A man has won a High Court fight against a betting firm over its refusal to pay a £1.7 million jackpot he won in an online casino.
Andrew Green, 54, from Lincolnshire, said he was devastated and felt as though he had been “robbed” when Betfred told him it would not pay out following his win in 2018 because of a “defect” in the game.
He brought legal action against the firm at the High Court in London and, on Wednesday, a judge ruled in his favour.
Following his victory after a three-year battle with the firm over the jackpot, Mr Green said he was delighted to have won his case – which means he will finally receive his payout, plus interest.
He said: “The last three years have felt like hell on earth. I think Betfred have treated me abysmally, but it’s not about Betfred today – I’m just ecstatic to have eventually won my case.
“Along with my family, I have been through some very low times and become very down.
“My physical health has also suffered badly, and I sometimes wished I’d never won this money, because it was just making my life a misery.
“But today, I feel like the world has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel so incredibly happy and relieved – for me, my family and my legal team.
“The champagne can finally come off ice and be savoured.”
Mr Green encouraged others who have fallen foul of betting firm rules to challenge them and said his case showed that it is possible to get justice, adding: “This is not just a win for me, but a win for everybody in a similar position.”
At a hearing in October, Mr Green’s lawyers asked Mrs Justice Foster to either rule in his favour or strike out Betfred’s defence to his claim.
Lawyers for Betfred, which is contesting the case, argued the dispute should be resolved at a full trial.
But Mrs Justice Foster ruled in Mr Green’s favour, finding that one of the terms and conditions set out by Betfred in the game, which was relied on by the firm in its defence to the claim, was “just not apt to cover the circumstances of this case at all”.
She said: “It is not dealing with the failure to pay out winnings at all. Nor is it dealing with a fault or glitch or programming mistake that is undetectable to either party.”
The judge added: “I am of the clear view that these clauses in the terms and conditions are inadequate to exempt Betfred from the obligation to pay out on an ostensibly winning bet or series of bets.”
She also concluded that none of the terms seeking to exclude liability were “sufficiently brought to the attention of Mr Green so as to be incorporated in the gaming contracts he entered with Betfred”.
Mr Green played the game, called Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven Blackjack, in January 2018 on an online platform hosted by Betfred.
Having won £1,722,923.54 by the time he stopped playing, he tried to withdraw it – but his withdrawal was declined.
Betfred’s lawyers argued the bookmaker was not liable to pay because the game contained a “defect” which made it more likely to pay out higher sums in winnings than intended.
Mr Green’s solicitor Peter Coyle, of law firm Coyle White Devine, said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Andy and his family.
“Over the last three years I think I’ve done as much counselling as I’ve given legal advice, as Andy’s mental resilience has been tested by Betfred to its very limit.
“Today’s decision by Mrs Justice Foster makes it all worthwhile. Our justice system has delivered exactly the right result and it will give hope to others who may be thinking that the big, rich guys always win.”