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Gala – Accused of circumventing an exclusion

Ruling

Resolved - The player set up further accounts with the Gala group after self-restricting. As the personal data the player entered was formatted differently this unfortunately went undetected. Due to this - and despite a breach of terms in setting up additional accounts - Gala casino has chosen to refund half of the losses the player experienced and has upgraded their systems to ensure that this situation should not arise again. As both parties carry some blame, we view this as a fair resolution.

Read our Gala Casino Review.

Player's Complaint

I self excluded from Coral betting Oct 2013, which included all of its other sites including Gala casino. My user name was [EDIT].

I was told later that I opened a GalaCasino account in the name of [EDIT] in Feb 8 2014. I don't remember but accept it, played for one day then stopped.

I received a email promo from Gala casino Aug 4 to log in and claim a bonus to continue playing.

I played and lost £3600 over 2 days on the slots.

At this time I checked to see whether I self excluded, then remembered I did for 5 years with Coral. I then checked to see if I could open a coral account and found that I could under username [EDIT].

At this point I contacted Coral to check and they confirmed that a self exclusion was in place and said they will close both accounts down, Gala casino and Coral. When I contacted Gala casino they said they were not in breach as I had circumvent the self exclusion therefore will not return any deposits.

The same email address, home address, client details including my real name was all the same and wasn't flagged up as someone who self excluded, so I obviously didn't try to mask my identity

The customer services supervisor says the matter is closed and I cannot enter into any more dialogue with them. Any help if I have a case for complaint?

Read the casino review

5 Responses

ThePOGG
Aug 25, 2014

Hi samuellclone - welcome to ThePOGG.com!

I'll be frank and say that I'm very wary of any case like this. It's fairly well established that there are many people trying to use the self exclusion protection policies to defraud casinos by self-excluding then signing up with different details. At that point if the player wins they withdraw the winnings and if they lose they contact the casino looking to get their deposits refunded.

Looking at the description you've given, there are several factors that worry me. Firstly this isn't happening over an extended period of time where it's likely you'd forget that you opened an account. You shut your first account in October last year, five months later you opened a new account at Gala. If I'd gone to the lengths of self-excluding with a group I'm not overly convinced that I'd forget this fact only a few months later.

You then don't play until August when you receive an email to the Gala account you opened in February and it only occurs to you to check whether you'd actually self excluded 2 days later after you'd had a substantial loss. If you really had forgotten that you'd self-excluded and you felt you had a problem surely you would have then asked to self-exclude only to be informed you already were?

If I'm completely honest, it sounds to me like you knew you were self-excluded before you engaged in play but chose to do so anyway.

Alongside this you've opened the account under a different username. By and larger players tend to stick with variants of a single username as this makes it easier to remember, but your new username is completely different to your old username. That is a little odd. Had you tried to open an account under the same username this would have been automatically rejected.

While I do sympathise with your loss and I certainly want to speak to Gala to get a better understanding of their self exclusion policies and what they're doing to protect at risk players, at this particular stage I'm not overly convinced you have much of a case.

I'll speak to Gala and see what I can find out.

ThePOGG

ThePOGG
Sep 10, 2014

Hi samuellclone,

Just to let you know that I am still looking into this. I'm currently waiting for a response from Gala.

I'll let you know when I hear something useful.

ThePOGG

ThePOGG
Sep 29, 2014

Hi samuellclone,

Gala casino have informed me that they've resolved this issue with you directly. Can you confirm this?

Thanks,

ThePOGG

ThePOGG
Oct 01, 2014

Hi samuellclone,

I'm afraid to say that in this instance I agree with and support the resolution that Gala casino have offered.

In the first instance I don't find it all that likely that you actually forgot about your original self exclusion. You clearly chose this brand because of your previous experience with them. Otherwise, given the number of online casinos available it becomes statistically extremely unlikely that you'd randomly choose the same group twice in a row. By opening a second account after requesting a self exclusion you were directly violating the terms of service with the casino with regard to their problem gambling policies (and in fact their anti-fraud policies).

You've made a conscious decision to circumvent the self exclusion you requested - that personal decision excludes you from absolving yourself of all blame.

Furthermore, the reality here is that had you won you would have expected to be paid by the casino. By trying to place all responsibility at the door of Gala casino you're asking me to place the casino in a position where they were guaranteed to lose. If you won they had to pay out and if you lost they'd have to refund your deposits. I won't support a casino that places a player in a 'no-win' situation and likewise I can't support a role reversal.

The above stated - and taking your account as fact as Gala are yet to offer their side of the story - I do think Gala casino hold partial responsibility. If as you've said your details were by-and-large matching those of the self excluded account, I do feel that Gala should have had some process in place to automatically check that you weren't trying to circumvent their self-exclusion system and that your later accounts should have been flagged for manual review. I'm in the process of trying to get Gala to offer a explanation for why this didn't happen and what procedural changes are being implemented as a result of this issue.

Given that both sides hold blame here, the arrangement that Gala have put in place where they have offered to refund half of your losses is to my mind is both fair and reasonable.

I'm going to hold this complaint open to see if Gala offer any response to my request. If not obviously the conclusion will reflect more negatively on them.

ThePOGG

ThePOGG
Nov 14, 2014

While this took far longer than I ideally prefer, I have had a chance to talk at length to a Gala casino representative regarding this issue.

I do not wish to suggest that samuallclone was being intentionally dishonest in the original submission of this complaint, but I can say that the formatting of the personal information used to generate the latter accounts was different enough that it flew under the radar of the duplicate account detection system that Gala had in place. I can also say that improvements have been made to the system that would prevent this situation arising in the future.

I'm satisfied that the resolution of this issue was fair to both parties. Ideally, the duplicate accounts should have been picked up before betting commenced and Gala have taken responsibility for that. However I don't accept that that the player is likely to have simply forgotten that they'd set up an account and reached a point - likely after a substantial loss - where they requested a self-exclusion. A self-exclusion is likely to follow a fairly intense negative emotional experience which is unlikely to be easily forgotten. As such I feel it fair to conclude that the player was aware that they'd self-excluded when they set up the second account. Given that there was fault on both sides, the return of half of the contested funds seems absolutely fair in this situation.

I would compliment Gala casino for their self-reflective approach to this issue. That in itself is highly commendable.

ThePOGG

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