A Northern Irish punter is taking global bookmaking giant bet365 to court in a David vs Goliath battle.
Megan McCann, of Belfast, has lodged a writ against bet365's parent company in a Northern Ireland High Court, claiming she is owed AUD$1.7 million (GBP £1,009,960) by the bookmaker.
Ms McCann was just 19 years of age when she placed the bets in question on races at Bath, Kempton and Naas on June 22nd last year. The wagers consisted of 960 'Lucky 15' bets, staking £13 each-way on each for a total stake of £24,960.
A 'Lucky 15' is a multi-race bet type available more widely in the UK, combining a single selection in four different races into 15 bets: the four single bets, six two-leg multis, four three-leg multis and one four-leg multi.
Ms McCann's bets resulted in total winnings of £1,009,960 from the total stake of £24,960.
The next day, Ms McCann contacted bet365 to withdraw her winnings, receiving a confirmation of the withdrawal and a congratulations from a customer service representative.
She received a phone call from another bet365 staff member the next day, who asked a number of questions in order to confirm her identity and personal information.
Ms McCann answered all questions correctly and was advised by the second staff member that the winnings would be deposited to her bank account within 48 hours.
Shortly after, Ms McCann's bet365 account was suspended, and subsequently closed. The winnings were not transferred to her bank account as advised.
Bet365 claim that Ms McCann's bets are invalid as she was in breach of a 'no third party' rule contained in their terms and conditions, which requires any deposits and stakes to be funded entirely by the account holder.
Ms McCann has engaged lawyer Andrew Montague, who lodged the writ on her behalf claiming (in part) that bet365's terms and conditions are "too lengthy, too complex and much too vague for the average customer to understand."
The legal team claims that the wording of the rule in question effectively means that "a husband who puts a bet on X-Factor for his wife would have the winnings robbed of him.”
The case also raises questions regarding bets placed with bookmakers for betting syndicates or social betting clubs.
"Our client’s case is very straightforward. She placed a bet with your client. She won. She is entitled to her winnings."
In correspondence with bet365 and their legal team, Ms McCann's lawyers state that the bookmaker's terms and conditions amount to “nothing more than a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ wish list."
"Our client’s case is very straightforward," wrote the lawyers. "She placed a bet with your client. She won. She is entitled to her winnings.”
Mr Montague fought a similar case against a different bookmaker in 2010 involving Irish punter and horse trainer Barney Curley. In that case, the bookmaker in question refused to pay $1.4 million (£823,000) in winnings to members of Mr Curley's family.
Once legal action was launched, the bookmaker paid out the winnings in full.
"This is something of a déjà vu scenario for me, but as the case is now before the Belfast High Court, I am not in a position to comment further." Mr Montague told The Telegraph.
In a statement to The Telegraph, a spokesman for bet365 said that "a full investigation has been carried out into the circumstances of the bet that was placed.
"Bet365 is entirely satisfied the circumstances are such that winnings are not payable in relation to it.
"We expect this position to be upheld at trial. We are not prepared to comment further whilst litigation is ongoing.”
It's unclear if bet365 applies the same strict level of scrutiny to all large wagers, or only to those which result in customer wins.