A KEEN gambler jumped for joy when she won £150 - only to find the bookies would not pay out.
Karen Smith, 31, was ecstatic when she checked the result of the Irish Lottery last Wednesday night and saw she had the three winning numbers.
But her joy soon turned to dismay the very next morning when she walked into Coral, in Sydenham Road, Hartlepool, and was told she could not collect the £150.
Karen’s partner Gary Charlton, 30, put the £1.50 bet on at 8.13pm on Wednesday when the draw had already been made three minutes earlier.
Bookmakers said her bet was void when she went to pick up her winnings.
But Karen was left fuming because staff had accepted the bet.
She said the results of the Lottery do not go online until 9.15pm at the earliest so there was no chance she could have cheated.
And her winning numbers of 11, 17 and 26 are the three she puts on the Irish Lottery every week.
“I couldn’t believe it when they told me they weren’t going to pay out,” said Karen, who lives in Kent Avenue, Hartlepool, with Gary.
“They said that the girl who served me was a trainee and she wasn’t trained to take Irish Lottery bets, but that’s not my problem.
“If we have the winning numbers, we should get the money.”
Karen and Gary are both regulars in the bookies, sometimes betting up to £50 at a time on Roulette machines or one-arm bandits.
They put the Irish Lottery on three times a week and jobless Gary also enjoys a flutter on the football fixtures.
Karen, who is currently unemployed, added: “We have bet hundreds of pounds in Coral over the years only to find they won’t pay out when we go in with a winning ticket.
“The manageress of the shop was very friendly and did everything she could to help, but the customer services just kept telling me we couldn’t claim the money because the bet was late.
“What if we had put £500 on and went in to pick up £5,000?
“Would it have been different then?”
A spokesman for Coral told the Mail: “I apologise for the mistake, the bet should not have been taken.
“But once we become aware that a bet was taken after the draw had been made I’m afraid voiding the bet is our only course of action.”
Karen will get her £1.50 stake back if she takes her betting slip back to the shop.
But if she wants to take it further she has to contact the International Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS).