Like FB and Instagram, online betting is a sign of the times. You think it’s simple right? You put on a bet. You win or lose. Unfortunately, the Gambling Act 2005, the Gambling Commission and the myriad of regulations governing remote gambling make the legal framework very difficult to understand. It can only be hoped that the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 conducted by the government will add some clarity in this area. For now at least, specialist legal help is needed for those seeking compensation from gambling companies.
“Jamie provided me with excellent advice and support throughout. He is very knowledgeable and approachable and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.”
– Jessica, from London
What is clear however is that if a customer bets on-line with a gambling company both parties assume rights and responsibilities. What is less well known is that (in respect of transactions entered into after 1 October 2015) the Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides important legal protections to customers.
In sum, the Act requires contractual wording to be fair (not weighted against the customer and hidden away in volumes of small print text) and transparent (clear, jargon free language ought to be used to allow customers to make informed choices).
The recent High Court case involving Andrew Green and Betfred provided some illumination into this area.
Mr Green won £1.7m on a jackpot game hosted by Betfred back in 2018 and was even congratulated on being a winner.
However, he was told a few days later that Betfred would not be paying out because of a “defect” in the game which made it more likely to pay out higher sums.
The “defect” related to a malfunction which Betfred argued prevented the game from resetting properly and was an issue with its third party software provider. Betfred argued further in its defence that this scenario was covered by the terms and conditions set out in the game and meant that it was not liable to pay out.
Mrs Justice Foster delivering judgment in the High Court on 7 April 2021 and ruling in favour of Mr Green stated that the terms and conditions relied on by Betfred were:
“just not apt to cover the circumstances of this case at all.”
In the words of Mr. Green in a Sky News Article dated 8 April 2021:
“I think Betfred has treated me abysmally, but it’s not about Betfred today – I’m just ecstatic to have eventually won my case.
“But this isn’t just a win for me, it’s a win for everybody – that they can’t treat people like this.
It is pretty clear that the Courts will not tolerate- in the age of progressive consumer rights legislation- gambling companies unfairly relying on irrelevant and inappropriate contractual terms.
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