casino Cruises, which was doing business as Athena Cruises, several times in the past month to no avail, he said.

On his most recent attempt, he was informed that the company's telephone lines had been disconnected.

The breach of contract lawsuit, filed in Pinellas County Court on Wednesday, seeks $10,000 in damages plus court costs and attorney's fees.

The company has had a series of problems since it arrived at the Sponge Docks in May. The city cited it for violating a noise ordinance and it was warned for docking too close to neighboring boats. It was also stuck at the dock for several weeks with engine problems.

As of last week, several Victori employees hadn't been paid, and the company had a sign on the door informing them they would be paid this week. Athena Cruises manager Ken Whitcomb, who is in Tarpon Springs, referred questions to the company's attorney, who declined to comment.

Bowman doesn't think he will receive the $10,000 owed to him.

"I don't have any fantasy they will come running over with the money, believe me," Bowman said Friday. "I know I'm throwing good money after bad, but I want to make sure they don't stick it to anyone else."