A gambling addict has slammed betting companies for showering her with promotional offers when she said they should have recognised her spiral into debt as she lost £125,000.
Katie, a 42-year-old once successful accountant, used nine credit cards to rack up the debt with online casinos LeoVegas and Casumo, with the latter only suspending her account when she told them she felt ‘suicidal’.
She said that the companies ignored obvious signs of her addiction that saw her place bets of £380,000 in a single session, losing £54,000.
Katie’s case comes as the Gambling Commission is considering ‘prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards’. Her case is also understood to be the subject of an inquiry by the body, The Guardian reports.
Katie, a once successful accountant, used nine credit cards to rack up huge debt (stock image)
Katie, not her real name, said the signs of her addiction were very clear. Documents seen by The Guardian seemed to corroborate these claims.
She made dozens of failed deposits – her banks refusing to let her place bets – and cancelled the withdrawal of winnings at the last second to bet on more casino games.
Instead of being stopped, Katie was actually made a ‘VIP customer’ and given free spins on games, she claimed.
Casumo, a Malta-based online betting company, even offered her tickets to events in Wembley Stadium as her betting spiralled out of control.
Casumo only sent Katie an email about her betting 11 hours after an expensive betting spree
Brentford FC have LeoVegas signed as a shirt sponsor and livery can be seen on the advertising hoardings at this match against West Ham United, who are sponsored by Betway
She complained to the company, saying that they should have stepped in earlier than they did. Internal communications reveal that an employee called her a ‘p****’ when she did so.
Her bets rocketed from around £100 in June 2017 to around £5000 just months later.
The Guardian says Katie made dozens of these huge wagers throughout October 9th that year, and instead of being stopped, she was rewarded with three bonus offers.
LeoVegas paid £34,000 towards Katie’s rehab as ‘a gesture of goodwill’ as they put it
Casumo only sent her an email about her betting 11 hours afterwards. Her account was only suspended, having wasted another £7000, when she told a customer adviser she felt ‘suicidal’.
The company emailed Katie saying that they only ‘look at accounts holistically’, in turn not considering what the described as ‘red flags’ in the message.
Katie relapsed again in December 2017, gaining VIP status while betting with multiple credit cards with Swedish company LeoVegas – a shirt sponsor for Norwich City and Brentford football clubs.
Norwich City’s Onel Hernandez celebrates scoring. The club is also sponsored by LeoVegas
The VIP status came despite 291 failed deposit attempts and the cancellation of withdrawals worth £27,550.
In a 24-hour spree Katie squandered £53,985 on a LeoVegas slot machine game. She placed £382,844 worth of bets.
Katie was given ‘a special £800 loyalty bonus’ on January 3rd 2018, accompanied by a cheery message that opened with: ‘I hope you had a lovely Christmas and a great start to the new year!’
She had placed a staggering £1m of bets at that point, losing £94,049.
The company paid £34,000 towards Katie’s rehab as ‘a gesture of goodwill’ – but she said they didn’t acknowledge any failing in its problem gambling controls.
‘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 say they should be doing,’ she said.
The Gambling Commission said it could not comment on individual cases while LeoVegas echoed that sentiment, adding that it ‘takes safer gambling very seriously.’
Casumo said it could not comment on Katie’s case but insisted some of the details were ‘incorrect’.