Groomed by Ladbrokes?

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At this current point in my life I have become physically unwell, mentally ill, depressed, unemployed and financially destroyed.

WHY? I feel that Ladbrokes Coral Group are fully responsible for my ill health and financial destruction. I am filled with such hate, such despair and low self-esteem that at times I struggle to even get through an hour in any single day. I cry myself to sleep most nights. I have cried so much that I am no longer capable of producing tears.

I have a beautiful fiancé and four beautiful children whose lives have been so affected and destroyed as a result. My children do not have the father they deserve.

But it wasn’t always this way, and I will tell you how Labrokes Coral brought me to this point so that others may learn from this. And hopefully inform those whose responsibility it is to protect the vulnerable in society, and do something to reduce the harm that has happended to people like me.

 

My Poor Experience with Labrokes

I was once a customer of one of the Ladbrokes Coral brands. Without any previous problems with gambling, I was constantly encouraged in one of their retail Ladbrokes Shops to sign up to a store card.

I soon discovered that the purpose of Ladbrokes encouraging people to sign up to store cards was to push their online casino platform, which was the beginning of the end of me.

It wasn’t long until I started to develop a problem with gambling. I had managed for many years to bet responsibly in store, but somehow I could NOT gamble responsibly with their online casino platform.

 I believe I was groomed.

 

Yes, Groomed to Gamble.

Was I born this way? No, I was brought up in a loving family home. I have wonderful parents, siblings and friends. I was never exposed to gambling as a child, and was later introduced to gambling through friends. For the majority of my early adult life I was perfectly able to gamble responsibly.

Within 6 months I had lost every asset I have ever owned, money which was not mine, and family relationships.

I was recommended and convinced to join the Ladbrokes store card scheme by a Ladbrokes employee. I started to become a victim to a form of grooming by Ladbrokes. I say “grooming” but at the time I was completely unaware that such tactics from Ladbrokes were forced upon me.

I was constantly harassed by their gambling promotions & incentives and  I started to lose control of my gambling. Within 6 months I had lost every asset I have ever owned, money which was not mine, and family relationships.

 

VIP Status

During this period Ladbrokes upgraded my account to Loyalty/VIP status in which you are designated your own VIP manager, customer service agent, special incentives and rewards.

At first it made me feel like the VIP department were my friends who were there for me or even an extended family member. Being classified as a VIP made you feel appreciated, even loved.

I had to gamble before I could withdraw the cash

Ladbrokes VIP status meant that each & every week they would pay me a cash sum into my betting account, with only ONE condition: I had to gamble before I could withdraw the cash. As a loyal customer, regardless if I could afford to bet, Ladbrokes would give me cash to do so as part of being a loyal customer.

 Looking back at it now, it was just another form of grooming by the business.

Eventually after losing everything that was encouraged by Ladbrokes. I managed to get a grip of my betting and I gambled with stakes I could afford. For the majority of the time I simply did not gamble at all. Throughout a period of almost a year I had never been rewarded by the VIP team. My so called “friends” had never offered me tickets to events, days out or trips. In which they claim were part of the service of being loyal when I was originally upgraded.

But it was when I tried to take control of my gambling the severe grooming began.

 

Extra-Special Treatment

I received an email from the Head of the Hospitality department offering me a chance to win tickets to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

I must say it was a very personal email and one that looked directly aimed at me. There were no Ladbrokes logos or brands mentioned. The email looked highly suspicious at the time.

It was stated in the email that to enter all I needed to do was to reply and the “lucky” winner would be revealed the following week (the competition attendance date was less than 2 weeks away).

This was just one of their many acts to groom me and pull me further into their world.

But less than 24 hours after entering the competition, I received an email from the Hospitality Manager congratulating me that I was the lucky winner! I found this highly suspicious as it stated in the original email the winner would be revealed the following week.

After being congratulated I had won, it had then turned out as part of the competition they are going to award me £200 cash into my betting account, which I could use to play on their online casino. This was never mentioned in the original competition email. But looking back at it now, this was just one of their many acts to groom me and pull me further into their world.

Would you agree this a very serious form of grooming used by Ladbrokes? They are still doing it to thousands more people TODAY!

 

Deliberate Manipulation

It seems that Ladbrokes had every intention to play with my emotions. The Hospitality team clearly pre-determined the winner of a competition, something that cannot be legal? But they had observed by spending patterns in recent months and flagged me as spending a serious amount of money.

