Student Sues Bet365 After £1 Million Payout Refusal
Irish teenager, Megan McCann, was just 19 when she thought she’d scooped the seven-figure sum after a winning bet on the horses, but the company accuses her of breaching its terms and conditions by not paying the whole stake herself.
In a case that could have a profound effect on the industry, Miss McCann’s lawyers retorted that the student did not agree to the ‘third party rule’, which is “too lengthy, too complex and much too vague for the average customer to understand.” They continued that such a rule would imply that anyone betting on behalf of a friend or relative would have their winnings ‘robbed’ of them, suggesting that syndicates would effectively be prevented from betting.
Our client’s case is very straightforward. She placed a bet with your client. She won. She is entitled to her winnings. – Lawyers for Megan McCann
Miss McCann, from Northern Ireland, has not received the winnings nor the original £24,960 stake back, which she placed on 960 different £13 each way ‘Lucky 15’ accumulator bets on June 22 last year. All 12 of the horses she wagered on, in four fairly obscure races, came good, and she is demanding £1,009,960 in damages.
She filed a writ in Northern Ireland’s High Court against the Gibraltar-based owners of Bet365, which is one of the largest bookmakers in Britain. Its lawyers deny any wrongdoing on behalf of its client and accuse Miss McCann of fraud by false representation and cheating.
The student contacted Bet365 the day following her ‘win’, and a member of the ‘live chat’ support staff confirmed the request and congratulated her. A day later, another member of staff phoned her, asking a series of questions before advising that the money would be processed within 48 hours. Instead, her account was closed, and the money was not transferred.
It is not the first time such a case has emerged after racehorse trainer Barney Curley successfully sued another betting company for refusing to pay out to his relatives in May 2010. Miss McCann has hired the same lawyer who fought for Mr Curley, in the hope that history will repeat itself.
Last year, the UK Gambling Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority opened a joint investigation into the alleged refusal of some online betting companies to payout, based on clauses or misleading information in their terms and conditions.