This should not happen in 2021
In early November 2020, a friend i have known for many years contacted me with some rather concerning information regarding his account, he was in the middle of a rather lengthy dispute with an operator that was withholding winnings and had received some bizarre and outrageous service from their online web help desk. The operator had decided to withhold nearly £4,000 in winnings until further checks had been completed. This of course was incredibly frustrating for Ben, It took many hours before the company informed him why his account had been suspended, eventually he was informed they did not know why, but would let him know within the next 48 hours. As it turns out, the person in question had a self excluded account with a company under the same umbrella at the newly formed Entain (GVC). During this period, a full explanation of everything, including pictures of passports, bank cards, driving licenses and other information had been given including an admission that the depositing card, was not in the same name of the person who held the account. The reason given was the individual had a block on his banking, so his wife had deposited the funds on his behalf.
Now at this stage there are of course a number of issues at play here, and this may be a potentially, unfruitful endeavour considering the deposit method however this was not mentioned in any replies. The first meaningful response was a confirmation of the self excluded account - see below
THIS EMAIL IS DATED 12/11/2020
In this email, it is clear that Ben has a self excluded account and that Party Poker have closed this particular account for those reasons, however all funds are withdrawable for the customer.
At this stage, i would like to extend a real, and meaningful congratulations to Entain, for not only returning the funds, of which they did (although it did take over 20 days worth of emailing) but also for recognising a self excluded account and refusing to let the problem gambler use their platform.
This should, have been the end of the matter, but as you have probably anticipated, it is not.
On the 20/11/2020, Ben, after trying in vein to withdraw his funds finally received an email informing him that he could now do so, well kinda
EMAIL DATED 20/11/2020
At this stage, although a little confused, and disgusted that after recognising the customer as problem gambler with a gambling block on his bank, a self excluded account and now a closed account had received what appeared to be a completely open account, with a marketing email of promotions, Ben decided to try and login to his account to withdraw his funds.
SUCCESS, he could log in, and the account was fully operational including being able to play, deposit and withdraw. Ben withdrew the funds and within 5 days the funds were withdrawn into the original bank account (not his own)
At this stage, Ben deleted the APP and wanted to forget about the entire thing. I would share the withdrawal information and emails, but this includes far too much sensitive information for me to safely be comfortable with sharing the information.
on the 15/12/2020, one month later, Ben received this email, essentially a conclusion regards his complaint regarding the service he received on web chat, Please forgive the shortened screenshot. There are 4 pages of screenshots for this email, and 99% of it is just an explanation the verification terms and acceptance that their service fell way below par with an apology. Whilst an apology was greatly appreciated i can assure you, the free bet was certainly not.
I asked Ben about the login on the 30th of November and he told me that he looked in to see if his 'Rake Back' had been deposited into the account, It had.
Rake back is a refund of sorts each week based on your game play. The more you play, the more you are rewarded in terms of a weekly refund paid out at 00:01 Monday morning into your party poker account.
At this stage, Ben did not use his free bet. Still completely in the mindset of not gambling, however the knowledge of a FREE BET was just too much, he kept seeing this email in his inbox, He also knew there was $115 dollars in the account in rake back. Ben proceeded to use his free bet, and his $115, and then make a number of deposits with the same banking method as he had discussed with entain previously. Making a total of £300 worth of deposits on the 18/12/20 within a day, and then again £300 the next day, Ben amassed winnings of roughly £3200, and proceeded to withdraw these funds in increments. They arrived without a hitch.
As with most problem gamblers, deposits were made onto the account on the 27/12/20 totalling £1000, again, further wins were gained, After some more deposits totalling £1000 the total funds in the account were over £5500.
After withdrawing £2500 in increments of £900 approx £1100 approx and £400 approx Ben continued to play with his remaining funds, and after winning a little more went into his cashier to withdraw the full amounts, At this stage he realised his account had again been restricted. This time, not suspended. He received this email
Ben was extremely angry with what he perceived was more steps to stop him from withdrawing funds. He replied to this with the same information he sent only a month prior. As explained previously, Ben had mentioned in length about the issues revolving around the card, and this had been used for numerous deposits and withdrawals before and never been an issue, Including Ben volunteering this information during the prior round of arguments.
At this point, Ben was incredibly Angry, He felt like he was being unfairly treated and victimised solely at the point of withdrawal, which is against gambling commission rules.
It is important at this stage to discuss Tilt, a term for a gambling rage that restricts rational thought. Ben, had decided he would never get the money anyway, so went 'All in' on nearly every hand, essentially giving £3000 away to other players in a moment of absolute rage. (Yes he was allowed to carry on playing whilst his account was under review and withdrawals stopped. I have confirmed his consistent all ins through his game play records.
Ben then received this email. two hours later. At this stage, Ben thought, there is still over £2500 in my account and i will withdraw those funds in full. Although still incredibly angry.
When logging back into the account, he found that only £900 had been placed back into his account and he immediately contacted Party Poker again to demand the rest placed back into his account immediately. Whilst waiting, it is unfortunate that Ben went onto use these funds whilst still in a tilted mood, When the second lot of funds finally arrived hours later, Ben noticed this was still short of the £500 withdrawal and went into a fit of rage that he could still not withdraw the full amount. Ben proceeded buy into a $1050 dollar tournament, something he had not ever done previously. Whilst playing this tournament, Ben noticed his account had been permanently closed, So we went all in in every hand (for some reason his account still played the tournament, however he had received a pop up message telling him the account had been permanently closed). Thus, throwing away a $1050 tournament as his account was permanently closed anyway
I PROMISE THIS IS THE LAST BIT, but it is incredibly important as i've been rattling the ears of people for years regards this issue.................
Shortly after Christmas, after receiving some of his previous winnings and deciding he would never gamble again,
Ben's wife received a notification on her banking APP. Something unexpected by most gamblers.
There were many other transactions totalling £1000. These transactions had been made 7 days before on the 20th of December 2020. Also, the obvious mistake here, is that the Bank, somehow recognises Party Pokers transactions as Pokerstars, i can absolutely confirm without question, that this is Party Poker, and i can do that through the transaction ID's matching, and by looking into the transaction through further screenshots proving its use of their Elektraworks software. I have seen this happen with three different banks in my own experience, It was in fact i have seen party poker reject complaints based on this previously.
Upon noticing this, Ben and his wife were incredibly confused as to why Party Poker had just reversed many transactions into their account but did not question it. Ben re deposited the entire amount and continued to play, funding the money he would later win and not be able to withdraw,
Little did he know that 24 hours later Party Poker would retake the full amount, Leaving his account with almost nothing in it. In essence, Party Poker had received nearly £1000 in deposits, returned those funds after 7 days, the customer confused has re-deposited the amounts thinking its their lucky day, and then the funds are retaken after 24 hours.
In most cases this leaves the account in an unauthorised overdraft, luckily, Ben had the funds to cover this at the time.
Had this not happened. Ben would not have re-deposited funds, and not had been placed in the position to loose all of his winnings.
Ben shared some extremely personal information with me regarding the aftermath on his mental health and i can confirm he is now doing well.
Ben is currently undergoing the complaints process and has been referred by ourselves to a gamcare team in his hometown, I am in regular contact with him and he is doing well, committed to a life without gambling.
(i have changed the name in this story to ensure the person involved is kept annonomys)