British gambling firm Betfred finds itself in court after the non-payment of a £1,722,500 ($3,113,275) pokie jackpot.
Andy Green thought all his Christmases had come at once when he won a life-changing jackpot. Green cried with joy after winning £1,722,925.54 ($3,114,043) on the Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven pokie in the Betfred casino.
What would you do if you won such a massive sum? You’d celebrate in style, correct? That’s exactly what Green did, racking up a £2,500 ($4,518) bill celebrating his new fortune with family and friends.
Those celebrations turned sour four days after Green amazing jackpot win, however. A Betfred representative informed Green he had not won the jackpot in a heart-breaking phone call. The Betfred representative claimed the jackpot wasn’t being awarded due to a software malfunction.
Green claims Betfred offered to reimburse the £2,500 he spent celebrating. They also offered £60,000 ($108,445) in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA would prevent Green from ever talking about the non-payment of the jackpot.
How Did The Massive Win Happen at Betfred
The story originally broke on British television in November 2018. The One Show is a popular programme that highlights many different subjects and struggles. Its producers jumped at the chance of airing Green’s story and dragging the Betfred name through the mud.
Green explained he decided to put £100 ($180) onto the Betfred casino to play pokies. He fired up Franke Dettori’s Magic Seven pokie, a progressive jackpot pokie bearing the name of the famous jockey.
He hit a bonus that saw his balance swell to £10,600 ($19,158) , which would have been life-changing for him. Green continued playing, riding his good fortune and the wins racked up. His winnings increased to £38,000 ($68,681) then £76,000 ($137,363) before hitting an incredible £600,000 ($1,084,450).
A flashing banner popped up on his mobile phone informing Green he’d won the jackpot. Green was a millionaire and started looking at possible car, home, and holiday purchases. That was until Betfred contacted him four days later and said they weren’t paying out.
Legal Action Taken
Green enlisted the services of solicitor Peter Coyle who is working on a no win no fee basis. Coyle was the man who convinced Green not to take the gagging offer.
Coyle badgered Betfred for months, asking them to provide clear evidence the machine malfunctioned. Betfred wasn’t able or willing to share this information with him. They simply stated the pokie was new and suffered a malfunction.
“It seems to me that it is a David versus Goliath situation,” Coyle said. “They have taken his money and just said we’re not going to pay you because there’s a glitch that we’re not going to tell you about. They refused to pay him out because of a glitch they’re not going to tell him about and you should just accept it because we’re Betfred,”
“They’ve Ruined My Life”
Green says the whole Betfred saga has ruined his life. He claims to have spent over £100,000 with Betfred over the years and never encountered a problem.
“Betfred have ruined my life; I almost wish I’d never won this money. Both myself and my girlfriend are living in a perpetual state of stress and hyper-anxiety. I’ve had a heart attack and was confined to Lincoln hospital for a few weeks, and I blame this directly on Betfred, and all the anguish and mental torture they’ve caused.”
Fred Done, founder of Betfred, has remained staunchly silent since the case became public. Done and his brother Peter left school aged 15 to work in their father’s then illegal bookmaking business. They opened their first betting shop in 1967 using money won on England’s World Cup victory the previous year.
The Done brothers built a 1,650-shop empire and are now worth £1.25 billion ($2.26 billion). The brothers paid themselves a £46 million dividend ($83.14 million) in 2019, so aren’t short of money.
There are rumours Betfred could launch a last-minute bid for rivals William Hill. Caesars Entertainment has already lodged a £2.9 billion ($5.24 billion) offer, but Done is considering putting his hat in the ring. He recently bought 3.03% of William Hill’s stock in April 2020.
It’s not known if Done will appear in court later this month or if he’ll send in his legal team.