England - A 42-year old accountant has charged online casinos LeoVegas and Casumo of ignoring her clear signs of gambling addiction, which led to her losing £125,000. The accountant who case records have referred to as “Katie,” has accused the aforementioned casinos of not just ignoring her obvious signs but also offering bonuses to keep on gambling.
Kate has been receiving addiction treatment after incurring massive debt on nine different credit cards. Her losses include £54,000 which she racked up during an overnight spree when she was allowed to place bets of more than £380,000 on a single website in one session.
Information regarding Katie’s case, which is now being investigated by the Gambling Commission, have come to the fore amidst calls for more stringent regulation of online gambling and a review of whether betting on credit should be allowed.
Evidence from the case has suggested that Katie has consistently shown behavior that should have been deemed as red flags by betting companies. These include making dozens of failed deposits – where her banks did not allow her to place bets – and the cancellation of the withdrawal of winnings at the last minute to plug money straight back into casino games.
Rather than being flagged, she was instead made a VIP client by the said casinos without even conducting affordability checks. Not only that, she was even peppered with “free spins.” Betting information shows that Katie began gambling with Casumo in June 2017, repeatedly placing bets of about £100. On October 9, 2017, she made dozens of wagers of up to £5,000 all through the night, getting three bonus offers even as she appeared to lose all control.
Records from Casumo indicate that the company only took notice of her odd betting behavior almost 11 hours after the spree started, sending her an email to ask about it. She continued to gamble after that, losing £7,000 more and Casumo failed to block her account until later in the afternoon after she emailed a customer representative disclosing that she felt “suicidal”.
Later that year, Katie was back at it again, this time with LeoVegas, a Swedish company. The company gave her VIP status and let her keep betting using a number of credit cards, despite 291 failed deposit attempts and the cancellation of withdrawals worth £27,550. Between December 12 and 13, 2017, she placed £382,844 of bets in an incredible 24-hour session, losing £53,985 on a slot machine game.
Katie disclosed that LeoVegas had not accepted any failing in its problem gambling controls, but had already given £34,000 which would be used for her rehabilitation instead, as a “gesture of goodwill”. Katie expressed shock at how firms can miss obvious warning signs of addiction.
“They have algorithms where if you’re spending a lot they make you a VIP or send you a bonus email and they use that to their advantage. They could also use it to prevent problem gambling, which is what the commission says they should be doing,” she said.