This will be a long and detailed post. I just wanted to write this to give you all an insight about unethical tactics within the industry (namely in this case PKR casino). I would be happy to send more personal and sensitive proof to admin/mod to back up my story. I feel going public is probably the best way but I will explain that decision later on.
So my mother died this year in February. It wasn't and still isn't an easy time, but i'm not here fore sympathy, I'm here to explain the possible rogue tactics that the industry finds acceptable (or should I say, this 1 casino in particular).
I had done well with gambling problems in general. Yes I have been a compulsive gambler and yes, I have battled over the years with it but I was doing rather well, up until low times. Over the years I have had various wobbles, slips and lows but I was doing good with recovering in general.
My mother passed away in February and considering factors like her young age and how it was sudden, I wasn't coping well with it.
In April, the inheritance from mum came through and I had no intention of gambling it.
Lets just round some figures up as a guideline throughout. Let's say I inherited £18,000. Out of that I had to pay back someone for the funeral, as stated in mums will, plus other expenses (flowers, the wake and so on). This was mums wishes in the will. Therefore £10,000 was entirely mine.
So that evening, before any of the funeral expenses were paid back, I transferred £6000 into my only other account, a savings account which I set aside for paying back some of the funeral costs. I was going to take the rest out in cash (yes the best part of 10k) the following day to store at home for general expenses, like bills and what mum wanted me to buy.
That evening I was so low with things though. Gutted about the loss of mum and how she is gone and what do I get? no mum, but that amount of cash? I was gutted. However, I suddenly encountered PKR casino. Some might drink, take drugs, even smoke through a time like that but I sadly turned to gambling.
This is where it gets very interesting.....
The thought of gambling to ease that painful, hurt feeling inside was too much. It was a very upsetting and painful session, I ended up losing nearly 3/4 of the inheritance that was mine. Let's say £7000. I just wanted the internal pain of no longer having any close family and being left all alone, on my own to vanish.
I have been suffering with long term mental health problems and even up until that point, things were a living nightmare. I was on carers allowance, which had been stopped as mum is no longer alive, I had too much to cope with (forms galore and paperwork surrounding mums death), then in came the inheritance which as people can gather, no money in the world could replace my mum.
After the loss had happened, I realised some of the other implications it meant for me which I didn't quite understand before.
My intention was to go to my GP, be signed off and be allowed to claim ESA. Yet because of the inheritance amount, I would not have been allowed to claim ESA. Let me just put some figures out here.
£10,000 with "nil" income was my situation. This entitled me to full housing benefit (so my rent is covered), it didn't entitle me to any council tax support (as I had over £6000 in capital), aside from 25% discount. My outgoings (bills, food, travel) come up to £320 per calendar month. So based on this. That £10,000 would be enough to cover all my bills for almost 3 years. I would have help off a GP in that time (for bereavement and mental health problems) and about a year after the inheritance was paid in (April 2017), I would be fit enough to get a job and work. Leaving £5000 of mums inheritance for me to spend on things mum would have wanted me to have.
A matter of days after that when the moment of grief gambling had passed, I realised the long term implications this loss would have on me.
Firstly, I knew about "deprivation of capital", where people try to reduce their capital for the purpose of gaining more government paid benefits. Gambling is seen as "deprivation of capital" meaning, the government still count it as if I had that money. So even though there was £3000 left, they counted it as if I had the full £10,000 left. In other words, even though I had just £3000 left (under £6000 entitling me to council tax support, so instead of paying £90 per month, I would only have to pay £18), they count it as if I had £10,000 still (i.e over £6000 so no council tax support).
It would mean I get absolutely nothing out of the inheritance from my mum.
Also, that I would have to use that £3000 sparingly on bills and simply go without many things I need (less food shopping than I actually need) from April 2016, until later (October/Novermber/December 2016), a point where that £10,000 would have naturally gone under £6000, enabling me to claim council tax support and full ESA.
The main thing I was upset about though was mum left that money to me to do something decent with and buy myself something nice when she passed away, but I was getting nothing at all to show for it.
So I decided that what's the harm in explaining it all to the casino, asking if by any chance I could have some of the loss refunded to me as a gesture of good will.
