An outraged dad is demanding the TAB pay him almost $200,000 for three successful multibets — revoked because the wagering giant changed the odds.
An outraged dad is demanding the TAB pay him almost $200,000 for three successful multibets — revoked because the wagering giant changed the odds.

‘Technical error’: Angry punter fights for $180k multibet

Exclusive: An angry punter is demanding the TAB pay him almost $200,000 for three successful multibets - revoked because the wagering giant changed the odds.

Andrew Mercaldi, a father of one from Melbourne's west, placed three wagers on a Major League Baseball match for a total outlay of $50, including a $20 bonus bet.

The odds were 2001-1 for the multibets on a Boston v Washington game on August 29, with a return of $184,892.30.

The bets, for more than 7.5 runs to be scored in the game and for Washington to win by more than 3.5 runs, came up.

Andrew Mercaldi has rejected Tabcorp’s claim that the odds were given in error. Picture: Wayne Taylor
Andrew Mercaldi has rejected Tabcorp’s claim that the odds were given in error. Picture: Wayne Taylor

"We were jumping around for joy," Mr Mercaldi, 34, said. "I've got a 10-month-old boy and we have another baby on the way. That money would really help.

"Our next baby is due in December and he has health problems, it could have meant I could take six months off work."

The biggest bet, which returned $120,000, was deposited into his TAB account that day, according to screenshots.

However, when he tried to transfer the money into his bank account, the payment was stopped.

And later that day his TAB account payouts were changed, with new odds giving him a $196 return for all three bets.

A screenshots from the account of Andrew Mercaldi.
A screenshots from the account of Andrew Mercaldi.

A letter from Tabcorp to Mr Mercaldi claimed that the inflated odds were a "technical error", which it argued it was allowed to change under its terms and conditions.

The wagering operator said in a statement to News Corp Australia that it was a "momentary pricing error".

"This resulted in the odds displayed for these bets being significantly greater than you would expect to see in the circumstances," the statement said.

"The extraordinary differential in prices was such that it would have been clearly obvious to punters that this was an error.

"Tabcorp is bound by confidentiality obligations that prevent us from discussing individuals' betting activity.

"But without referring to any customer in particular, we can confirm that all winning bets were paid out at the correct prices and the funds placed in those customers' accounts."

Mr Mercaldi said that he spoke to a Tabcorp call centre when his money was not delivered to his bank account.

"They said thanks for your patience we have solved the problem and the payment on the bet has been stopped," he said.

"They gave me new odds and said I could have $1000 in bonus bets, but I'm expecting my original payout."

He rejected Tabcorp's claim that the odds were given in error and is now considering legal action.

The Footscray man says the money would help his young family. Picture: Wayne Taylor
The Footscray man says the money would help his young family. Picture: Wayne Taylor

Multibet payouts have become a problem for wagering companies.

BetEasy is in a $1.4 million Supreme Court dispute over a payout to punter Renee Bell, with the company claiming that it had the right to cap payouts at $250,000.

It also launched a counter claim, alleging Ms Bell had allowed a third party to use her account and demanding she repay the $250,000 it paid out on her winning bets.

In 2017, maths whiz Jonathan Simon challenged the TAB over a $150,000 successful bet on Dustin Martin to win the Norm Smith medal and Billy Slater to win the NRL's Clive Churchill medal.

The company did not honour the bet, saying it had the same outcome in two different legs but in a separate order.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

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Originally published as 'Technical error': Angry punter fights for $180k multibet


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