Aussie Millionaire Winton Veall Sues Sports Betting Giant

Millionaire businessman Winton Veall is suing TopSports for an undusclosed sum after he claims they allowed him to bet while drunk.

Winton Veall is an Australian millionaire who enjoys the finer things in life. The 70-year-old often gambles on sports using the TopSports bookmaker. The problem lies in Veall’s love for having a drink then sports betting while under the influence. That deadly combination is the forefront of a legal battle worth at least $750,000.

Veall launched his lawsuit last week claiming TopSports prayed on him while drunk. They are serious claims and sanctions will be tough if the millionaire’s claims are proven true. Veall ran an Australian sportsbook for years, so he knows the rules and regulations. He argues many of the best made between 2016 and 2019 were made while he was drunk, and TopSports was aware of this fact.

His bets started at $500 but some weighed in at a bankroll-damaging $40,000. Furthermore, Veall claims TopSports CEO Tristan Merlehan personally answered his calls when placing drunken bets. It appears TopSports’ responsible gambling procedures are not watertight.

Veall Claims Psychological Damage

Nobody likes losing money, even millionaires. However, the man who owns Timana Island on the Great Barrier Reef claims his losses caused psychological harm. The Queensland Supreme Court agreed to run the case; the court only hears suits worth at least $750,000.

Veall placed thousands of bets over the three-year period named in the court case. Cricket, boxing, rugby, tennis, horse racing, and greyhound racing are his favourite markets.

TopSports CEO Merlehen confirmed he spoke with Veall on the phone to take his bets. However, he fervently denies his client’s other potentially damaging claims. The plaintiff states Merlehen acknowledged he was intoxicated. Furthermore, Veall claims he “placed restrictions on his betting account, while of sound mind, to prevent him from betting on greyhound and harness racing.”

The Supreme Court ordered TopSports to hand over all betting records associated with the case. In addition, it made a request for all telephone recordings.

The plaintiff is not short of cash, as is evident by his $4 million mansion at Holloways Beach, Cairns. However, a vast bankroll does not prevent a person from being a vulnerable gambler.

Did TopSports Fail In Its Duty of Care?

All sports betting companies and casinos have a duty of care to their customers. While they are in the business of making money, rule dictate they do this fairly. Did TopSports fail in their duty of care? They say they acted in accordance with their licence. Veall’s claims show otherwise.

Financial penalties for responsible gaming are stiff. TopSports could be on the hook for a massive fine if the Australian authorities follow in the footsteps of our British cousins.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is infamous for its huge fines. It fined 888 Holdings £7.8 million ($13.74 million) in 2017, which was a record at the time. The UKGC has since fined Betway £11.6 million ($20.44 million), Caesars Casinos £13 million ($22.91 million), and 888 another £9.4 million ($16.56 million). The second 888 fine came with a warning about losing its operating licence.

888 failed to perform checks on one customer who lost £37,000 ($65,200) in six weeks. Another had a £1,300 ($2,291) deposit cap placed on their account despite only earning £1,400 ($2,467) per month. Veall does not have such financial restrictions but allowing bets when drunk is not protecting the customer.

Closer to home, Aussie regulators fined Crown Resorts $1 million for its failure in protecting problem gamblers.

Gamble Safely at All Time

The recent court cases are evidence gambling companies get things wrong sometimes. You can help protect yourself by following a few simple steps.

First, only ever bet with money you can afford to lose. Assume you will lose your wagers and it is a bonus if you win. In addition, never gamble when you are tired, emotional, stressed, or under the influence of alcohol. Only bet with a clear head and do not be afraid to ask for restrictions or help if things get too much.