A wealthy landlord has told a divorce court judge how he "invested" more than £1 million on spread betting.
The 50-year-old man told Judge Alan Booth that he had lost a "substantial proportion" of the money he gambled.
Judge Booth said the man began to "indulge" six years ago as a way to make "easy money", and said he had become involved on a "very significant scale".
The judge heard that the man had been "unsuccessful from the start", and said it looked as if he was "trying to lose money".
Judge Booth heard evidence about the man's betting at a private family court hearing in Blackburn earlier this year.
The judge was analysing a fight over money between the man and his estranged wife, also 50.
He has outlined detail of the case in a written ruling.
Judge Booth said neither the man nor the woman, who have three children and had lived together in Manchester, could be identified.
The judge said the man had lost more than £600,000, on spread betting, from the couple's joint account.
"[His] case is that in 2012, as a way to make easy money, he began to indulge in spread betting," said Judge Booth in the ruling.
"He immediately lost money. In 2014, and into early 2015, he began to engage in spread betting on a very significant scale.
"Over the course of a matter of months in 2014 and the early part of 2015, he 'invested' over £1 million in spread betting. He lost a substantial proportion of that money."
Judge Booth added: "[He] lost more than £600,000 from the parties' joint account by spread betting."
He said the man had been "unsuccessful from the start", but instead of stopping had "gambled bigger sums".
"I have no sensible explanation for what he was doing," said Judge Booth.
"It looks as if he was trying to lose money."
The judge said the couple had operated a property rental business which primarily served the student market.
They had enjoyed a "very high standard of living" and lived in a "substantial house" in a "nice part" of south Manchester.
The man told the judge that he wanted a "clean break" from his estranged wife and proposed selling the family home and property portfolio and spitting cash.
His outlined a plan under which he would walk away with about £1.3 million and his estranged wife with £575,000.
The woman wanted the family home and asked the judge to divide the property portfolio in such a way that it would allow her to generate income.
Judge Booth ruled in favour of the woman.