Nineteen-year-old Belfast student claims betting company owes her GBP 1,009,960
In a case that will undoubtedly catch the eye of the UK Gambling Commission, given the regulator’s recent warnings that it will strengthen consumer protection including the application of terms and conditions, a nineteen-year-old Belfast student has filed litigation against online betting group bet365 in the Belfast High Court, alleging breach of contract.
Reporting on the issue over the weekend, the Telegraph newspaper revealed that student Megan McCann is suing bet365 parent company Hillside (UK Sports) LP, claiming that she is owed GBP1,009,960 after staking almost GBP 25,000 on 12 different horses in four relatively obscure races a year ago.
After initially congratulating her, company representatives then quizzed her but confirmed payment would be forthcoming. However, her account was subsequently suspended and her withdrawal refused, along with the return of her stake.
In the legal wrangling that ensued, bet365 alleged that McCann was in flagrant breach of T&Cs which forbid punters from laying bets for third parties. McCann strongly contests this claim of wrongdoing, and her lawyers dispute that she agreed to such a rule, which is allegedly buried within terms and conditions which the McCann camp claims are “too lengthy, too complex and much too vague for the average customer to understand.”
In one exchange, McCann’s lawyer claim the bet365 T&C’s are “nothing more than a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ wish list”.
McCann’s lawyer, Andrew Montague, has previously been successful in a high profile 2010 case in which an online gambling firm refused to pay out GBP 823,000 to the relatives of Barney Curley, an Irish gambler and racehorse trainer (see previous InfoPowa report).
Responding to questions from the Telegraph, a bet365 spokesman said:
“A full investigation has been carried out into the circumstances of the bet that was placed. Bet365 is entirely satisfied the circumstances are such that winnings are not payable in relation to it.”
Sarah Harrison, CEO of the Gambling Commission, said recently:
“Gambling operators must treat customers fairly – but some have been relying on terms that are unclear with too many strings attached.”