Tuesday December 09,2014 : NORWEGIAN UPROAR OVER ONLINE GAMBLING TECHNICAL FAULT
Imagine winning GBP 75,000 but losing it to a technical fault.
A 25-year-old Norwegian online punter, Nina Larsen Kvam, recently suffered the crushing disappointment of scoring a 842,000 Norwegian kronor (around GBP 75,000) slot win on a stake of NOK 300 (GBP 11), only to have the win invalidated due to a technical flaw within the game.
Kvam hit the win at Malta-licensed PlayCherry Group’s Spilleautomater.com online casino, playing on the Lightning Box Games-developed slot Moon Temple.
She was delighted and excited over the massive win back in November this year, but it was the start of a traumatic dispute with Cherry when the gambling group invoked one of its Terms and Conditions to deny the win and freeze Kvam’s gambling account.
The T&C concerned is standard on many online gambling websites, and specifies that technical flaws in a game or the software disqualify any win.
That’s what happened to Kvam; a few hours after her win she claims she tried to withdraw the win to her bank account, only to find that her account had been shut down, and the credit balance had disappeared.
Frantic, she tried to find out what was happening, but claims that the casino was not immediately responsive, probably due to legal concerns and the possibility that Spilleautomater.com was carrying out an investigation.
Then came the bombshell; there had been a technical error in the game and the big win was therefore forfeit.
According to widespread reports in the Norwegian media on the issue, four days later Kvam had hired legal representation and was in contact with a senior manager for the online casino. Both Kvam and her lawyer threatened to go to the media with the dispute, and both claim that the manager offered NOK 30,000 (GBP 2,675) in compensation for the disqualification…but with non-disclosure conditions.
Kvam rejected this and took the issue to the media, which removed the consolation offer from the table.
Spilleautomater.com CEO Marius Andersen apparently became embroiled in the dispute when the company responded to a Television 2 request for comment by saying:
"In case of system failure or a game (a deviation from the normal functioning of the game for whatever reason) that results in mistakes in odds calculation, charges, fees, bonuses or payout, or conversion between current currencies, (‘System Error'), [the company] will seek to place all parties directly affected by such system errors in the position they were in before the system error occurred.
“SpilleAutomater.com reserves the right to void all bets that were the subject of such system errors and to remove any payments given as a direct result of the system error."
These terms and conditions must be accepted by all players before being allowed to play, and that applied to Kvam, the company claimed.
Kvam and her lawyer however, are not going away and have hinted that they are prepared to open a criminal case with the national police.
The company did not respond to questions regarding its consolatory offer, but as the publicity on the dispute escalated to gambling forums this week a Cherry spokesman posted:
“In reference to the article below we would like to express our opinion on this matter and explain it a bit further, as things have been presented in a certain way and important facts have been left out.
“As you probably understand, we cannot go in to details too much about an individual player and comment on any details, however, we would like to comment about what actually happened:
* A new game was released in the evening on the 20th November;
* We received information shortly after the game had been released that the gaming provider had decided to disable this particular game for all their partners and as a result of this we immediately removed it from all of our sites;
* Our standard procedures are that we temporarily block affected accounts to make sure that there is no more activity on the account in case there is something wrong;
* We informed the player within the same evening that the account was locked temporarily due to a suspected error in the particular game and updated the player in question frequently throughout the investigation;
* While there was an on-going investigation from the gaming provider they concluded that there was a defect in the game where the game paid out multiple times the winnings as stated in the pay-table;
* The amount stated in the article was solely won from game play in the game which was deemed defective and would not have been won in case the game was behaving as expected;
“We (PlayCherry) have been in regular communication with LGA (Lotteries and Gaming Authorities) to make sure we have an open dialogue on how to proceed given the circumstances.
“No other games are affected and all winners this day on all other games and prior to this date have been paid out as they should be.
“In any cases where a player feels that there is any wrong doing from a gaming company, we, as well as other gaming companies, encourage the customer to report the matter to LGA.
“In case this unfortunate scenario would happen that a game is deemed defective, we, as well as the majority of the casino operators, as well as the state owned gaming sites, have a clause in our terms and conditions similar to what has been posted in the article.
“According to our Terms and Conditions, we have naturally opened the customer’s account again following our investigation, and [she] is free to withdraw any legit winnings.
“This is a very unfortunate incident that has occurred, and for that we are very sorry. We have however done everything by the book, and are confident that this will be proved by any relevant legal entity or authority.”