Published: November 5, 2019 | Updated: November 5, 2019

Law firm takes on the bookies and wins after reclaiming more than £100,000 for client

Solicitor Henrietta Dunkley and Partner Paul Kanolik of Ellis Jones Solicitors who have recovered over £100,000 of a gambler’s losses.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A Dorset law firm has scooped a major win against the bookies.

Ellis Jones Solicitors reclaimed more than £100,000 of a problem gambler’s losses.

The sum amounted to 89 per cent of its client’s net losses from a high street bookmaker.

Experts from the firm’s specialist Betting Disputes Team successfully argued that the betting operator breached the Gambling Commission’s social responsibility code because it failed to protect the client as a vulnerable customer

The unnamed man, aged 32 and from the South East, lost just over £134,000 playing casino games such as roulette, blackjack and a slot machine style game.

Ellis Jones Solicitors won the case without having to go to court.

The firm recovered just over £100,000 for its client – its highest amount to date in a gambling case.

Solicitor Henrietta Dunkley, who acted in the case, said: “This was an outstanding result in a high value dispute with a major betting operator.

“Our client had shown very obvious signs of problem gambling for a considerable amount of time and was spending far beyond his means.

“He had lost well in excess of £100,000. We were able to persuasively argue that there had been clear failings by the betting operator.

“We were able to show that the firm had failed to protect him as a vulnerable customer and therefore breached a number of obligations set out within the Gambling Commission’s Social Responsibility Code.

“Ultimately we were able to negotiate and recover 89 per cent of our client’s net losses without having to pursue any court proceedings.”

Although a landmark case for the firm itself in the amount reclaimed, it has also achieved various other settlements for clients in similar positions.

Paul Kanolik, a Partner in the firm’s Betting Disputes Team, said: “This fantastic result is reflective of a much wider recognition by the Gambling Commission and other organisations that more protection is needed for gambling customers, particularly those that display obvious signs of problem gambling.

“There has recently been a serious push by the Gambling Commission to make gambling operators more socially responsible, and so gambling operators are waking up to the fact that these claims are being made and do have merit.”

Ellis Jones’ specialist Betting Disputes Team is part of its Dispute Resolution department.

It assists clients who believe they have lost money after being treated unfairly by gambling firms.

This includes lodging complaints with betting companies and working with adjudication services such as the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) or e-Commerce and Online Gaming and Regulation Assurance (eCOGRA). It also pursues court proceedings where appropriate.

According to latest figures from the Gambling Commission, 24 million adults gambled in 2018-2019 with about 10.5m gambling online.

Ellis Jones has five offices in Dorset at Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Christchurch, Swanage and Wimborne.