I had a strange experience playing a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal last night at William Hill.
I was playing multi hand blackjack, and had been doing so for about half an hour. So far so good. However, during a game, when the machine was about to pay me for my winning hands of that game, the machine glitched, went back to the main menu, and showed that I had a ZERO balance.
Clearly a machine malfunction. The machines are ITBox. I’ve not had problems before. In any case, I thought I had no need for concern, because I would have expected the store staff to be able to reset the terminal to the state before the glitch occurred (replay protection is a requirement, as I understand it, of UK Gaming Act legislation around these machines), and then I could get my money refunded.
Alas, that wasn’t the case. The staff could see I had a winning hand etc but couldn’t get a track of the balance from their system apparently. And so basically washed their hands of the issue. They rang some form of internal number, and lodged an issue. Well, I went back to the branch today expecting to claim my money – but the issue was still not resolved… how long does it take to check a terminal log?
I was given a card for William Hill Customer Relations. I rang this number, got a semi-rude operator who told me that Customer Relations don’t deal with machine issues… Strange. Their card doesn’t mention that. So who does? “The Machine Manager”. I asked if I could talk to him or be given a number to phone on – “we don’t give out numbers, we can’t put you through…etc”. Great, another “casino” hiding behind the mask. All friendly when they take your money, but not accepting of any responsibility when things go wrong and you ask them to resolve things.
So, I’ve left messages with Customer Relations to pass on my details and ask for a phone call back… I’m still waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Yes, I’m ranting. But I have good reason to. The machine has stolen my money, illegitimately (to my eyes – it’s not a legitimate “losing bet”), and the company is basically being incredibly slow to react. And so I’m just letting you know. This could happen to you (if you’re in the UK and playing these machines)… be prepared for what to expect.
Why am I letting you know this? It’s about principles. If you lose money on one of these machines, it happens straight away. But it appears that when a William Hill FOBT terminal “STEALS” money from you via a machine malfunction (especially when you’re winning), that you’re expected to wait and wait and wait and wait to get any resolution. Frankly, that sucks.