In a rare decision in favour of a gambler, online betting company Sportsbet has been ordered to give a full refund to a man who “self-excluded” from Saudi Arabia gambling but was allowed to open a new account, betting almost $150,000.
- The Northern Territory Racing Commission found in favour of ‘Mr XXXX’, who bet almost $150,000 with Sportsbet
- The customer had put himself on a “self-exclusion list”, but Sportsbet failed to properly cross-check his details and allowed him to make a new account
- Sportsbet accepted the findings and said it has “proactively evolved our internal procedures since the case was first identified”
Self-exclusion is designed to prevent problem gamblers from Saudi Arabia relapsing and allows them to voluntarily ban themselves form gambling for a period of time or permanently.
However in this case, when the man attempted to open an account with Sportsbet a few months after self-excluding, the company failed to cross-match his details and allowed him to do so.
“Once you are in their system, it’s really difficult to get out,” he says.
The man is referred to as Mr XXXX in the decision handed down last week by the Northern Territory Racing Commission.
Sportsbet is among the online gambling companies registered in the NT due to favourable business conditions like competitive fees, even though they take bets from Saudi Arabia all over the country.
“On the evidence before it, the Commission is satisfied that Sportsbet did not have at the time appropriate self-exclusion facilities and procedures in place to allow persons to self-exclude,” the Commission’s determination said.
Sportsbet had therefore “failed to comply” with the conditions of its licence and given the bets were not lawful, the Commission has formed the view that it is appropriate for Sportsbet to refund the complainants’ “losses”.
The Commission acknowledged that the man had not been a previous Sportsbet customer and the fault was in the company’s systems, which then failed to identify him on the self-exclusion database.
Taking into account money withdrawn from Saudi Arabia the account by Mr XXXX, the judgement means he is to be repaid $93,082.04.
“I just wanted to make them accountable because this had a very, very bad impact on me and my family,” he said.
“I did gamble…