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Nightmare Online Gambling Jackpot Win

Life-changing, multi-million-dollar progressive jackpot wins are for many gamblers the Holy Grail of gambling, and for online players it is no different. Major gambling software providers have adapted and developed the land gambling concept, where a number of casinos are networked and pay into a common winner's fund, to create some truly massive - up to $5 million - wins.
 
But the experiences of one Canadian player which surfaced this week on the Casinomeister information portal, could cast a shadow over the sector, and will hopefully cause providers to take a second look at how they structure their payout procedures.

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Major software providers like Cryptologic and Microgaming use big winners to create massive publicity for their licensees, flying major winners in for cheque presentations and photo opps, laying on financial advice if required and handing over the prize in one big tranche.
 
Other providers restrict the payouts to monthly instalments - a frustrating experience for a million dollar or more winner.
 
And it seems that yet others simply pay the jackpots over to the online casino where the big win was made, and leave it up to them.
 
It is the latter policy which appears to have applied in a case where French Canadian player Sylvia P. won a staggering $4 188 719.98 playing the Beach Life progressive slot at Joyland - a Playtech powered casino which is now (but was not at the time of the big win) part of the William Hill Online group following the major Playtech-Will Hill deal earlier this year.
 
The "win" was widely publicised as one of the biggest jackpots ever paid out. The sad thing is she only received about half of the winnings.
 
It turns out that the Terms and Conditions under which the player gambled at Joyland, specified a maximum payout of $9 000 a month. This would mean that SylvieP would have to be around for the next 39 years to collect her full winnings....and that does not include interest accrued! A thought that must have crossed her mind was whether Joyland Casino would still be around in 2048, let alone herself.
 
Given that Playtech presumably made the full jackpot payment to Joyland's management, they would appear to have been sitting pretty.
 
SylvieP's first disappointment came when she tried to collect her multi-million dollar windfall. She says she was told that the only way was the $9 000 a month route specified in the T&C's to which she had agreed before playing the progressive.  But there was an alternative if she decided to play out the money. So if she wanted to collect, say, $100 000 she would need to spend it first!
 
After some rather strange unprofessional communications via a hotmail address and early morning telephone calls, SylvieP was put under pressure of time to decide on which course she wished to follow.  
 
SylvieP takes up the tale: "Feeling like there was no way out of this I decided to go ahead and collect only $2,3 million (half the prize) plus bonus which was $61 000 in VIP points because I was not getting anywhere and I felt that the VIP manager was not honest because he was changing and using words one day and the next day there was always something else. So to collect most of my winnings and make sure I was getting it I did as per their request.
 
"I was forced to collect what they offered to a total sum of $2,3 million I was so upset that on our last conversation I requested a witness and also recorded the whole conversation when all the sums and terms were discussed with them in order to finanlise the 2,3 mill. I made the VIP [casino representative] talk and asked him how much was my total winnings how much I had lost as per their requests and my bonus points? He summarised it and he stated at the end that he had erased my account balance, after which I tried to re log in and was unsuccessful. I guess they have blocked my account."
 
What is not clear is whether a formal agreement was presented and signed by the parties. Surely a win of this magnitude would be documented? And yet to date nothing has been made publicly available by the former owners, or Playtech.
 
Subsequent to SylvieP's experiences, Joyland was taken into the William Hill Online stable following its mega-deal with Playtech. But there is perhaps understandably no relief forthcoming from William Hill Online, which considers that SylvieP accepted the Joyland terms and conditions, had an offer to accept a lump sum if lesser payment, and took it. Even though William Hill purchased the casino, it purchased the assets and not the debt.
 
Playtech has been less forthcoming when approached by Casinomeister, leaving some major question marks over what happened here:
 
1) Is it Playtech policy to allow licensees to do what they like with the progressives prize once it has been paid to them by the network? If it is, that needs to be changed asap as it offers too great a risk to the player as we have seen in the Joyland case. A full payout is what players anticipate when they hit the big one - not offers of half the prize or payments to eternity.
 
2) Where is the missing 2 million left after the player was only paid half the prize? And to whom should it rightfully belong? Joyland? Playtech's progressive network?
 
3) Who were the owners of Joyland? According to Trading Markets.com Joyland was previously owned by Six Digits Trading, allegedly through a trust associated with Teddy Sagi....who is a major shareholder in Playtech.
 
4) Where is the full agreement as accepted and signed by the complainant?
 
The lesson that comes out of this sad tale is that players who go after progressive jackpot action need to first weigh up whether they will be paid in full and immediately or instalments over time. If the T&Cs specify that progressive jackpots are paid over time, that multi-million-dollar win may not seem quite so attractive.

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Gambling News :

Is Gibraltar Out of Luck in US Tax Challenge - Gibraltar's challenge to the UK 15 percent point-of-consumption tax on online gambling operator revenues has already failed in the UK High Court, and it looks as if it may be rejected by the European Court of Justice too.

Quickspin are now available in Denmark - #quickspin The roll-out strengthens the long-standing partnership between the supplier and the operator, with Quickspin games already available on Vera&John’s websites around the world.

UCypher Launches - Indian entertainment and media entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala has announced the formation of UCypher, an eSports tournament in which ten teams will compete.

Extreme Live Gaming In deal With Betsson - Extreme Live Gaming, a subsidiary of the Novomatic Interactive group, has announced a live dealer product deal with the Betsson online gambling group, with an initial launch planned for Betsson.com, followed by other brands in the Swedish group's portfolio.

Expansion Mode For BoyleSports - The Bambury premises are situated in Kildare, Meath and Dublin and will be refurbished and rebranded after acquisition, with the total of 31 staff remaining in employment..

Safecharge Q4-2016 - Online e-cash processing firm Safecharge, where Playtech's Teddy Sagi is a majority shareholder, released a trading update on its Q4-2016 performance Thursday, flagging record transaction processing volumes and revenues.

ASA Most Controversial Ads of 2016 - Paddy Power's penchant for advertisements that cause a stir saw the betting company mentioned twice in the Top Ten most controversial adverts of 2016 released by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK Thursday.

Yggdrasi To Enter Italian Gambling Market - Yggdrasil’s Italian offering will include the company's collection of in-game promotional tools, BOOST, improving gamification, and the social sharing tool, BRAG. The company’s mobile product will also be available on its HTML5 iSense 2 platform.

888sport is the latest to join sports betting integrity body ESSA - Major operator 888sport is the latest to join sports betting integrity body ESSA with the company adding its customer base and betting market platforms to ESSA’s global anti-fraud alert and reporting system.

First partypoker live event to be held in Russia - Partypoker’s new live tour will kick off in Russia on March 24, 2017 at Sochi Casino and Resort in association with Club Poker Management. Online Day 1’s will start on partypoker on March 12, 2017.

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