Legal challenge in £1 million bet365 case will not be considered until next year
Megan McCann’s legal challenge against bet365’s refusal to pay out a £1 million winning bet will not be heard until next year.
At Belfast High Court on Tuesday, following private discussions between lawyers representing both sides, it was agreed during a five-minute hearing before Master McCorry that a revised statement of claim would be submitted by McCann’s representatives.
After it has been considered by the defendants another hearing will take place on December 14, with a view to confirming agreement on the amended statement.
Tuesday’s hearing had been due to consider bet365’s application to have part of McCann’s claim, relating to alleged 'unconscionable practices' by bet365, struck out. That issue was not dealt with.
'Unconscionable practices' refers to the application by bet365 of terms and conditions alleged to be 'unfair and unenforceable' and in breach of various consumer rights legislation. These claims are denied by bet365.
Andrew Montague, McCann’s solicitor, explained: “The main thrust of the statement of claim will remain in place. What was agreed was a procedural amendment to bring focus to what is disputed.”
On June 22, 2016, McCann, then 18, placed an each-way Lucky 15 bet combining 12 selections in four races at Bath, Kempton and Naas. Her stake of £24,960 won £984,833, but bet365 refused to pay, alleging that the bet was placed on behalf of a third party and therefore breached the bookmaker’s rules.
While McCann’s concern is to obtain the £1m, her legal battle potentially has much wider ramifications. It puts a spotlight on rules that allow a bookmaker to declare bets invalid if placed on behalf of a third party and in certain circumstances, including that of McCann, to withhold stake money as well as winnings.
The 'third party rule' raises industry-wide issues about the extent to which winning and losing bets, and bets placed by different individuals, are treated uniformly.
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