This is where the casino correspondance started and will be of much interest to see how this casino have treated me over this.
I emailed the casino VIP manager, explained it all to him and for the rest of the email's, he forwarded what I said to the "Head of compliance" (HOC), they responded to him and he forwarded the email to me.
Before I get on to the direct correspondance. I will mention any other info here. As I have had problems with gambling, I got rid of my debit card ages ago and only have a cash only card (to prevent me being able to deposit at most casinos when a trigger came in). To gamble at PKR I did a bank transfer via online banking to my PayPal account, then deposited to PKR via PayPal.
So now the first correspondance.
Across this first phase, I sent them everything that could prove i'm not some liar who is trying to get a few quid back after losing their own money. I sent them mums death certificate, proof that it was mums inheritance (a letter from the bank which was to inform me that the money had been paid in, with the reference code being my mums name), my ID, proof of address, etc.
There was some confusion and the VIP manager said that the date of the letter from the bank to say the inheritance had gone in, was after the gamble so therefore I lost my own money and if I had any evidence to prove otherwise, they can reconsider.
The date on the letter from the bank, was dated about a week after my inheritance actually went in. So I logged onto online banking, took screenshots of the transactions which showed mums inheritance had come in, then after, deposits were made to PayPal via bank transfer and then deposited to the casino.
I sent them this and they accepted the money lost, was from mums inheritance.
I was then told in a forwarded email from the HOC, that they are not without sympathy, but have chosen to "defer" the decision for 6 months, because they want to see that I am getting help to address my gambling issues, and be satistied that it will not happen again (i.e, i'm not going to be refunded some money, then go to another casino and blow the lot).
I accepted this and carried on with my life, whilst gaining evidence to provide to them that it was a 1 off through grief, that I was already doing well in recovery and now i'm more determined that ever to not gamble again.
May I just add, that through this initial contact stage, I recieved promo gambling emails direct from them, which I told the VIP manager about and here is what he said in reply to each:
Then later in the correspondance when it happened again:
Our first correspondance ended in June 2016. So over the first 2 months up until the middle of August I went about proving what they wanted proof of.
The first step was to get my card upgraded to a debit card. I did this in April, after the gamble because I knew there is no way i'm gambling again. A debit card now meant I could buy food shopping online and have it delivered.
The second was with help from my girlfriend (who lives over 100 miles away), she transferred large amounts of her own money into my bank account to help me gather proof. The proof was basically saying "look, there was large amounts of money in my bank account, I could have easily gambled that if I was still an active compulsive gambler, but as you can see, I didn't".
The third was 1 time my girlfriend came to stay with me for a few days. She normally leaves her debit card at home and takes just a set amount of cash with her to visit. This is because on previous visits when she had her debit card with her, she has ended up spending too much money on days out. So now has a set amount of money with her, and once it's gone, it's gone. She wanted to have a few lines on the lottery, but on her way to mine forgot to pick up tickets at the shop. So when she was here, for the purpose of gathering "proof", I said I would deposit a small amount (£0.99) on "lottoland", which is a lottery website, as they had some promo offer on regarding tickets. Then buy the tickets for her. This would be more proof, because surely if I was some raging compulsive gambler still, I wouldn't be able to resist depositing more.
So the 2 month mark was reached and I had 2 months worth of full bank statements to send them.
I sent them over and the reponse was very unfair.
The HOC tried to suggest that for all they know I have more than 1 bank account (So could be gambling on the other bank account and sending statements of this account showing no gambling. They said that the account i'm sending statements for, doesn't even match the account I used to gamble at PKR (yes it does, they had account statement showing transactions to PayPal and then to PKR with 1 account number, and these bank statements matched that account number). They said that even though a significant amount was lost, I still had a large sum left of my inheritance.
They argued that the 99p deposit to lotto land shows i'm still vulnerable to the gambling addiction.
I then went on to send more proof to show what they are saying is false. I sent them very sensitive information. My mother's will (showing that the funeral is to be paid for out of her money), my housing benefit entitlement forms which are a government issued document that shows my accounts on there (1 savings account they already knew about, the current account and my paypal account), an e-document showing my PayPal account is closed.