I think it would be a fair assessment to say, it is a fact this competition was just one of many they send regularly to get their customers to return to gambling.

With their great success in grooming me I lost further monies over the following weeks in which had catastrophic consequences to my life.

Ladbrokes continued this behaviour for a further 2 years. I could sit here and write time after time of how the Ladbrokes Coral Group abuse their powers.

This current time of 2018 is very frightening. I have been on social media for a very short space of time and have already had many people come to me showing the same patterns of grooming by the Ladbrokes Coral Group.

 

Refusal to Payout Winnings of £30,000

After continuously battling against my addiction for a further couple of years and trying to rebuild my life, I was very lucky to win over £30,000 with Ladbrokes from a small deposit.

For the first time in my life over a period of a few days I could not stop winning. I twice made withdrawals of large sums, but then cancelled and continued to gamble until eventually I won over £30,000.  I instantly knew I had turned my life around, and could now try to make ammends & repair the broken relationships with my family caused by gambling.

Labrokes then sent me two emails which stated my withdrawal for £30,000 was currently under review.

One email said I had to provide proof of identification. The second email was very confusing, which still to this day I do not understand. I had to sign some form of copies of debit transactions for the winnings.

I was in absolute disbelief that after many years of depositing my entire life and losing it through Ladbrokes, they are now preventing me from receiving my monies? I had never had any problems withdrawing or depositing before.

I immediately contacted Ladbrokes customer services explaining they had made a mistake. I repeatedly asked to speak with the document verification department in which they said I could not. I then explained that they have asked me to provide proof of my debit card in which was not used to win the sums. My winnings were won from an instore cash deposit onto my online account and Ladbrokes wanted me to provide proof of a deposit from my debit card from over a week before.

I again contacted customer services, as being away from home I was in no position to send documents. I explained Ladbrokes have incorrectly asked me to prove irrelevant documents. The customer service agent reiterated that I cannot access any monies from my account until I have fulfilled their requests. The agent however could not explain one of the unclear verification emails.

However, I was told I am still entitled to cancel any pending withdrawal if I choose and CONTINUE USING MY ACCOUNT TO GAMBLE.

 

Unable to withdraw £5,000 cash deposited

At this time I still had around £5,000 in my betting account (excluding the £30,000 pending withdrawal).

So I entered a Ladbrokes high street shop. I handed over my store card in an attempt to withdraw the balance.

I first asked the shop assistant firstly if I could withdraw £10. I was successful, which was strange as customer services had just told me along with the emails that my account funds and pending withdrawals were apparently “unobtainable” by Customer Services.

I then requested the withdrawal of the entire balance, but due to the shops cashflow I was only able to withdraw another £990. But without any problems I was able to withdraw a total of £1,000 in cash. Which proved there was no issues with my account.

[This appears to be further proof that Ladbrokes, or the Ladbrokes VIP department, had deliberately tried to restrict my access to my funds reaching my bank account by asking for documents in the hope that I would cancel my withdrawal and instead gamble the funds.]

 

More Gambling was the ONLY way to Withdraw My Money.

Later that day I telephoned Ladbrokes VIP customer services and spoke with the Head of the Department. I asked her if she could remove the restrictions that are stopping and delaying my withdrawal reaching my bank account. If they could not remove these restrictions, I asked if they could please explain exactly what needs to be done with the second email in relation to my debit card. The lady could not explain this to me. But she could reiterate a special promotion to me?

Later that day the lady who I earlier spoke with from the VIP department sent an email thanking me for my telephone call.. and again pushing the same special promotion at me!

The promotion was constantly thrown at me at every opportunity.

It gave the indication that it would be safe for me to gamble, as I would receive a lot of it back as a cash bonus. It made it sound like there was no risk attached.

With the continuous pressure and the doubt in my mind whether I would even be able to access the funds, I was then further groomed in to cancelling my pending withdrawal and then losing the life changing sum of £30,000.

 

Absolutely Betrayed

This was one of the lowest moments in my life. Ladbrokes had manipulated, groomed, exploited and encouraged me to gamble for years.

I can remember just been awake all night long, it was as if I was pretending to sleep all night. I was in a state of shock, numb from losing that life-changing money in which I had promised family and friends with. However I was about to receive at least £1,000 in cash due to the special promotion I finally agreed to.

