The importance of terms and conditions: Betfred loses High Court battle over £1.7m jackpot

In the case of Andrew Green v Petfre (Gibraltar) Limited t/a Betfred [2021], the High Court has given Betfred a £1.7m reminder of the importance of having clear contractual terms and conditions.

Three years ago, Mr Green won a £1.7m jackpot in an online game provided by Betfred that he played on his mobile phone. Betfred refused to honour the win and claimed that an alleged software glitch in the game meant it had not been operating properly when the jackpot was won.

Betfred had argued that the software glitch, which stopped the game from resetting properly while Mr Green was playing, was covered under the terms and conditions of the game.

However, after a two year court battle, Mrs Justice Foster ruled that the wording of the clauses relied upon was “inadequate”, and was “not transparent or fair and Betfred were not entitled to rely upon them”. Mrs Justice Foster noted that various words and terms relied on by Betfred were not defined and were unclear, meaning they were construed against Betfred when it came to interpreting them.

Mrs Justice Foster ruled Betfred had no grounds for withholding payment. Mr Green will now receive the payment with interest. Betfred has apologised and confirmed that it would not appeal the ruling.

Practice point

This case is a salutary reminder of the importance of businesses having clear and unambiguous contractual terms and conditions in place. Terms and conditions become particularly important where relations between parties break down and will be the first point of recourse in resolving a dispute. Furthermore, terms and conditions are not a “once and for all” document and we would recommend that they are periodically reviewed and updated accordingly.

If you would like further advice on the above or for your business’ terms and conditions to be reviewed, please contact Aaron Heslop on 020 7689 7209 for an initial consultation.

Image source: Royal Courts of Justice Wikipedia
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