Also I confirmed that both the account number on my bank statements does match the account number on the statement showing deposits to PayPal and then from PayPal to PKR.
The next reply from them is simply disgusting and made me realise exactly what they are trying to do.
Before I get on to these, I wanted to say a few relevant bits.
This case has always been about some of mums money, it's not the money directly, but where that money was from. The reason I asked was in case I could have some of that money back, to get a chance to spend a bit of it how mum would have wanted me to spend it.
If they had said no at the start, I would have accepted that. Yes it would have been upsetting knowing I wouldn't get anything out of mums money, but that would be the end of it. I would gradually move on.
Yet their response back then start wasn't a no. It was leaving it for 6 months, to allow a long enough time for me to prove to them that i'm recovering from gambling so they can be satisfied that if they gave me any of it back, I wouldn't use it to gamble elsewhere.
It is however obvious from this next email they never had any intention of paying me back anything. What I personally believe (and this is my opinion only, not facts), is they had already decided after the first contact with them that I was not getting any money back. However, rather than say that, they "defered" it for 6 months, for 1 main reason.
That reason is chargebacks. if I was the sort of person who does chargebacks, then they would want to stop that happening (by making me think I would get some back after 6 months). I think after 6 months it's fair to say it would be too late to do any sort of chargeback (not that I would anyway).
Right, so onto this final correspondance which contains pure lies from them.
As shown in previous emails from them, they knew I had problems with gambling previously and have gambled. Yet why is it the HOC says they find it hard to believe that I had never visited a gambling website, but this time went and gambled so much money in 1 go.
They said based on my circumstances (no more carers allowance and a nil income), they believe my gamble was to try and earn a wage from the casino as a replacement for nil income. Why would I need to earn money from a casino? I had £10,000 that was all mine.
Notice as well "you have already advised us that you lost a significant amount of money from your inheritance". Which is false. PKR is where the money was lost and they know it (they had the online e-document showing inheritance went in, money was lost at PKR, then I have sent evidence showing where the rest of the money went (paying someone back for the funeral, and full statements showing where money has been spent over the last 2 months, which has been on bills).
They say there were times when I profited more than that deposit amount and could have cashed out by chose not to. Well, what profit? Everyone knows that someone with a gambling problem will struggle to stop until they are in overall profit (even then it would be hard). This wasn't overall profit though, it was more like a few £1000 down, then on 1 or 2 deposits I made a few £100 back, so still at an overall loss.
So there we have it, I was hurt, upset and amazed that they wanted more information and when they got that evidence and information, they turn it negatively against me based on lies or acting dumb.
My final contact with them was out of pure frustration, I said I would look to seek legal advice because of what they have put me through, but the reality is, I won't.
They had everything they needed and could have easily said "ok, here's £2000, or even £1000 of it back". They would still be in profit from me, but instead they chose to just drag things on and make excuse after excuse. Now instead of being accepting of having nothing to show for mums money, I have to go through that all again from the start.
They asked all about my personal life and then used it against me. Isn't it a fact that people with a gambling problem are more likely to gamble when they don't have much money? (i.e gambling to try and raise money to pay bills). Yet I have shown them that I haven't gambled at all (via bank statements). But their response to that is that i'm still vulnerable because of my situation.
I have just about enough at a push to cover bills until later this year when I would be fully entitled to ESA. So a part refund of my lost inheritance wouldn't even be used to cover bills. It would purely be used to buy a few nice things to remember mum by. There's no point saving up some ESA (when I get it) to buy something to remember mum by because that would be me saving up ESA to buy something, opposed to using the money mum left for me to buy something.
I just hope as many people as possible read this and understand that PKR have been entirely in the wrong. Hopefully they lose more than my loss in deposits through their own actions.
You can see their responses in this and what do people here think? This isn't a complaint as such because I see no reason to continue being in contact with them. It's obvious to me they were just dragging things on as long as possible, with no regards about my own health and me wanting closure on this situation.
I have done everything they asked me to do and supply to them, but anything I did send was used against me in some way.