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Bet365 obtained details of punter’s account from Skrill in £1m McCann case 30/01/19
Greg Wood
• Skrill complied with order to reveal details of McCann’s account without challenge
• Megan McCann suing bookie for nearly £1m in unpaid winnings

A legal case from January 2017 which relates to Megan McCann’s long-running attempt to sue Bet365 for £1m appears to suggest co-operation between Britain’s biggest online bookmaker and the leading money-transfer company, Skrill.

McCann is suing Bet365 over a £25,000 bet on four races in Britain and Ireland which was placed and accepted via the firm’s website in June 2016. The winnings due on the bet amount to just over £975,000 but Bet365 has refused to pay out, or return the initial £25,000 stake, because it claims that the stake was provided by a “third party” in contravention of its Terms and Conditions (T&Cs).

A procedural hearing in the case is scheduled to take place at the high court in Belfast on Friday, with a full hearing expected later in the year. However, the Guardian has learned that in January 2017, Bet365 successfully applied for a ‘Norwich Pharmacol’ order against Skrill at the chancery division of the high court in London, requiring Skrill to reveal details of McCann’s account with the firm.

Skrill, an “e-wallet”, has millions of customers globally and is a popular way for punters to deposit money with online gambling sites. What is concerning, though, is that Skrill did not contest the application. As a result, the witness statement by a Bet365 lawyer which supported the application was not subjected to scrutiny and the application was rubber-stamped in chambers.

All online businesses which hold or transfer funds have extensive T&Cs to which customers must agree – usually via a tick-box – before they can open an account. The Data Protection Act also requires businesses to have a robust regime in place to protect clients’ private data.

Skrill said in a statement on Wednesday that “we take our data protection obligations very seriously and are satisfied we’ve met our obligations in this matter.” The statement continued: “We were entitled to comply with the order. Under the Skrill privacy policy which all customers agree to, we can disclose customer personal information to third parties in certain limited circumstances, including ‘in response to a subpoena, warrant, court order, or as otherwise required to by law’.

“We took legal advice at the time we were served with the order which affirmed our position. At the time we were served the order we were prevented from disclosing the content of the order to anyone else.”

The wording of Skrill’s privacy policy is certainly broad enough to cover their acquiescence with Bet365’s application.

Bet365 is involved in a civil action with McCann and the bookmaker applied for the order several months before the details of McCann’s winning bet became public, in July 2017. The fairness and legal status of Bet365’s T&Cs will be central to the proceedings when McCann’s case finally reaches a full hearing.