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British Woman Denied National Lottery Winnings

by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
December 5, 2008

                A British woman lost GBP 7,000, due to a technicality, when she made a deposit on the British National Lottery from a vacation spot in Spain. The woman, who had frequently played the National Lottery “Hot Picks”, had installed the internet in her home in Spain so that she could continue to play while on holiday.

                Accessing the Camelot online channel of the lottery, the woman won GBP 7,000. When she attempted to claim her winnings with the Interactive Customer Care Unit, she was instructed to provide a plethora of personal details. After explaining to a representative that she was in Spain, she was told there was a problem and promised a return phone call.

                After some time with no call back, the woman made a second attempt to claim her winnings. It was then that Rebecca Renshaw, Head of Player Services, informed the woman that she would not be paid, as she had breached Spanish law when she entered the lottery from her vacation home. According to Renshaw, the Camelot National Lottery was not within their legal rights to pay out on her winnings, and that the company would not make an exception.

                Undoubtedly frustrated, the woman searched through 120 pages of the company’s regulations where she discovered a section entitled, “Can I play from overseas?” There she discovered that when playing outside of the UK, gamers were to abide by the laws on the country that they are in. In some cases, the country forbade participants to gamble online. Spain was one of these countries.

                Another section under the heading, “US/other jurisdictions,” explained that when playing the lottery in jurisdictions where online casino gambling is unlawful, participants would not be able to collect their prize.

                Santiago Aseni, a legal consultant, advised the woman of a bill in the making which would allow for online gambling regulation in countries within the European Union. Until then, howeber, he explained that Spain was within its rights to prohibit this form of gambling.

                InfoPowa suggests that this incident serve as a warning to online lottery players. “The tale is a cautionary one for Brits overseas who use the Internet to gambling on the UK National Lottery, and the deprived woman warns that this disqualification pitfall should be more clearly flagged by lottery officials. She speculated that there must be hundreds of expats living in Spain or spending certain periods of the year on holiday in the country like herself, who continue to take a punt on the lottery thanks to the wonders of the Internet, quite oblivious to the fact that they will not be able to benefit if they enjoy good fortune.”