McBookie – refusing payout of £150.00 - Resolved
I received the “Tartan Club” email from McBookie at the weekend and decided that I would do a bet on the Celtic game and get my free bet on the Liverpool game. My bet on Celtic game did not win but I won £150.00 on the Liverpool correct score.
I was emailed last night by the bookmaker who told me that I was not getting my payment as they deemed me to be a bonus abuser, they stated that people in my locality had also taken advantage of the offer and therefore I am deemed to be guilty by association. They have provided no proof and it is simply their word against mine.
I was aghast; The Tartan Club is for "respected members who are not deemed to be abusers" and are selected by the bookie (I did not opt into this club) so I stated that I should not have received the offer should they have thought I was only taking advantage of them, I have contacted them and tried to reach a mutually acceptable outcome – I said I would even settle for 50% or for the winnings to be donated to charity but they have declined.
Any help would be greatly appreciated, I intend to initially contact the gambling authority and if needs be the Scottish press.
I have not broken any of the rules and am the sole account holder, I do not hold any other accounts nor does anyone else in my household.
Welcome to the site. Sorry your first post is being made in such circumstances.
Have they quoted a specific rule they say you've breached because it all sounds a bit too vague?
Whilst they say in their rules “We reserve the right to refuse the whole or any part of any bet” - refuse meaning "to decline to accept" - it is clear from 11b that “A bet placed via the Internet will be deemed confirmed when it has been accepted and logged by McBookie 's servers. Customers will then receive a message on their screen to confirm the transaction details." So your bet was not refused, it was accepted.
Furthermore, they say “Once accepted a bet can only be cancelled by mutual consent unless a pricing error has occurred and a bet is cancelled.” This bet was cancelled after the outcome was known, not because of a pricing error and not by mutual consent. On bet cancellations, their terms page only states “McBookie reserves the right to cancel any bet made on an obviously "bad" line or a wager made after an event has started.”
Where they do say they can refuse to pay out (and even confiscate deposits) is where they believe people are multi-accounting: “Opening of multiple accounts is not permitted. Should we have reasonable suspicions that any of our customers has opened multiple accounts with us we reserve the right in our absolute discretion to freeze that customer’s account or to close the account immediately and the customer shall forfeit all his winnings. Customers should also note that their original deposits will not be refunded. Customers shall also be liable towards McBookie for damages and costs incurred as a result of the fraud.”
So in their email to you, have their made reference to multiple accounting? I see you say "locality" but not sure if they said anything more on that? I'm not saying this is what you've done, just wondering if that is actually the basis for not paying in their eyes.
If that's not what they're accusing you of, I can only think they really are saying this offer is not open to you because you're not a "genuine" customer. Therefore, can I ask if the Tartan Club email you received contained the text below?
"Only available to Tartan Club Members.
By receiving this email you are a Tartan Club Member - The Tartan Club was set up to reward loyal customers of McBookie. In order for customers to become a member they need to prove they are a genuine customer and not a bonus abuser."
Obviously if it is then at the time of inviting you to take part in the promotion, they've deemed you genuine otherwise you wouldn't be in the Club. Two bets later you're an abuser... hmm.
This is one for IBAS (IBAS Home), and the Gambling Commission (Gambling Commission - Home Page). Although it seems that they may be licensed in Malta (Lotteries and Gaming Authority 2008)
Originally Posted by JeriMc
Thank you ever so much for your help. I queried what they meant about locality and they mentioned multiple accounts. I can assure you that I am the only person in this household with a mcbookie account let alone any betting account and I am the only one with access to the internet. My Wireless connection is also fully secured so no one could of piggy backed on my connection.
They have not provided any evidence or even detail on their rationale behind these multiple accounts which I find most frustrating.
The response I received was ""As per our terms and conditions, we are sorry to say that we have had to withdraw the free bet offer from the weekend. After checking the system it seems your account is linked to multiple accounts. It may be total coincidence but it is our belief that the bonus free bets are being abused. Therefore we have voided your correct score bet and will no longer be giving you any more offers. "
How can they stand over the statement I have in bold above!!?? It really is beyond belief!!
The offer email I received for the Tartan Club did have that paragraph you quoted and in fact I have previously bet on these offers without issue - the very interesting point is that this is the first time I have actually "won" at McBookie so in the absence of other proof it seems as if they are just refusing to honour a winning bet.
Generally, I would say to go through the process set out in the book's rules; internal complaint process and then the LGA in Malta who regulate them in this case. I see no mention of McBookie being IBAS registered on their site or on IBAS's site but Jenningsbet (related) is on IBAS's site. However they may well be as I've spoken to IBAS before about a book and it turned out they had accidentally not included them on their public list through an administrative oversight. I have just written to IBAS for clarification of McBookie's status with them just so we know. Anyway, even if they are IBAS registered and it was deemed useful to go down that route, you would still need to show you had exhausted the internal complaints procedure route first.
From reading what they've written to you, it seems a vague and poor explanation. Surely if they're inferring you're operating multiple accounts, a reason for not paying out according to their rules, why are they saying it's now only offers you're not allowed to do? Surely your account should be closed as you're only allowed one. My feeling therefore is that because of the vague statement using a rather bizarre "it may be coincidence" line they can't have much conclusive evidence or they would be much more clear. If I received that email, I would be left thinking I was "genuine" for all the bets which lost and weren't voided after the event and suddenly became an "abuser" when I won £150.
I should just add, whilst I do find being treated unfairly is something to stand up against, I also think it's worthwhile taking into account if it drags on it could cause frustration over quite some time. This is not to say forget it at all but just to take that into account as well. I'll get back probably tomorrow on the IBAS thing - I know in the TGT review we do have them stated as IBAS registered at the time of the review.
