British gambling giant Betfred told to pay stiffed winner £1.7m jackpot after claiming ‘software problem’

The High Court of England and Wales has ruled that bookmaker Betfred must pay a Lincolnshire blackjack player £1.7m ($2.3m) in winnings that the betting site withheld because of a supposed software glitch.

In a statement emailed to The Register, a Betfred spokesperson said, “Mr Green won the jackpot three times whilst playing a game provided by one of our third party suppliers. The supplier reported a software problem to us and advised that we should withhold payment.”

“However, we will abide by the court’s decision and not appeal. We would like to apologize to Mr Green for the delay in receiving his money.”

Betfred’s spokesperson declined to elaborate on whether this purported payment multiplication error has since been addressed in the app.

The case started in January 2018 when Andrew Green, 54, a resident of the small British village of Washingborough, won the jackpot playing Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven, a blackjack app. But Betfred refused to honor the payout, claiming that there had been a software error. Instead, the company proposed to pay Green £60,000, provided he signed a non-disclosure agreement and promised not to make a fuss.

Green refused and in April 2019, he filed a claim against Betfred’s parent company, Gibraltar-based Petfred, for £2m – to cover interest on his withheld winnings – with the High Court in London. On Wednesday, the court agreed.

“Along with my family, I have been through some very low times and become very down,” Green told the BBC.

“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.”

The High Court found that Betfred must meet its contractual obligations and that the company’s terms and conditions, said to be 49 pages long, were insufficient to dissolve that commitment.

High Court judge Mrs Justice Foster dismissed the company’s legalese, saying it was “inadequate,” and “not transparent or fair and Betfred were not entitled to rely upon them.”

Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven is made by Playtech, a gambling technology company based on the Isle of Man that was not involved in the litigation. ®

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