Bookies Exploited Client with Movement & Speech Impairment

Ladbrokes Coral and Paddy Power are at the center of another case of predatory bookmaker actions, the Guardian reports, helping a gambling addict that has suffered a life-changing disability fill out betting slips and squander his compensation.

Liam McCarron was a successful businessman at the time when in 2007 he sustained injuries from a medical procedure which led to a permanent impairment of movement and speech. His lawyers now claim that staff from both bookmaker companies failed to intervene for 3 years, a time during which his gambling losses reached £500,000.

Bookmakers’ Failure to Fulfill Duties Severely Impacted McCarron’s Life

The claim which was forwarded to the Gambling Commission is seeking the restitution of McCarron’s losses as well as compensation for the bookies’ failure to fulfill their duties to protect the vulnerable which in his case led to 2 suicide attempts and a broken marriage.

“It has had an enormous impact on me. There is the obvious financial impact, in that the money I used to gamble was intended to be for my ongoing living costs and care needs, which are significant. The impact goes way beyond finances, though, as it has caused irreparable damage to my family relationships. On top of that, I feel that I have lost my dignity and self-respect.”

Liam McCarron

In their letter to the regulator, McCarron’s legal representatives state that his vulnerability was more than obvious to the staff of both companies, meaning that he was gambling beyond his means. Staff members at Ladbrokes were aware that the gambling funds were coming from McCarron’s one-off compensation payout, as internal notes in 2014 prove he received substantial compensation, yet, they failed to take action until 2017.

His gambling disorder was finally addressed by staff at Coral, the sister company of Ladbrokes, when he was asked to fill out a form for the source of funds. This was something he could not do without the assistance of his wife, who was not aware of how much her husband had already lost while gambling. But by that time the damage had already been done and Liam McCarron had lost around half a million.

Both bookmaker companies denied any wrongdoing but the case stirred up reactions among MPs, leaving some of them shocked. The chair of a cross-party group examining gambling-related harm, Carolyn Harris, said that while disability should not be a barrier for anyone to enjoy life, including gambling, it was clear to the bookies that gambling was beyond the means of the gambler.

“They should have intervened, but instead they kept on taking his money for years. The fact that he was using compensation from an operation that has affected his life so badly is all the more tragic.”

Carolyn Harris, MP

Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham had a similar reaction of disbelief at how both companies got away with exploiting the vulnerability of their customer for years, despite their specific duty as gambling entities to protect vulnerable people.

“It’s clear that the system isn’t working. The government must now bring forward an urgent and broad review of the 2005 Gambling Act, as was promised in the manifesto, as soon as possible.”

Richard Holden, MP

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