The high court in Northern Ireland has scheduled on November 13 the hearing of the case accusing bet365 of withholding almost £1 million worth of winnings.
The Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast has scheduled on November 13 the proceedings of a case involving online sports betting site bet365 and alleged unpaid winnings.
The case accused bet365 of breach of contract after depriving Megan McCann, a student from Northern Ireland, of her winnings from wagering in horse races. McCann also alleged that not only did the British sportsbook deny McCann of her prize worth almost £1 million, but the betting site also refused to return her £24,960 initial stake.
Meanwhile, bet365 maintained that it has the right to withhold both the winnings and the initial wager. The bookmaker claimed that McCann has broken a rule on the site’s terms and conditions that prohibit wagers put up by a third party.
Andrew Montague, McCann’s lawyer, said:
“This is something of a ‘déjà vu’ scenario for me, but as the case is now before the Belfast High Court, I am not in a position to comment further.”
A spokesperson for bet365 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. We expect this position to be upheld at trial. We are not prepared to comment further whilst litigation is ongoing.”
An expert in gambling-related cases, Montague won a ruling against another online sportsbook—Betfred—which refused to hand over more than £800,000 worth of winnings to his clients.
The Case in Brief
According to the case files, McCann placed a wager worth almost £25,000 on a dozen horses in 2016. The bets won her £985,000, which she then requested to withdraw a day later.
The documents suggested that customer support advised that the bookie would process the withdrawal within two days. However, bet365 withheld the winnings and closed McCann’s account.
McCann’s lawyers, in a legal letter addressed to bet365, wrote:
“Our client’s case is very straightforward. She placed a bet with your client. She won. She is entitled to her winnings.”
However, bet365’s lawyers responded that the case is not just about McCann deserving her wins. According to the reply, the online sportsbook believed that a third party supplied the wager placed by the bettor. That breach of the site’s terms and conditions, according to bet365, justified the decision to withhold both the prize and the stake.
Furthermore, bet365 accused McCann of committing different criminal charges, including fraud and cheating.
Bet365’s lawyers said:
“It is a case in which your client has been operating the account… using the funds of and for the benefit of third parties in flagrant breach of our client’s terms. Our client has reasonable grounds to suspect your client to be guilty of criminal offences including fraud by false representation; cheating or attempted cheating.”
McCann’s legal team denied that she had the knowledge of the contested rule, which was buried in the terms and conditions that are “too lengthy, too complex and much too vague for the average customer to understand.”
The case could have a profound effect in the British gambling scene wherein most players simply agree to the terms of a betting site without reading carefully.