Our Success Story Against UK White Label Giant
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
In the following case study names and other details have been obscured to protect the parties involved, including the online gambling business.
This case involved a British client of a ‘white label’ gambling site.
A white label gambling site is one where the infrastructure and management of the site are provided by a third-party vendor. The branding of the site is provided by another company; often a well- known brand such as a newspaper, broadcaster, or a firm such as a betting company seeking to broaden its reach at low cost.
The marketing brand partner has no gambling interaction with the customer. Of course, many of the clients do not know how the relationship works and think they are dealing with an individual business and not a part of a network of sites all managed and run by the white label provider. N.B. White label operators are required to make it clear that the site is part of a network of sites but, even so, many clients miss this information, and also, when they do know this, it can be challenging to identify all the network member sites.
Opening The Account
Our client, Elizabeth, opened an account at one of these UK licensed white label sites. She was allowed to deposit more than £20,000 with no identification checks.
Elizabeth went on to win a substantial sum in excess of her deposit. Immediately that happened her account was closed, and her deposit was refunded, but the gambling company confiscated her winnings and would not pay them out to her.
Elizabeth, quite naturally, thought that she had been cheated. In her opinion, it was clear that the gambling company was happy to take her money and would have been happy for her to lose it all, but she was not going to be allowed to profit from good luck, and her winnings - We at Green Tables Legal agreed with her!
Confiscation of winnings is the kind of situation that many online gamblers find themselves in. They do not know what happened, how they ended up having large sums of money that they have won taken from them.
How Did We Handle This Case?
The first part of the process of getting a client’s money from the offending gambling site is to carry out a fact-find. Our goal at this stage is to look at the evidence provided by the client and understand whether the gambling site’s activities were wrong.
In this case, in our opinion, the client, Elizabeth, had a strong case.
Elizabeth had opened an account with a branded site that was new to her.
The site’s managers had accepted a large deposit of £20,000 without asking for any additional information.
The site managers had allowed Elizabeth to gamble on the site until she had winnings that she wanted to withdraw; this was the first indication of any problems with her account. Also, Elizabeth, after registering with the white labelled site, had noticed that the layout and features seemed similar to another website where she had held an account and assumed, correctly, that the site was part of a network. Elizabeth had previously self-excluded herself from one of the other gambling sites in the white label network, and so, before making any deposits, she contacted Customer Support and asked if she was allowed to play on the site on which she had just registered. The Customer Support agent told her that she could indeed gamble on the site. To Elizabeth’s credit, she kept a transcript of the Customer Service chat session and shared it with our team.
Following this positive outcome, Elizabeth placed deposits and started using the site. At one point she was down by several thousand pounds, she regained her position, and when she was ahead by a substantial amount decided to claim her winnings.
When she discovered that her money had was confiscated, she contacted the site and was told that her money was withheld because she had been trying to manipulate the gambling site. Elizabeth contended that if she had not contacted Customer Service and obtained their consent to her using the site, then she would have been in the wrong, but she had been open, gained approval and proceeded on that basis.
Of course, it is indicative that the gambling site operator was happy to see her lose money without any issue, but it was when she went into profit that her problems arose.
Examination of Terms and Conditions
Having reviewed Elizabeth’s story and her evidence it seemed that she had a strong case. We could not see a justification in the Terms and Conditions for the casino to confiscate their client’s winnings. She had notified the company, and they had explicitly agreed that even though she had used one or more of their other sites, it was okay for her to open and use a new account on this latest site.
Our Action On Behalf Of Elizabeth
Our legal team wrote a letter that was clearly a preliminary step toward court action. In the letter, we made clear our opinion of the facts of the case, including references to the relevant sections of the terms and conditions of the white label site. We asked that the company pay out Elizabeth’s winnings. We suggested that the motivation for closing the account was a desire not to pay out winnings that had been legitimately gained.
The Gaming Company Reply
The gaming company management, as might be expected, denied the claims we made. They did not deny that any of the communications we had seen took place. However, they placed a different interpretation on them. In their opinion, Elizabeth had framed her questions of the Customer Service agent in such a way as to get the responses that she wanted to get.
The good news for Elizabeth was that, in the final paragraphs of a long letter, the casino management indicated that they would pay out the winnings to Elizabeth.
Our Thoughts About The Case
It is not always easy for clients to know that a big name branded gambling site is not managed by the company whose name is featured throughout the site. Even if they do, it is a challenge to know all the members of the white label network. For this reason, it falls to the site operators to ensure that their back-office systems can track clients across the network. By not checking ID the operators had no way to reliably identify the client as one who should not have been playing.
The case was made much more complicated due to the system of branded white label gambling sites licensed in the United Kingdom.
At the customer service level, there seem to be two faces of customer relations management. The first is the friendly, helpful face designed to encourage new clients and onboard them to spend their money. The second is the unhelpful stonewalling that comes when the gambling company sees an opportunity to retain monies due to winning clients.
The gaming site was entirely happy to see their client lose and did not choose the point where she was thousands of pounds down to close her account and refund her deposits.
The gaming site was unwilling to interact with an ‘ordinary’ client on this customer service issue and only did so under threat from a knowledgeable team able to use their legal knowledge to create motivation and pressure to do the right thing.
Following from point three, it is clear that obtaining redress from a wealthy business, with complicated legal structure spread over many offshore jurisdictions, and doing business online is complex and challenging to the point of impossibility for an average person.
As a precaution, always keep copies of emails, chat transcripts and any other communications with an online gambling site.
If you have experienced similar treatment from an online gambling site, then please contact us. We may be able to help you to reclaim what is rightfully yours.