As an update, McBookie are not registered with IBAS. The IBAS chap has checked Jenningsbet's papers and there's no coverage at all for McBookie.
Thank you so much for all that effort musicbox - i really am indebted to you. Just as an update I have been working on drafting up a letter of intent which I will send off tomorrow am as a final request.
If McBookie do no make good the matter I have outlined the action I will follow - contact LGA, report matter to IBAS/SBR/UK Gambling Commission (although all bodies are not relevant I think it important to have it on record).
Should the matter remain unresolved or time pass and get dragged out I will submit a request to see the evidence of these multiple accounts I know does not exist under the Data Protection Act and this will form part of my brech of contract case for the Small Claims Court.
Precious little experience here and I've not looked into it even remotely but if you're taking the legal route based on them having in address in Scotland, I'm 99.9% confident that you'll be dealing in SCOTTISH law (ie not the law of England and Wales!). Thus you'll have to go to a Sheriff's court, not a small claims court.
Also, I'd personally be contacting LGA/IBAS/SBR/UK gambling commission long before going to court - the legal barons will not be impressed if day 1 you have a money problem day 15 you're in court having just moaned at CS a bit.
You’re very welcome. If you want to pursue it, I would usually say to try call them to speak to the Sportsbook Manager as it’s sometimes a more productive process than rattling off emails (which are easier to answer with “go away” by email than by phone!) but since they have no telephone number listed and their Dundee “office” is probably a registered address (ie, a mailbox!), I doubt they’ll be forthcoming with one that gets you through to them in Malta. You could always ask though before you write your official complaint.
Originally Posted by JeriMc
Anyway, if you write to McBookie outlining why you feel you’ve been wronged and state that if the matter is not resolved fairly (your initial bet graded a losing bet and your free bet graded a winning bet) you will forward your complaint to their regulator (LGA) in seven days time. Just stick to the facts and avoid any insults etc and just see what happens. If you’re forced to go to the LGA then unfortunately the LGA don’t have the greatest reputation but I do believe they came under new leadership within the last 12 months or so and potentially they may sort it out.
I would not outline things to McBookie which leaves them strengthened because it appears you've got no effective process to follow that can actually sort this. They simply will not care if you write to SBR. They can, and likely will, refuse to talk to SBR because they know no matter what SBR conclude, it will have zero impact on their business. For any site which may do these informal adjudications, they only have limited pull at best and that is basically when their words could impact on the book. That’s simply not the case here.
Furthermore on this point, McBookie won’t care if you write to IBAS because they simply cannot do anything about your case. Even if McBookie was registered with IBAS, I would be surprised if they ruled in your favour on this particular matter. Even if you've done nothing wrong, IBAS does not have to rule in a way that would be upheld in a court where contract law is taken into account. They rule purely based upon whether a book has followed procedures set out on their site. McBookie would say there's a general term which points to matters regarding bonuses in which they declare they can withhold free bets where they deem abuse or where irregular betting patterns are found which would be enough for IBAS to side with them.
On top of this and the most important reason I would not write to IBAS is that it’s possible that at some point in the future you might have to contact them on something they can help you with. Knowing this, to contact them on something you know they can’t help you with does no favours to yourself in such a circumstance IMO. Also your e-mail to them probably won’t be seen as a “heads up” - I would be amazed if they could keep any complaint on record for which they have no powers to adjudicate over. Should McBookie join in the future, the way they acted as a non-registered bookmaker should have no bearing at all on whatever case is then in front of IBAS and to keep complaints on file for which they have no reason to do so leaves them open to accusations of prejudice.
So I would let McBookie respond one final time and take it to the LGA thereafter. While you wait, you could contact the Gambling Commission to ask if they have any bearing over McBookie as they are not in their downloadable lists and I'm not quite sure how it works on that front to be honest.
In terms of law, it's not too favourable for you as far as I can tell (though I am no lawyer). People had voided bets regraded as winners recently after threatening Bluesq with a day trip to the small claims court over breach of contract but that was only able to happen because Bluesq have terms which were covered by the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales so it was irrelevant where they were actually operating from or who regulated them. I remember pointing all this out actually on another site when it happened. However, McBookie may have a registered address in Scotland but their terms are covered by the Maltese jurisdiction and so it may not matter if they have a registered address in Scotland if you're wanting to take action over a breach of contract when the agreement is not covered by Scottish law but by the laws of Malta. As I say, I'm not a lawyer but it's not as clear cut as Bluesq as far as I can tell. Certainly before it ever got this far though, you would always have to show a court you had used the known methods available to try and achieve resolution before ever taking it to into a legal setting for ruling.
Anyway, I wish you well whatever you decide to do.
To correct one of the things I said earlier in this thread: McBookie does have a telephone number and it is clearly displayed on a banner accessible on the .com homepage. It is 0800 031 9838. As I had visited mcbookie.co.uk, I was looking at the contact information provided on that site which, as far as I can see, is email/postal contact information. Although my comment was a genuine one based upon the .co.uk site I was viewing, it was, nevertheless, an incorrect statement.
In relation to this specific case, McBookie has informed me that, to their credit, a mobile telephone number was provided to the player in order to discuss this matter. Certainly, with any such disputes, I do believe it's in everyone's interests to try and sort out an issue amicably where possible and talking to the right person is often going to be the best way to try and reach a solution.
Finally, whilst I attempted to direct the player to follow the course of action set out by McBookie on its website and I was dissuasive of the player complaining to/using a third party, Mcbookie has stated they wouldn't have a problem with this kind of involvement which is a welcome comment. I am happy to report that McBookie has indeed been generous in its time when talking to TGT on this matter and hopefully an amicable resolution will be reached soon.
Update: with TGT's involvement, this matter was resolved Nov. 6th.
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