A Battle For Huge €120'000 Win. Fake Emails, Fraud, And Deception.
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
If you win big from an online casino can you trust them to pay you out? Sadly, all too often, casinos will refuse to pay out, holding on to many thousands of Euros of winnings. All too often casinos end up being the winners, with your money. Here’s how one man is working with Green Table Legal to be paid the €120,000 that he is owed.
Early in 2016, Ingmar opened an account with a Malta-based site Casino Cruise. The site was, at the time, a white label site managed and operated on behalf of the brand owner by Every Matrix.
Ingmar was very active and due to his large deposits and wagers was, within 48 hours, offered access to the casino’s VIP program. The VIP program gave him access to deposit bonuses and cashbacks. One of the many perks of being a high roller like Ingmar is getting access to named VIP customer service managers. Just a few days after joining and entering the company’s VIP High Roller programme Ingmar contacted his supervisor, Emma Olden, to discuss the terms and conditions as they applied to bonuses and the bonus rules.
As an experienced hand, Ingmar knew that the low limits such as a $5/spin rule and the standard turnover rules were useless to him. As he told Emma, to play within their rules, he would have to be gambling for weeks on end. The next day Emma got back to Ingmar and said to him that Casino Cruise was going to remove bet limits on bonuses, but that a turnover limit which he thought was difficult, but acceptable, was added.
Over the following days, Ingmar lost a large amount of money. In order to encourage him, the casino offered him a series of bonuses to enable him to continue gambling. It was during a session with bonus money that Ingmar had a good win. Ingmar won several tens of thousands of Euros, but the turnover limit meant he could not withdraw the money. His luck stayed with him, and while meeting his turnover hurdle, his winning streak continued. Ingmar ended up with €120,000 in winnings; he thought that this would be an excellent time to get out, while he was ahead.
In the online chat, his second VIP customer service manager, Michael Schreiber, congratulated Ingmar on his good fortune. The very next day, rather than authorising the pay-out of Ingmar’s winnings, Michael informed him that his winnings had been confiscated for breaking the $5 wager limit!
A Little Background To This Story
1) Ingmar has a long history of gambling and registered himself as having a gambling problem. His gambling led to the failure of his business and personal bankruptcy. This led to complications in dealing with Casino Cruise, although they took no action earlier in his relationship with the casino, at a time when he was losing money.
His gambling addiction only became an issue when he had won a sizeable amount of money at which point his account was suspended under Casino Cruise’s responsible gaming policy.
It was Ingmar’s firm opinion that the casino was happy to ignore his gambling addiction and the clear signs of it during earlier communications with the company when he was many thousands of Euros down, but that it was his winning that led to the change of attitude.
2) When Ingmar became a client of Casino Cruise the business was a white label of another company, Every Matrix. During the process of trying to get his winnings, the company obtained its own Malta gaming license. This led to a purposeful attempt to muddy the waters surrounding the case as Every Matrix and Casino Cruise each tried to avoid responsibility for the solution of Ingmar's claim.
3) Before coming to Green Table Legal, Ingmar had tried to find a remedy to his case by other means. He had raised his case on AskGamblers.com which, as well as promoting online gambling sites also has a system for raising customer complaints with casinos.
Having raised the case, contributors from Casino Cruise responded in the forum thread set up on AskGamblers, but ultimately, despite positive noises from the casino, the matter was left unresolved when the casino ceased responding to AskGamblers staff.
Next, Ingmar approached the Malta Gaming Authority who took his case for investigation. The MGA accepted the Casino Cruise side of the story, seemingly without question, and rejected Ingmar's claim.
Ingmar’s claim was based upon his understanding that he had, as a VIP high roller, been given permission by Casino Cruise to bet more than the normal $5 stake limit when using bonus funds. His understanding was not based upon his recollection but upon an email sent out by Emma, his VIP customer service manager at Casino Cruise.
Green Table Legal Takes Ingmar’s Case Against A Dishonest Online Casino
Having failed to resolve his case through all other avenues, Ingmar approached Green Table Legal. We carried out our due diligence to make sure that Ingmar was credible, that his case seemed to be genuine and that Casino Cruise owed Ingmar the money he claimed.
Having reviewed the documentation that Ingmar had retained, we accepted Ingmar’s case.
Finding The Crucial Email
In our opinion, if we could confirm the existence of the email to Ingmar in which he was given permission to bet more than normal bonus levels, then his winnings were valid, and Casino Cruise should have paid Ingmar.
Our first step was to use the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that had come into force in Malta in 2018. Under the terms of the act, we were able to require Casino Cruise and their white label service provider to provide full details of Ingmar’s communications with the casino.
Casino Cruise and the white label complied with our request and we received the full correspondence history with both emails and live chat transcripts. In the communications, we were able to find the email from Emma authorising Ingmar to exceed the normal betting limits. We also found the later email from the company claiming that no such email existed. Coincidentally both emails were sent by the same person!
An Easy Solution, Casino Cruise Pays Out?
When we approached Casino Cruise to share the evidence from their own records that Ingmar's winnings were valid, we hoped that the matter would end there with a relatively rapid pay-out of the €120,000 winnings. We were disappointed but not surprised to have our approach rejected. Casino Cruise now made a new claim, that Ingmar had hacked into their computer system and added a fake email into their records.
On its face, the claim was unlikely to be true, Ingmar is a small business owner with no hacking expertise. As a bankrupt, he had neither the skills to hack the system himself or the resources to pay somebody else to do it for him.
We asked for some evidence that the email was fake but received nothing positive. The companies repeated that the email was false and refused to support their claim with evidence.
Given this stonewall from the casino and white label operator, we had no other choice than to start litigation in the Maltese court system.
A Never-Ending Story!
Once the legal team at Green Table Legal determined that litigation was to be the only way forward, we chose to start a process of seizing assets of the white label provider, Every Matrix. The white label provider is responsible for the administration of the gaming sites under its control. We were concerned that the white label provider might not have enough money to pay out Ingmar when his case succeeds.
We applied to the Maltese court for an administrative seizure of assets to protect Ingmar’s interests and the court granted our application. That was good news on two levels:
1) There will be enough money to pay out Ingmar, the legal costs and interest accrued since 2016.
2) By granting the application to seize assets the court has signalled that, in the court’s opinion, we have a strong case. If the court believed our case was weak, they would not have granted the application.
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The case has not yet finished, having presented our evidence, we are waiting for the court’s final judgement. This page will be updated when we have received the verdict and, as we expect, been able to pass Ingmar’s €120,000 winnings on to him.
How You Can Protect Yourself
When you open an account with an online gambling site, always make sure to keep a record of all online chats, download transcripts of conversations, keep emails, make screenshots of relevant pages.
Always check if the site is a white label site or if you are dealing with a site that has its own gaming license and runs its own operations. Every site being run by a company in partnership with a white label operator is required to show this information clearly on its web pages. When dealing with a website operated by a white label provider that you know who you are communicating with, whether you are talking to the white label operator or the branding partner.
If you have been wrongfully denied payment of winnings you can contact us and we can assess your case and, if accepted, we will work with you to get the money that you are owed. As you can see, we are serious and diligent when we work on your behalf.