Bet365 Million-Pound Customer Payout Dispute Heads to Court

Posted on: September 9, 2018, 08:00h. 

Last updated on: September 7, 2018, 02:25h.

A woman who claims sports betting giant Bet365 owes her more than £1 million in winnings and damages will have her day in court. Northern Irish student Megan McCann was 19 years old when she placed 960 each-way “Lucky 15” bets on 12 horses in four races in June 2016.

Bet365 claims Megan McCann’s stake was provided by a third-party when she won almost £1 million in June 2017, which means the bets are void in accordance with their terms and conditions. (Image: Bet365)

Lucky 15s are a type of accumulator where the bettor makes four selections which can result in up to 15 payouts depending on how many selections come in.

In this case, her selections cleaned up, generating £984,833 in winnings. But while Bet365 accepted the bets, it refused to pay out, claiming the teenager’s stake was provided by a third party in violation of its terms and conditions. To add insult to injury, it has also refused to return the stake in question.

‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’

In July last year, McCann sued Bet365 for £1,009,960, claiming breach of contract. On Wednesday, a November 13 date was set for a full-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast.

According to McCann’s lawyer, Andrew Montague, the case is simple: “She placed a bet. She won. She is entitled to her winnings.”

Montague has previous: in 2010 he successfully challenged a ruling by the Gibraltar Gambling Commission that could withhold payouts totaling £765,000 to family members of the notorious Irish professional gambler and racehorse trainer Barney Curley.

Montague has dismissed Bet365’s t&cs as a “‘heads I win, tails you lose’ wish list.”

Regulations May Back Bet365

But the bookmaker’s small print is not purely designed to prevent banned winning players from cleaning up via proxy bettors — although this is certainly part of it. Third-party betting is strictly regulated by the UK Gambling Commission for valid anti-money laundering reasons, a factor that should add weight to the company’s case.

UKGC regulations advise that, for operators that do accept third-party bets, “know your customer (KYC) requirements apply equally to the person who holds an account with you and any individuals funding that account.”

Where we determine that a gambling business has not met their obligations, because they have not managed the risk of third party funding of accounts, we may take regulatory action against the business, the relevant Personal Management Licence holders, or both,” it warns.

McCann’s case claims Bet365 uses “unconscionable, exploitative and unlawful” practices against its customers. Bet365, on the other hand, accuses McCann of “fraud and cheating.”

The company said it conducted an investigation into the circumstances of the bet and was “satisfied the winnings are not payable” — a decision it says it expects to be upheld in court.