The BML Group, a subsidiary of Stockholm-listed online gambling company Betsson, won a landmark case when the Swedish Patent and Market Court ruled in their favour in a gambling addiction suit.
The suit was brought against the company by an unnamed player who claimed that the company acted in bad faith, used predatory marketing tactics, and manipulated him into losing million at their casino site by preying on his addiction to online gambling.
Legitimate Claim of Addiction
Far from being someone who is trying to manipulate the industry’s serious view of gambling addiction in an attempt to claim back his losses the claimant has indeed suffered real losses due to compulsive gambling.
“The financial consequences have been very great. The company he has built and worked for about 20 years was declared bankrupt as a result of his gambling addiction.”
The lawsuit highlighted how the 54-year-old businessman suffered the loss of his business due to the gambling debts he incurred from 2011 to 2014.
In 2014 the claimant contacted Betsson and asked for his account to closed due to problem gambling, a request which was honoured and has been upheld ever since. The player was later medically diagnosed as a gambling addict.
Bloated Values and False Claims
While the player may have truly suffered financially and even emotionally from his bout of compulsive gambling, he gained little sympathy when he made unsubstantiated claims about the predatory nature of the company’s marketing claims and demanded an outrageous sum as reimbursement for his spend at the casino.
The lawsuit against the BML Group sought restitution to the value of €15.1 million to cover his financial losses, emotional suffering, and interest for the period in question. However, when the analysis was provided of his spend at the casino it was found that he had deposited only €700,000 – the quoted value of €15 million was the turnover (or gross gaming revenue) he generated from the wagers he placed.
He and his legal team falsely referred to this €15 million figure as “profit” in their suit. A nonsensical mathematical claim when he had only deposited a fraction of that amount into the casino.
In addition to the erroneous math in the suit, they also called out the company for employing “aggressive” marketing tactics and targeting him with the intent to take advantage of his addiction.
The Court Stands Firm
The Patent and Market Court determined that in addition to the plaintive misrepresenting the scope of his financial losses the casino did not make any “unauthorized profit at his expense”.
Their ruling was based on the fact that the casino had no notice of or insight into his struggles with gambling addiction prior to him notifying them thereof in 2014. Once the company knew of his status, they followed all the regulatory requirements set out by the gambling authority to ensure his safety moving forward.
They also found that the tone, messaging, imagery and even frequency of transmission of the marketing material provided to the court was well within accepted parameters of gambling regulations and showed no signs of targeting him as a known gambling addict.
The court determined that the online casino had acted in good faith and found in their favour. In addition to losing the case, the player has to pay for the groups legal fees and expenses which amount to just over €200,000.