Gambler Sues Ladbrokes to Recoup £3.3M in Remote Bets Due to Lack of Spanish License

Posted on: September 25, 2020, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: September 25, 2020, 11:38h.

A Scottish gambler whose sports-betting habit was so prolific he had a designated private hotline to his local Ladbrokes outlet is now suing the bookmaker for more than £3.3 million ($4.2 million) in a bid to claw back his losses.

Terry Allan, Ladbrokes
Terry Allan and the modest Ladbrokes outlet in Aberdeen where he would wager around £400k each week. (Image: Newsline Media)

From 2014 to 2018, Terry Allan wagered around £400k ($501k USD) per week through the hotline to a small betting shop in his hometown of Aberdeen. The problem is, for much of that time, the oil industry recruitment company boss was placing the bets from his vacation home in Spain.

Since 2011, betting companies have required a Spanish license to take bets in Spain, even if bets are placed remotely to an operator in the UK.

According to a lawsuit filed in London’s High Court this week, Ladbrokes, and its remote service, Ladbrokes Premier, did not have a Spanish license when Allan, a recruitment consultant for the oil industry, placed his bets. The complaint asserts that all Allan’s Spanish bets were void and unenforceable according to both Spanish and British law.

Rich Privilege 

According to the complaint, the bets were placed because of a “unilateral mistake” on Allan’s part, and they “unjustly enriched” Ladbrokes Coral, which is now owned by online gaming giant GVC.

Allan says Ladbrokes Coral workers and management were aware of his frequent trips to Spain. As a high-rolling customer, he was on very friendly terms with the staff, and even played golf in Spain with the company’s “top brass.”

But he claims management turned a blind eye to his trips, telling staff at the betting shop not to ask him where he was so they would not be obligated to decline his bets.

“In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, the claimant entered into many thousands of individual wagers with the defendant, with average weekly stakes of £400,000,” reads the complaint.

Floodgates Ajar?

Allan’s lawyer, Richard Howlett, told The Telegraph the case could “open up floodgates to thousands of claims from anyone who has ever placed a bet from abroad on the phone, or internet, or via a gambling app, or even a lottery ticket online.”

Allan is seeking repayment of £3,368,531.61 for bets placed from 2016 to 2018, plus interest of 8 percent per year. He is also seeking the return of money blown with the bookie in 2014 and 2015 but has not yet calculated those figures.

A spokesperson for Ladbrokes Coral said: “We are aware that Court proceedings have been issued against Ladbrokes on unfounded grounds that certain historic bets were accepted illegally pursuant to Spanish law. We believe the claim to be entirely without merit and intend to defend it vigorously.”