• Konrad Kwiatkowski

A Long Process Of Wearing Down A Winner

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

Gamblers need to trust that online gambling sites will pay out legitimate winnings, sometimes that trust is misplaced. Ursula battled for six years to get her winnings from a Maltese based online gambling site. Green Table Legal stepped in and at long last justice was served; Ursula was finally paid her winnings.

Ursula is an Australian resident, a keen online gambler Ursula opened an account with a Bet-At-Home, a well-known gambling operator licensed in Malta.

Malta is a favoured administrative base for online gambling businesses due to the favourable legal and taxation regime in place. Frequently, the Maltese business is a subsidiary or branch office of a parent based in another country. In this case, the parent is listed on the German stock market and is an enormous enterprise with millions of registered clients.

Ursula chose to gamble with Bet-At-Home because the brand is very well known and has been trading for a long time. These factors gave her the confidence to open an account.

In 2012, after several months of being a client, Ursula had amassed winnings of approximately €2000. Ursula decided to withdraw the winnings and deposits on her account, a total of almost €3000. At this moment Ursula’s problems began.

This is a case that ran for several years until Green Table Legal stepped in; at which point matters speeded up, finally concluding over six years later after Ursula’s withdrawal request.

A Long Process Of Wearing Down A Winner

When Ursula asked to withdraw her winnings, the company chose to institute a ‘Know Your Customer’ process before paying out. She completed the online forms as requested and awaited her payment.

The casino did not pay out.

The casino began requesting a myriad of documents: bank statements, utility bills, and finally a picture of her papers with her face in the same frame to prove that she was the rightful holder of the documents in question.

The casino did not pay out.

Next, the company started to ask her about several other accounts held by other clients of Bet-At-Home which the casino alleged were connected to her. To the best of her ability, she answered the allegations of the casino management. During this process, Bet-At-Home told Ursula that the documents and explanations she had provided were satisfactory and that she was going to be paid her winnings.

The casino did not pay out.

In June 2016, four years after starting the process of getting her money from Bet-At-Home, Ursula had a small victory. Bet-At-Home paid out Ursula’s deposit but still refused to pay her winnings.

This process of asking Ursula to prove a negative that she was not connected to the accounts of a group of people she did not know went on. Eventually she gave up, but fortunately, she did not lose or destroy the communications with Bet-At-Home. In late 2017, some five years after her initial request for payment, Ursula came across Green Table Legal and asked for our assistance.

Green Table Legal Takes On Ursula’s Case

When Ursula approached our team our first impressions were positive. Ursula had a file of communications which enabled us to see that she might have a valid case. Our legal team carried out their due diligence and decided that Ursula had a viable claim. Green Table Legal took up arms in Ursula's battle with Bet-At-Home.

Green Table Legal always takes great care to assess a case before taking it on. We need to be sure that the client has an excellent legal case because, while many online gambling companies are lacking in integrity, sometimes honest clients make mistakes and break the rules, or are even less than totally straight themselves. Because Ursula’s case was strong, and she was a credible client, we were happy to enter the fray with Bet-At-Home on Ursula’s behalf.

How Green Table Legal Got Their Client’s Money From the Online Casino

The first step in dealing with an online casino that refuses to pay out winnings to their clients is to contact them with a letter from our legal team. In Late September 2017, we wrote to Bet-At-Home. In our letter, we restated Ursula's case and requested payment of her winnings and interest from 2012 at a rate of 8% per annum. The claim for winnings and accrued interest by this time amounted to almost €3000.

As we expected, the reply, wrapped up in irrelevant quotes from their terms and conditions was a refusal to pay out.

It was clear that Bet-At-Home had decided to justify their refusal to pay out because Ursula was in cahoots with several other people who had accounts with the site. Mindful of this justification to refuse to pay out her legitimate winnings, our lawyers wrote asking Bet-At-Home to show some evidence of this collusion; the casino refused to comply.

Over the course of our correspondence, the legal department at Bet-At-Home changed their justification for refusing to pay Ursula from the original claim that she had been, in some unexplained way, colluding with other clients of Bet-At-Home. Now there was a new justification; that Ursula had been operating two accounts under her name. Bet-At-Home was unable or unwilling to provide any documents to support this new claim.

This new justification, from Bet-At-Home, raised concerns that she had been a victim of identity theft. Under the Data Protection Act, Bet-At-Home was required to provide this information so that Ursula could protect herself from the effects of any data protection breach.

Given Bet-At-Home’s refusal to comply with Data Protection Act requirements Green Table Legal was left with only one option, to take legal action against the casino in their home jurisdiction, Malta.

The court case took several months to conclude, but by late February of 2018, the court reached a verdict. The Maltese court decided that there were no grounds for the online casino to refuse to pay out Ursula’s winnings and made an order requiring Bet-At-Home to make the payment to our client.

Victory For Green Table Legal And Their Client

Green Table Legal’s victory came in a somewhat unexpected manner, the casino company chose not to file a reply to the case, and so Ursula won by default. Bet-At-Home was required to pay Ursula's winnings and the legal costs of the case. However, this was not the end of the matter! Bet-At-Home, even at the order of the Maltese court still did not pay out Ursula’s money.

Green Table Legal contacted Bet-At-Home again, with a final judgement and a final request for payment. In May 2018 Bet-At-Home finally settled their account with Ursula.

Final Thoughts About This Case

  1. Given that the casino management changed their story about the reason for not paying out Ursula’s winnings it would seem likely that the decision had no basis in fact but was the result of a policy of withholding payments to legitimate winners.

  2. The strategy employed by Bet-At-Home was to grind down and exhaust the patience of their client in the expectation that she would give up and go away. The lesson is that if you think you have a valid claim against an online casino, do not give up. Giving up is what the casino wants, and expects, you to do.

  3. Although the company would have known of the existence of the duplicate accounts and they were aware of the existence of the accounts claimed to be linked with Ursula, Bet-At-Home had no problem accepting wagers from any of these accounts until Ursula was winning. They were happy to take money from any of these accounts while the casino was making money from them.

  4. Keep records of all interactions and communications with any online gambling business. Without a good record of communications, it is not possible to take legal action to claim winnings wrongfully withheld from you.

A copy of the final judgement with translation can be seen below:

Click here to see pages in full resolution: page_1 | page_2 | page_3 | page_4