Betfair Ordered to Pay Redflag Gamer $150,000

Betfair Ordered to Pay Redflag Gamer $150,000

Betfair Australia has had negative interactions with authorities in the past. However, in a recent dispute, Betfair has been ordered to pay AUS $150,000 to a problem gambler. The case is both concerning and controversial. Thousands of Australians, many in the low-income bracket, are problem gamblers. Refunding money to those with a compulsive gambling disorder could slow or stop the addiction recovery process.

Betfair and Problem Gambling in Australia

betfairAustralia has been trying for years to keep illegal bookmakers from coming in contact with Australian citizens. These efforts have been enforced to keep online betting operators from thriving on the continent. ACMA, the country’s media regulatory body, recently praised government efforts to clamp down on illegal gaming sites and operators. Several institutions in Australia are also doing similar work. These institutions, along with the government, were able to shut down 33 websites in just one year.

Reducing oversight during illegal bookmaker screenings is also a priority. And yet, Betfair Australia, an online gambling company, had to pay the AUS $150,000 to an individual identified as a problem gambler. The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) investigated this matter, and found that the individual was indeed exhibiting compulsive gambling symptoms. The investigation also revealed that the operator did not recognize the symptoms. Had Betfair been more attentive to the gambler’s actions, the gambler’s access to the site would have been limited.

NTRC’s Ruling

Since Betfair was deemed negligent in this case, the NTRC ruled that Betfair was responsible for not flagging the problem gambler. The NTRC also stated that Betfair should have sought to assist the gambler. This could have entailed limited the number of times the gambler could bet, or removing access to certain bets. It was confirmed that the gambler, who is anonymous, was one of Betfair’s “good customers.” This likely influenced Betfair’s decision not to stop the gambler from placing wagers. The unidentified gambler bet around AUS$170,000, but then decided to cash out and walk away from the platform.

However, as is common with many problem gamblers, the bettor changed his mind. He then began communicating with Betfair manager Matt Reid after contacting a customer support representative. The bettor was demanding that his withdrawal be stopped. He was told this was impossible, which was when he demanded to speak to Reid.

Reid spoke to the bettor. After considering all aspects of the situation, agreed to refund the gambler’s money. However, Reid agreed to put the funds in the bettor’s Betfair account instead of returning the funds to the customer’s bank. Reid was initially under the impression that out of the AUS$150,000, only AUS$5,000 had to stay in the customer’s Betfair account. However, the bettor stated that he’d rather have AUS$145,000 remain in his Betfair account and AUS$5,000 sent back to his bank account.

The NTRC concluded that Reid failed to recognize that the customer’s request was an indication of compulsive gambling symptoms. However, Betfair did state in its complaint to authorities that the player was possibly a compulsive gambler. It was also reported that the gambler played through AUS$170,000 before deciding to walk away.

Betfair’s Defense

Betfair Australia still attempted to defend its actions by maintaining that the gambler did not exhibit problem behavior, even in his most recent (and rather large) wager. The NTRC and Betfair looked into the gambler’s history. He’d excluded himself from the site in 2014 for a six-month period. The bettor also took a break from the site in 2016. The NTRC concluded that there were gaps in Betfair’s player screening process. The customer had also demanded to be approved for VIP status in the past. In the end, NTRC took the side of the customer and ordered a full refund to the customer. It is likely that screening process will become more detailed for Australian betting sites in the near future.

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