Sportsbet Ordered to Refund Thousands to Australian Man Who Sought Self-Exclusion
Posted on: June 19, 2020, 06:41h.
Last updated on: June 19, 2020, 11:04h.
Australian officials ruled earlier this month that a man who wagered nearly AUS$150,000 with a registered sportsbook was entitled to get his money back. That’s after he claimed the book failed to process his application for self-exclusion.
The Northern Territory Racing Commission ruled on June 10 in favor of the man, listed only as Mr. A. It ordered Sportsbet to pay him more than AUS$93,000, which equates to more than US$64,000. The commission could have fined or even suspended or revoked Sportsbet’s license. However, since the case dates back to 2014, and the Australian company has refined its policies, commission members opted only to add a reprimand.
According to the decision posted on the commission’s website, a financial counselor filed the complaint on behalf of the man.
On Nov. 24, 2014, he filled out the voluntary exclusion form. However, less than two months later, he was able to open an account with Sportsbet, albeit with a different email address than when he submitted his self-exclusion request.
Over a two-year period, the man deposited more than AUS$146,000, withdrawing more than AUS$53,000 while the account was active.
To Exclude or Not to Exclude
Sportsbet, in its defense, claimed the man’s initial request for self-exclusion did not include some information it needed to process the request, including his account number. It also contended that he did not respond to their requests for more information.
However, he did not have an account with the book. Instead, he was proactively seeking to exclude himself from all available sportsbooks at the time.
In addition, the commission noted that the initial paperwork still contained the person’s name and phone number. There was also a witness copied on the submission email to Sportsbet.
“When a person makes an attempt to self-exclude from gambling services, their request should be taken seriously, and all reasonable attempts should be made to ensure their request can be processed so that they can not access the gambling services they are seeking to exclude themselves from,” the commission stated in its ruling.
In this case, Sportsbet made just one attempt to seek further information from the Complainant by email. However, they did not phone the Complainant nor attempt to contact the witness to the form,” the commission continued.
Sportsbet also claimed to see potential warning signs of problem gaming activity. But in two conversations with Mr. A, the company said he was “comfortable with his gambling activities.”
Swedish Gaming Company Warned
Sportsbet wasn’t the only gaming company found recently to have violated self-exclusion guidelines.
On Monday in Sweden, the country’s consumer ombudsman agency issued an injunction against Aktiebolaget Trav and Galopp (ATG), which officials found to have sent marketing materials to people who voluntarily excluded themselves from gaming companies, as well as individuals who requested not to receive any direct marketing literature.
ATG offers betting on horse racing in the Nordic country.
The agency also discovered ATG failed to post age restrictions on some of its materials.
If the ombudsman finds ATG violates the self-exclusion policy again, the company faces a fine of 3 million krona, which amounts to slightly less than US$320,000. Failing to include age restrictions on future messaging could lead to a 1.5 million krona fine.
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