UK Lottery Operator Camelot Sued Over £1M Online Scratch-Off ‘Win’

Posted on: April 4, 2022, 10:43h. 

Last updated on: April 4, 2022, 12:03h.

UK National Lottery Operator Camelot is facing legal action from a British woman who says she is owed £1 million ($1.3 million) from an online scratch-off game.

UK National Lottery
Joan Parker-Grennan, pictured, was congratulated for winning £1 million on an online scratch-off, but was ultimately paid just £10. (Image:

In 2015, Joan Parker-Grennan of Boston, Lincolnshire, played the “£20Million Online Spectacular” game on the UK National Lottery website. She thought she’d hit the big time.

The 53-year-old bookkeeper matched two number 15s to win £10 and then two 1s for a £1 million payday. She was even congratulated by a digital animation that accompanies big wins on the game.

Except it wasn’t a big payday, according to Camelot. When Parker-Grennan tried to claim her prize, she was told the game had experienced a glitch, which meant the £1 million winning numbers had been displayed in “the wrong boxes.” Instead of a life-changing sum, Parker-Grennan had won just £10 (US$13), Camelot explained.

Last month, the UK Gambling Commission handed Camelot a $3.15 million (US$4.13 million) fine after another system glitch led to as many as 20,000 winners being told they had lost over a four-year period.

Rules are Rules

Parker-Grennan has precisely the opposite problem. She said Camelot has turned down her lawyer’s suggestion of a £700,000 settlement, leaving her no choice but to fight for the full sum in court — and maybe more. Her lawsuit asks for “monies due under a consumer contract between the parties and/or damages for breach of a consumer contract.”

In a statement, Camelot said the glitch affected “a very small number of National Lottery players who had a problem when playing the £20million Cash Spectacular Online Instant Win Game, relating to how the game animation displayed.

The outcome of every National Lottery Instant Win Game play is pre-determined at time of purchase, and the animation is purely for entertainment purposes,” the company added. “The game had been on sale less than 12 hours when we became aware of the issue and immediately disabled it.”

Glitches in gambling games, whether live casino slots or online scratch cards, are not unheard of. But they are usually covered by the rules. For example, if you closely examine a Las Vegas slot machine, chances are you’ll see a disclaimer that says, “Malfunction voids all pays and plays.”

That means these cases usually don’t work out well for the disgruntled plaintiffs, whose dreams of life-changing wealth have been cruelly dashed by the small print. But one such case in the UK, against Betfred, was recently successful, offering Parker-Grennan some hope.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

In 2016, Katrina Bookman, a single mother of four, momentarily believed she had won $42,949,672 on a slot machine at the Resorts World Casino in Queens.

It would have been the biggest slot win in history had it been real. But it wasn’t. Casino officials pointed out that the maximum payout on the machine was $6,500, adding that they did not pay for malfunctions.

Instead of the world’s biggest slots win, they offered Bookman $2.25 and a free dinner.

She sued without success.