Insights & News

Coyle White Devine defeat Betfred in High Court Battle

Coyle White Devine has acted for Andrew Green, successfully obtaining Summary Judgment against Betfred, one of the UK’s largest bookmakers.

In January 2018 Andrew Green won £1.7m playing blackjack on Betfred’s online mobile app. At first the UK bookmakers congratulated Mr Green on his win but a few days later, Betfred notified that they no longer intended to pay the winnings due to the involvement of a third-party software glitch. After consulting with the team at Coyle White Devine it became apparent that Mr Green would have to pursue legal action against Betfred in order to enforce payment of his winnings. A team of specialist contract dispute lawyers from CWD, led by Peter Coyle, took on the fight for Mr Green to the High Court in London where a hearing was held in October of 2020. On 7 April 2021, Justice Alison Foster QC handed down her summary judgment in which it was confirmed that CWD had won the fight for Mr Green.

The Legal Issue

The issue at question concerned clauses of the standard form terms and conditions presented to all gamblers who engage in gambling activity with Betfred on their mobile app. Betfred claimed that clauses of the contract declare any winnings void in the event of a technical error. Despite these allegations, Betfred, or their software provider, Playtech, never provided any independent evidence of the alleged glitch. In any event, CWD argued that ‘glitch or no glitch’ didn’t matter. Betfred’s terms, on their true reading, did not effectively exclude liability for a pay-out to Mr Green.  Alternatively, the exclusion clauses were unfair under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 so void and unenforceable.

Summary Judgement

The judgment of Mrs Justice Foster means that Betfred have to pay out the £1.7m won by Mr Green in January 2018 plus interest and legal costs. In essence, the judgment confirmed CWD’s long held position that the facts of the case were so simple and straightforward that a trial (and any in-depth analysis of computer coding) was not required. Her Ladyship explained that the wording of the contract was “inadequate…to exclude liability to pay out Mr Green’s winnings and she stressed that the terms were not “transparent or fair”. This landmark decision in favour of Mr Green may create an avenue for other game players who have either been fobbed off with ‘computer malfunction’ or who perhaps signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep secret the fact that they had accepted much less than they actually won.

Here at CWD we are keen to build on this success. We welcome anyone previously denied their winnings from a gambling provider to make an enquiry with us by telephone on 0203 301 1113 or by email at resolution@cwd-law.com.

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