Labrokes called me Liar.. then encouraged me to keep on gambling.

But I should have automatically received this cash in my betting account, and after awaiting many hours it still wasn’t there?

I contacted the VIP department using their chat facility, and was deemed a liar and accused as if I was making these special promotions up?! During this discussion trying to seek my £1,000 cash, I was again encouraged to gamble with further promotions. The VIP agent claimed that I am possibly mixing my promotion up for something else and to wait until tomorrow to see if I receive anything in my account.

Ladbrokes groomed me for so many years that their actions against me caused me to lose most of my family and all of my friends. I thought they were my friends or was made out to believe the Ladbrokes VIP crew were there for me. They were not. I felt absolutely betrayed.

I explained that I was telling the truth. I explained how I never asked for these promotions. I made it clear I was targeted to participate in these promotions and I swore on my children’s life that I was owed a lot of money in cash. Eventually after quite some time the agent said she was going to make a phone call to investigate further.

 

Yet MORE Grooming

I explained to VIP Customer Services that I was telling the truth. I explained how I never asked for these promotions. I made it clear I was targeted to participate in these promotions and I swore on my children’s life that I was owed a lot of money in cash. Eventually after quite some time the agent said she was going to make a phone call to investigate further.

Shortly after, she returned to the chat conversation and explained that there was an error and that these promotions were specially made for me.

Custom made promotions specially designed for me…??!!

In other words, Ladbrokes were grooming me. They deliberately withheld my withdrawal and worked around that in order to groom me to get their money back.

 

Some Good News, Finally

That same day after receiving the £1,000 cash from Ladbrokes. I placed a Horse Racing bet instore in some attempt to get myself away from the online casino. The bet I placed was a 7 horse multiple type bet. To my amazement I discovered that I had won £5,300 on the bet.

It wasn’t quite the £30,000 that I was groomed into losing lost two days earlier, but at least I knew I would be able to obtain over £5,000 in cash without any restrictions.

When I later visited my local Ladbrokes shop placing the winning slip over the counter. I could see the smile from the cashier’s face knowing I had just won a lot of money. I asked what the total sum was and she explained she had calculated over £5,300, but another shop would have to check the bet before it was paid out (which was confirmed).

Whilst I was awaiting for my money to be paid out, I placed some further bets in which the shop said they would take away from the winnings (Credit Bets) and called my mother to explain to her that I will deposit £3,000 into her bank account in the morning while I was sat in the shop waiting to be paid out.

BUT.. Within minutes of about to be paid out the cash, head office called the shop and said they wanted to check the bet.

I was then told that due to a small print on an instore poster my winnings were calculated at “best odds guaranteed” and the promotional poster states that it is only up to a maximum of £1,000 on top of the price I had taken.

It is at this point I am then told the winning bet is now just over £2,000 minus the credit bets they had taken from me.

To my disbelief, I have without any fault of my own gone from about to walk out of the shop with over £5,000 to less than £2,000.

 

Within a period of three days, Ladbrokes had completely and purposely destroyed me for their own gain.

This is how they treat their loyal customers.

 

 

Formal Complaint to Labrokes CEO

I eventually decided to pluck up the courage and write a formal complaint to Ladbrokes. I spent an enormous amount of time and effort wording my letter and I sent it to the legal department at Ladbrokes and to the Chief Executive Jim Mullen.

  • 5 weeks later I still had not received any response.
  • Another followup sent
  • A few days after, I received a telephone call from a gentlemen who worked within the legal department who promised me that they were taking my complaint seriously and that I would receive this response within 2 weeks.
  • 2 weeks later no response.
  • Telephoned the inhouse legal department – advised by a legal representative that they would respond shortly.
  • Received response that day assuring me that would receive a response by end of week
  • Finally received something late Friday afternoon (after chasing again) with just a copy of my original VIP complaint, stating that it was answered!

During this period of my life, my very young daughter was diagnosed with a heart condition who was awaiting an operation.

I had on many occasions explained to Ladbrokes that they had deliberately and purposely destroyed my life and that I was seeking answers.

As the months passed I had again on further occasions contacted Ladbrokes seeking answers as to why I was pushed to gamble my life away.

