Betfair Casino is in the spotlight right now, and not in a good way. It has been reported by many disgruntled players of Betfair casino that their accounts have been locked and winnings confiscated after a bonus blunder on the weekend of November 13th, 2010. For a limited time during that weekend Betfair offered unlimited “Happy Hour” bonuses with a very low wagering requirement of 10x. After just a few hours they had lost so much money, they decided to put an immediate end to the promotion and take the winnings away from many of the players that managed to cash out.

This is a recent message from Betfair to an affected player:

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.

Many affected players deny this claim against them, and state that they took the bonus and played as they normally have many times in the past. They of course had an easier time completing the low 10x wagering requirements, so this appears to be the fault of the Betfair marketing team not doing their math correctly, and the online casino is punishing the players for the mistake.

This is one of the Terms and Conditions of the casino that they love to quote. Also known as an “FU clause”.

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.

So using that term, apparently they can say whatever they want about a player and confiscate their winnings.

This is not over however. Many players are furious at Betfair for pulling this stunt, and the casino is being compared to many rogue operations that have pulled this kind of crap in the past. I’m sure several complaints will be filed and Betfair is going to have to answer to a higher authority about this issue. For such a large operation like Betfair, you would think by now they should know the math behind bonuses, and the damage that pulling a stunt like this can cause to their reputation. I for one won’t be playing at Betfair any time soon after hearing about this.

Of course, this is only the players side of the story and the casino has yet to release a statement, but the story is the same from many players that feel they were unfairly flagged as displaying unusual betting patterns. More and more players are coming forward stating they played within the rules and have had their winnings removed. As you can see from the above video, even Hitler is quite upset about this. Kudos to the creator of that video.

Update (Nov. 22nd, 2010): Here is an email from Betfair in response to several players:

Dear xxxxxxx,

We have now had the opportunity to review your account activity in relation to our recent ‘Happy Hour’ promotion, and we thank you for your patience during that time.

As a result of our investigation, and in light of our finding that you have acted in contravention of Betfair Casino’s Standard Terms and Conditions, we have debited your account with a sum equivalent to the bonus funds and winnings associated with the ‘Happy Hour’ promotion in which you participated. Your account has been re-activated and is now available for you to use.

As your Betfair account held insufficient funds to accommodate such a debit, your account will now show a negative balance. Please fund your account with the negative balance amount of -£xxx at the first opportunity. Failure to do so by 26 November 2010, may result in us taking the appropriate action to recover this sum from you.

Whilst we are aware that this was not the outcome you were hoping for, we do now consider this matter closed, and shall not enter into any further correspondence in connection with it.

Kind regards
Betfair Casino

All I have to say is WOW. I am shocked at the way this is being handled by Betfair.

Another Update (Nov 26th, 2010): The mighty Casinomeister shows his clout. Up until now Betfair had made it clear that they would not discuss player issues with the team at the Casinomeister, and would certainly not discuss this specific issue. Today Bryan (the main man) removed Betfair from the Accredited Casinos section at Casinomeister and less than an hour later he was contacted by them. They informed him that they would be assigning a new casino rep to the forum and will be more communicative over this issue and other player issues. They also stated that a full audit is being run on all affected accounts.

That could be great news for affected players, but we’ll see what the outcome is after the audits are finished. Even if they do come back and pay everyone that deserves to be paid, based on the promotion Terms and Conditions, I don’t think they should be forgiven so easily. They finally realized the damage this issue was causing to their reputation and the financial damage they would incur from being rogued and blacklisted everywhere. They were being complete pricks about it until then.

Follow this thread on the Casinomeister forums about the Betfair issue, and post if you are affected by it.

Update (Dec 2nd, 2010): So it looks like Betfair did it again, said they would give something and then took it back. This new rep from Betfair isn’t exactly communicating with the team at Casinomeister, and it doesn’t sound like they are going to say anything to anybody regarding the issue for now. Seems like maybe their lawyers told them not to, since this may go to the courts and get very ugly. Some people are mentioning very large sums of money that were confiscated after winning with the bonus, and they claim they did nothing that was against the rules. One player even claims that Betfair took back the €32,000 paid to him right out of his bank account where the withdrawal was wired to, two days after paying him. Now the bank in question will be getting involved since that is not exactly a legal thing to do, and shouldn’t have been possible without the approval of the player.

Update (Dec 7th, 2010): Betfair is now marked as a Rogue casino at Casinomeister, which is something that is only done in extreme cases, and this is obviously one of those cases. They will now start to be rogued and blacklisted everywhere, ruining the great reputation they once had. Way to screw yourselves Betfair, you made your bed, now you have to lay in it. Check out these online casinos that won’t pull that kind of crap.

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