UK Online Casino Operator Betfred Loses £1.5 Million Court Fight Over Former Customer’s Winnings
UK gambler Andrew Green, 54, has finally won his 3-year court case against online casino operator Betfred and its owner, Gibraltar-based Petfre.
Betfred is now required to pay Mr. Green the £1.5 million ($2,057,000) he won back in 2018, plus £500,000 ($685,000) in interest and compensation payments.
Mr. Green won the prize that made him a millionaire playing Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven Blackjack in January 2018. He won the game’s 500k jackpot three times in a row, which the game’s developer Playtech subsequently told Betfred was not supposed to happen.
For five blissful days, Mr. Green received no word from Betfred about the alleged error. Believing he was an imminent millionaire, he extended his overdraft and spent some £2500 ($3430) on celebrations and gifts for those closest to him in his life, reported the BBC.
However, on the sixth day after his win, a Betfred representative phoned to tell him that an unexpected “software error” meant they would not be paying out his win.
At the time, Mr. Green told reporters he felt like his “insides had been ripped out” after the phone call.
In April 2019, Mr. Green took his case to the UK’s High Court. He was in poor health at the time of the jackpot win, and in the three years since then has had two heart attacks – one of which he attributes to stress from the legal battle.
Betfred has insistently claimed that the jackpot awarding three times was an error in the game code. The company cited a clause in their terms and conditions that is supposed to cover “glitches or malfunctions” in games.
However, they did not provide any evidence of this particular game’s error to Mr. Green’s lawyers or the High Court.
Under UK Gambling Commission legislation, Playtech did provide an error report at the time – but it was only four lines long, and Betfred did not see it fit to use it in court.
This did not bode well for Betfred’s case. The company tried to settle with Mr. Green twice, for £30,000 ($41,000) and £60,000 ($82,000), but he and his lawyers rejected both offers.
In her final decision to settle the case in favor of Mr. Green last week, Justice Foster called Betfred’s case “inadequate.”
The particular clauses designed to cover Betfred in case of malfunction or error were “not transparent or fair and Betfred were not entitled to rely upon them.”
Hell on Earth
“The last three years have felt like hell on Earth” Mr. Green said in a statement outside the UK’s Supreme Court in Westminster, London.
“Along with my family, I have been through some very low times and become very down. My physical health has also suffered badly” he continued.
“But today, I feel like the world has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel so incredibly happy and relieved – for me, my family and my legal team. The champagne can finally come off ice”Mr. Green
This isn’t the biggest case of a casino game awarding a larger payout than intended, however.
Spare a thought for Oklahoma woman Maribel Sanchez, who scooped an $8,469,498.95 prize on a $1 bet in February 2020 seconds before the machine crashed. Her court case is still ongoing.
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