  • Why did they stop me from withdrawing my £30,000?
  • Why did I have to provide documents to prove how I won my money when the documents were incorrect in relation to my deposit?
  • Why did Ladbrokes abuse their right and continually target me with custom promotions aimed at me losing my winnings?

It became more then clear that Ladbrokes were refusing to answer any questions, they at no point showed any compassion. This was the company who told me I am a “loyal customer“. They made me out to be a friend, but could now only respond with answers such as “Ladbrokes reserve the right and wishes not to comment”.

 

Legal Threats from Labrokes

As nobody within the Ladbrokes establishment could answer to me so, I wrote a pre-action court letter in seek of the £30,000 withdrawal in which Ladbrokes groomed me to lose.

During this period, with very low self-esteem, Ladbrokes again failed to acknowledge my pre-action court letter by responding with a few sentences. As you can tell I was very angry during this period, and I admit that at times I did & said things that I did not mean. I also registered a couple of available domain names which Labrokes might need when their merger with GVC goes through.

In desperation I decided to create a poster that stated “Ladbrokes groomed their customers”. Within a matter of days I had received a pile of legal documents from Ladbrokes.

They were going to sue me for Malicious falsehood, Slander and a Breach of intellectual property rights.

Yet Ladbrokes had abused ME for years?  This company refused at point blank to answer any of my questions, failed to acknowledge any letter I had sent them but were only interested if I was to speak the truth about this company.  Failed to communicate me when I experienced problems. Every person who I was in contacted with failed to respond and when I tried to get answers they had all “left the company.” At this point it was clear to me that Ladbrokes intentionally groomed me.

 

Court Action

I filed a claim asking for £30,000 through the small claims court costing me £1,350 to do so.

Their legal response included “I do not work Tuesdays, or Wednesdays and this email address is NOT being monitored.”

Immediately after I made my claim online, I took screenshots of all the particulars in my claim, and a receipt to prove purchase. With these documents I forwarded them to a number of legal representatives at Ladbrokes through email.

In my court claim I asked the court to serve notice and I additionally sent a recorded copy to head office. Ladbrokes had 28 days to either respond to my claim or even ask for an extension. But immediately after sending the proof of my court claim through email I received a response from one of the inhouse legal email addresses stating that they only worked part time.

28 days had passed and again as I had previously experienced it was clear to me that Ladbrokes were not interested in this claim and are likely going to pay the outstanding sums when contacted. So I applied through the court for Judgement by Default.

I was at the time very fortunate to be offered a senior position within a Horse Racing yard some distance away from home. So I went to work leaving my partner and my sick daughter so I could better our lives with a new job. It was during this period that I had started to rebuild a relationship with my family.

As I was finally due the £30,000 payment, one of my family members lent me the money to pay a deposit and first month’s rent so I had somewhere to live for my new job. With the new rental agreed, we gave notice on our home in Wales.

 

Application to “Set Aside” Judgement

Within a few days of the court decision I contacted Ladbrokes in search of my payment which was awarded by the Courts for £30,000 and additional costs. Within just under a week of trying to acquire the money, Ladbrokes had made the decision to apply to “Set Aside Judgement”. Unbelievable? Yes.

Unbelievable?

I had on many occasions explained to Ladbrokes & their legal department the adverse effect this was having on me and my family, and that daughter was about to undergo surgery on her heart. Apparently they said that they had failed to diarise the Claim, after they emailed the court for confirmation regarding the claim? So the court gave them the beneift of the doubt and attached a response pack for them.

  • Why did they wait for me to contact them collecting outstanding money before issuing their application?
  • Additionally, why was their application to Set Aside sent two days after I was seeking payment?

At a worst case scenario, their application to set aside Judgement should have been sent the day they received my email seeking payment. This was a legal application sworn by the head of the legal department, they claimed I “had failed to take responsible steps to identify the appropriate defendant.”

Not only was their legal application full of incorrect facts, it is clearly evident they had done absolutely ZERO research about my claim and failed to acknowledge any previous discussions between myself & them.

(All documents available for anyone interested)

 

 

Rock Bottom

It was at this very point in my life that my world came crashing down, whilest I was away from home trying to rebuild my life for my family and had served notice on our home in Wales. 

I was unable to attend my daughter’s heart surgery.

