Sydney firm Bannister Law is looking at launching a class action against online betting agency Bet365 after a free bets offer was declared misleading and deceptive.
Last week the Federal Court fined the company $2.75 million following legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over Bet365’s “$200 free bets to new customers” between March 2013 and January 2014.
The court found last September that the promotion was misleading and deceptive and involved false representations because the fine print of the offer was not easily apparent.
To receive the free cash, new customers had to deposit $200 of their own money and gamble it before receiving the $200 free bet. They then had to gamble it all three times before withdrawing any winnings, so at least $1200 was gambled before getting any money back.
Justice Beach of the Federal Court concluded that Bet365’s conduct involved a significant element of recklessness.
“New customers who had not previously used such types of services were drawn into this web of deception. But other customers who had used such types of services before may have been similarly enticed,” Beach concluded.
Bet365 issued a statement saying it regrets that “as a result of an unintentional software error… it may not have adequately brought to the attention of customers terms and conditions associated with the promotion”.
Charles Bannister, of Bannister Law, said the potential class action would seek to recover damages for affected consumers in relation to a promotion and advertising campaign during the period 18 March 2013 to 13 January 2014.
He said initial estimates suggest more than 70,000 people registered with Bet365 in the relevant period and could be part of the claim.
His firm is opening registrations for the class action tomorrow.
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