Gambler Who Couldn't Lose Stripped of Winnings

An Italian man who thought he had won £650,000 playing an online game that turned out to be affected by a software bug will get none of his winnings after a judge ruled that Surrey-based Eurobet UK Ltd. had no contractual obligation to pay him.

Bruno Venturi believed that he had won more than €700,000 on the gaming site, but was told that his windfall was the result of a software error and he could not claim his winnings.

He sued Eurobet Ltd., arguing that he had followed the instructions on its website, that placing bets from his online account constituted ‘consideration’, an essential element in the formation of a contract, and that he had followed the rules of the game to the letter. There was no indication of the software error during the time that he was playing.

However, Judge Simon Brown QC, who described the case as a ‘straightforward contractual claim’, ruled that the difficulties caused by the software bug constituted an accounting error, which voided any obligation that the service provider might otherwise have had to pay.

Eurobet UK Ltd. argued that the error, which came about during a software upgrade, meant that Mr Venturi was charged for only one in six of the 6,670 wagers he placed, dramatically increasing his chances of winning the lottery-style game.

The company relied on a contractual condition agreed to by those who played the game. This stated that any sum ‘incorrectly credited’ to a player’s account would be recovered or withdrawn.

Judge Brown ruled that because Mr Venturi had not paid for all of his bets, the company’s refusal to pay him his winnings was not a breach of contract.

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