A retired lawyer in Kelowna is suing an offshore gambling website over allegations that he was stiffed on a jackpot worth nearly $300,000.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Victor Janicki claims he was playing cards on Panama-based BetOnline.ag on Feb. 23, 2023. The site used virtual card dealer supplier Visionary iGaming, which is based in Costa Rica.
Janicki said he paid a one dollar entry fee in an attempt to win the 3 Diamond 7s Jackpot, a blackjack side bet that awards a jackpot if a bettor is dealt three diamond sevens on their first three cards.
Janicki’s lawsuit claims that is exactly what happened, and he was awarded the jackpot online by supervisor “Mango 7” employed by Visionary iGaming.
After receiving instructions through a text box online on how to collect his winnings of USD$220,550, Janicki claims BetOnline has refused to honour the award.
“Defendant BetOnline denies that Mango 7 was an employee of Visionary iGaming and that she was a supervisor who witnessed and awarded the plaintiff with his said jackpot win,” the notice of civil claim says.
Janicki’s lawsuit alleges BetOnline supplied him with a fabricated online video of the hand he won his jackpot on, depicting a “completely different hand of cards which were never dealt to the plaintiff at any time.”
“The plaintiff states that defendants BetOnline and Visionary iGaming conspired together to concoct fake [blackjack game video] for the purpose of cheating the plaintiff out of his jackpot win,” the claim alleges.
The lawsuit captured the attention of the Las Vegas Review Journal, where the state of Nevada’s regulators are urging the U.S. government to crack down on offshore casinos.
The version of events Janicki told the Las Vegas Review Journal differs from his legal filing somewhat. He told the paper he was dealt two 7s of diamonds and was told by casino staff he was eligible for the jackpot.
He told the paper his screen then went black for about 10 seconds, and when the table returned to his screen, he was being congratulated for winning.
Janicki told the newspaper he’s hired a law firm in Costa Rica to serve the lawsuit to the online casino's headquarters.
Canadian law gives foreign defendants 49 days to respond to a civil lawsuit, and after that, a judge can enter a default judgment. That is what Janicki is hoping for, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, which reported that there have been no publicly-known incidents where a person successfully sued and fully collected from an offshore casino.
None of the allegations in Janicki’s lawsuit have been argued in court.
Offshore online gambling in B.C. currently operates in a legal grey area. Players are encouraged to use the BC Lottery Commission’s PlayNow.com site, but it is not illegal to play at online casinos outside of Canada.