My daughter was due to have an operation on her heart. It was the day before her surgery I was travelling home to Wales that the engine blew on my car. My poor daughter, my darling little girl, who had to undergo heart surgery without me when she needed me the most. Her father who should have had his entire focus on her was absolutely crushed.

We had literally nothing. I could not continue my job as I had no vehicle. My newly rented home was 15 miles away from the racing yard which required me to start work at 6.15am. It was an impossible task.

We had arranged to move out very quickly in our home in Wales for the new tenants. And with a great amount of difficulty we had found, possibly one of the dirtiest property’s manageable to rent at very short notice. Full of damp and mould. But it was a roof over our heads. And thankfully my daughter’s operation had been a success.

 

Court (Part II)

The hearing for the set aside application by Ladbrokes happened very quickly (I was told on a Friday that the hearing was on the Monday). I received an email from Ladbrokes which gave me information on who was representing them.

Labrokes retracted their original statements and admitted they HAD received previous court documentation.

On arrival at court, the solicitor representing Ladbrokes notified the Judge that they have retracted the majority of their statement, which was fresh news to me.

In fact Ladbrokes retracted a whole list of facts from their Set Aside application with one that included: “Notice of the Court claim and response pack had turned up in their accounts department” which means it was deemed properly served. There was other information in which they retracted (documents available if interested).

It wasn’t until I got home that evening and searching my emails that I discovered Ladbrokes never notified me of these documents, which I understand in law they should have done so. And in the email they sent me on the Friday before the court date, the in-house legal department had failed to attach the document that showed they had retracted these statements.

Unfortunately for me, the Judge set aside their application. He was extremely sympathetic towards me but had to refer to precedents set, and deemed they had acted quickly in their application(!)

As the months passed, I tried on multiple occasions to come to some form of an agreement with the in-house legal team. I had tried every single angle. It was during this stage of my life I was becoming unwell.

 

Personal Health Issues

Throughout that year I had developed a Heart Arrhythmia, from the unnecessary stress this company put me under.

The morning of the Set Aside hearing I was having a scan on my heart 10 miles down the road from the Court. I was becoming mentally very unstable. Countless times of suicidal thoughts. Significant debts piling up. Just because Ladbrokes failed to respond to my Court Claim they put me in another further £3,000 in debt.

After continuously trying to get Ladbrokes to understand the unmanageable damaged they have caused, I was getting nowhere. But in nearly every email response they threatened a “Strike Out ” application.

Just because I took legal action by myself, and just because I lost my money gambling, doesn’t mean I do not have rights. It doesn’t mean I am this fool who they think deserves to be thrown in the gutter.

 

Take the Deal or Else

It was just over a month until Christmas 2017. I was in a terrible state, and again Ladbrokes took advantage of me by offering to pay my original claim fee of £1,350 in exchange that I discontinued my claim for £30,000 and handed over the rights to the domain names.

They finally bled me dry.

I was so weak. Again they abused me into submission. I finally took the £1,350 and here I am today.

  • I have not worked in almost three years.
  • I am so unwell that I cannot walk further than 100 yards without losing my vision.
  • My heart is permanently in an arrhythmia.
  • I have significant debts hanging over my shoulders.
  • I am mentally unstable.

All because of Ladbrokes Coral, I have no quality of life.

I have no life.

 

Ethical Treatment?

Ladbrokes Coral Group have not only destroyed my own life, they have harmed my entire family’s life.

How many other lives are being destroyed this very moment by Ladbrokes Coral?

GVC Holdings have acquired the Ladbrokes Coral Group. It has been estimated the combined businesses are now going have a net worth of £4 Billion.

My £30,000 was 0.0000075% of GVC Holdings Net worth… but they wouldn’t part with a penny (yet allowed me to gamble it if I choose).

 

Can I just say that I am so humbled and thankful for all the kind messages I have received. Please share this with anyone you can and comment below.

Labrokes – if you have done this to me, then you have done this to other people.

But we can make a change if we all speak up.

Scott

AKA: “The Ladbrokes Loser”

 

 

GamHelp Gambling Education & Support community
About Editor 17 Articles
Mike is a semi-retired Technology Consultant who neither loves nor hates gambling. He does however find gambling HARM unacceptable, *COMPLETELY* unacceptable & inexcusable, as it something that can & should be avoided. "Any Company Director whose CSR Policy permits gambling-related harm and/or the loss of life due to consumption of its products should be held fully accountable."