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Alberta woman accuses Play Alberta of playing games with her late stepdad’s money

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Calgary woman accuses Play Alberta of playing with her stepdad’s money
A Calgary woman believes online gambling site Play Alberta played with her feelings for months before paying out her late stepdad’s account. Tomasia DaSilva reports.

A Calgary woman is accusing Alberta’s only regulated online gambling site of playing games with her late stepfather’s money, before finally paying out his account.

Samantha Craig reached out to Global News after trying unsuccessfully for months to get Play Alberta to pay out Brian Winter’s estate the money he had left in his account — $219.

“How they dealt with it was surprising to me,” she said.

Craig started dealing with her stepdad’s estate and the gambling site in August, a month after he passed away. Winter was a former Calgary Airport White Hat Volunteer and a retired business instructor at SAIT and Craig said he was a “financial guy” who had everything in order.

“We’ve been through the process of selling his house and clearing probate to sell his house. We sold his vehicles and we’ve consolidated all of his bank accounts into an estate account. This was the last piece of the puzzle,” she said.

But that puzzle continued to be unfinished until the middle of this month.

“There was no communication from them. I think I received one phone call in the five months I dealt with it — and it was to tell me once again that there was no update.”

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Global News reached out to Play Alberta. A spokesperson told us they cannot comment on specific situations or accounts, but they understand Craig’s frustration.

“AGLC and Play Alberta make every effort to protect the accounts of its players. In order to release funds to a player’s estate, certain legal documentation is required.

“While recognizing this is a difficult time for those involved, it remains important to ensure this process is in place in order to protect these accounts and the funds in them,” the statement read.

Again, Craig said she supplied all of the necessary documents, several times, but it wasn’t enough until she threatened a lawsuit or to go to the media with her story.

She also showed Global News emails from a manager at Play Alberta which stated her request had; “Regretfully been sitting with two departments for some months.”

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Craig has since received an apology and some money. However, Play Alberta did not credit Winter’s estate the $219 — it only paid out $77 and change.

“The remaining funds were bonus plays that he had won and those were not redeemable,” Craig said she was told.

Play Alberta has told us it has wagering requirements for different types of bonuses, and those wagering requirements have to be met to cash out any credits earned. If they were not met, the original deposit would remain in their account — something Craig said has to be changed, especially in the case of death.

“I think if he’s won it fair and square then we should be able to cash it all out in the name of the estate.”

In response, a spokesperson for Play Alberta told Global News on Wednesday it is working with a third-party vendor to improve the process of rectifying a deceased player’s account, and that it is updating its terms and conditions “to establish clear rules in the event of a player’s death and what’s required for the estate to close out and deactivate the account.”

The spokesperson also clarified that bonuses will be eligible for withdrawal if certain conditions are met, and that “those viewing the account will be able to differentiate between what’s eligible for cash withdrawal and what’s still remaining for bonuses.”

As for the months-long fight for less than $100, the young mom said while it took a lot of time and work, she would do it again.

“Some people say, ‘Oh $77, why would you chase them for $77?’ But he was a financial guy and I know he wouldn’t be very happy with me if I let the government keep $77. It’s the principle of it.”

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