Ladbrokes refuse to pay out over white Christmas bet

Ladbrokes at centre of a GBP 7 million row on weather bets

InfoPowa readers will recall last week's interesting backgrounder on betting on snow in London, and the definition of a snowfall in this regard. This week the subject of betting on whether snow would fall more widely in Britain was in the headlines, but it was unfortunately in a negative sense as a row over a disputed bet.

At the centre of the furore was the major UK online and land gambling group Ladbrokes, which according to a wide range of UK media is refusing to pay out more than GBP 7 million to a man who gambled on a white Christmas.

The contentious part is that Ladbrokes claims it is justified in refusing to pay out because the bet was accepted by mistake.

Gambling man Cliff Bryant (52) had placed two GBP 5 accumulator bets that snow would fall on 24 towns and cities across the north of England on Christmas Day. And, as anyone watching UK news now knows, his prediction was fulfilled.

“We have apologised to the customer for any confusion and for mistakenly accepting an accumulator bet when our own rules state that only single bets are available on a market of this nature,” said a Ladbrokes spokesman. “We are happy to void the bets and to pay the customer his winnings on the relevant singles.”

That is hardly likely to appease the punter, because it is worth a mere GBP 31.78, rather than the GBP 7.1 million Bryant was expecting .

The graphic designer from Southampton, who told the local Southern Daily Echo newspaper that he would seek legal advice, claims the first accumulator would have won him GBP 4.9 million, with the second adding GBP 2.2 million.

“If I make a mistake in my work like that it costs me dearly and I think the offer should be a lot more generous than they have made,” he told the paper, clearly prepared to agree to a settlement at the right sort of offer.

Ladbrokes should have made their rules clearer, he added. “They are one of the leading bookmakers in the country and I think they ought to do their homework a bit better in future.”

Ladbrokes gave Bryant details of the Independent Betting Adjudication Service, an impartial adjudicator on disputes that arise between gambling operators and their customers, but in the meantime the publicity coverage on the dispute has been wide and not entirely positive.

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