Test case to probe legality of bets made abroad

A British man claims he should not have been allowed to place bets from Spain.
A British man claims he should not have been allowed to place bets from Spain.

Lawyers say the case could “open the floodgates to thousands of claims” as a British man claims Ladbrokes allowed him to bet illegally from abroad.

UK.- A legal case has begun that could become a test for whether a bet stands if it is made abroad from a territory where betting is illegal or where the operator does not have a licence.

A British man is suing Ladbrokes in a bid to recover £3.3m in lost bets that he made with the UK operator online while at his second home in southern Spain between 2014 and 2018.

Terry Allan, 57, filed a claim at the High Court in London arguing that the bets he made from abroad should not have been accepted because Ladbrokes did not have a licence in Spain.

The court has heard that the recruitment boss from Scotland had his own dedicated telephone line to a Ladbrokes betting shop in Aberdeen and would bet around £400,000 a week.

Allan says he told staff not to ask him where he was to avoid them being forced to decline his bets. But he claims Ladbrokes Coral knew that he was making many of the bets from Spain where it was illegal, and “turned a blind eye”. 

He says he had sometimes played golf in Spain with members of Ladbrokes Coral’s senior management and that staff knew about his trips.

His case hinges on the argument that under Spanish law from 2011, betting companies were required to hold a licence to operate in Spain even for bets placed by phone to a different country.

Ladbrokes, and its Ladbrokes Premier betting service, did not have a licence.

Allan is claiming £3.36m from Ladbrokes, which he says is the sum of the bets he made abroad during the period less his winnings, plus interest of 8 per cent per year.

His lawyer, Richard Howlett, told The Daily Telegraph that if Allan wins the case it could “open up floodgates to thousands of claims from anyone who has placed a bet from abroad.” 

Ladbrokes said in a statement: “We are aware that proceedings have been issued on unfounded grounds that certain historic bets were accepted illegally pursuant to Spanish law. We believe that the claim is entirely without merit.”

The EU recently revealed that it has begun a probe into Ladbrokes’ virtual betting concession in Belgium.

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