Update on Betfair’s Online Scandal

Betfair’s clumsy handling of affair

The beginning of this week was welcomed by a great number of posts on forums and message boards online, incited by what seems to be a bungled online promotion offered by Betfair, and the manner in which the group handled the affair. The interest in this matter still continues to grow.

Namely, Betfair Casino’s users reported that last weekend they were notified of an unlimited happy hour bonus with a play through of only 10x. But when Betfair noted that the promotion was quite generous, it turned to pretty excessive measures in order to prevent the potential losses.

The company still has not issued an official statement regarding this affair, but once again players reported of an email they received from Betfair:

"We recently ran a Casino promotion called Casino Happy Hour in which you participated. The promotion was live during the weekend of 13 and 14 November 2010.

"During and after the promotion, we suspended certain customers’ Casino accounts after it was alerted to some irregular and unusual gaming and depositing activity. Your account was one of those suspended.

"Certain customers attempted to profit from the promotion through adopting gaming patterns and activity in contravention of Betfair Casino’s Standard Terms and Conditions. As a result, we have withheld both bonus funds and winnings derived from such activity on those customers’ accounts, of which yours is one.

"We have taken steps to make sure all of your actual deposits have remained in your account, and your account will be reopened within 48 hours. You are of course then free to continue to use your deposited funds to play in the casino, or to withdraw them at any time.

"We appreciate this has been an inconvenience to you, but are happy to have the situation resolved and to make your deposited funds available to you again."

According to one of the players in question, who stated: "I deposited into my account and claimed some of these happy hour bonuses. By 1am they were removed from the account in full. The terms and conditions said there was supposed to be a 12 hour expiry period on these bonuses so my intention was to play them through early the next morning. Which would have been permissible by the terms. The next day my account was locked, it is now unlocked and my deposit has been returned."

The company’s terms and conditions can serve as a cover for a whole variety of management decisions, as follows: If Betfair becomes aware of a customer who, in the course of participating in a promotion or offer, has become able to guarantee wins and/or profits with no or only minimal risk, and/or benefits from a promotion or offer by participating through more than one Betfair account, and/or displays irregular or unusual playing or betting patterns which Betfair deems to be abusive, Betfair may in its absolute discretion elect to do any one or more of the following: (i) close the customer’s account(s); (ii) invalidate the transactions or game play which was in contravention of this term; and/or (iii) withhold the customer’s winnings from such transactions or game play.

This is not an isolated case, as one of the biggest issues like this happened a few years back, when a major online gambling group made a mistake with a promotion, so it took the consequences in shape of multi-million dollar costs itself rather than passing them on to players who had taken part. This incident was, however, different than other cases, in which players saw their winnings confiscated.

In addition, the situation got more serious when a potentially detrimental video for the company’s reputation was compiled and released on You Tube. The video merged the allegations with an old Hitler movie clip with hilarious if epithet riddled sub-titles, and it has already noted about 1000 views so far.

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