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Bookmaking practice: The real truth in writing as evidence

This is a little long, but if you are a journalist or a regulator stay with it as it tells you the truth about modern off-course bookmaking practice; everything about it is truly disgusting: Customer service (none, except to copy and paste text); more ‘fun’ punter restrictions; but we still want to bankrupt customers on games that you can’t win at.

You can feel the frustration and anger in this customer’s (punter’s) writing.

Yes to you, the UK Gambling Commission it is true and on file, but, of course, you seem to think it is all fine.  Are you really ‘fit for purpose’?

The four screen grabs provided to us are not the best quality, so we’ll explain them.  Please feel free to copy them from the webpage, so you can make them bigger to check everything, as there is nothing to hide.

Attempted bet:

SM

This is an attempt to place a bet on a horse at 4-1 with a stake of £15.00, so a potential massive loss to this bookmaker of £60.00.

Bet refused:

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The light yellow box (far left) contains a red X refusing the bet.  The bookmaker won’t even offer a smaller bet; say £3.00.

All transactions on the account (proving it is a ‘fun’ punter):

SM-3

SM-4

The largest bet on the account was £30.00, which lost.  The account was effectively closed for sports bets after 13 bets of which only three won, meaning the account was in deficit.  What ability had this punter shown to get closed down on sports betting?  Simple, 50% of the horses he backed had a price lower when the race was run than the price he took when placing the bets.  We have to assume this was pure coincidence, because if you had inside information leading to professional gambles would you put £10 and £20.00 bets on? Of course not, but whatever, these days it stills means a customer maybe treated like a criminal, without explanation by modern off-course bookmakers.  Not only do modern bookmakers not like winners, they don’t even like customers (punters) who they think might win.

Customer service at its best (but it does put in writing disgusting practices):

Customer text (all in black)

I’m losing with you, but you have refused a bet of £15 at 5-1. Ten minutes later the price was still available. I would suggest this is breaking advertising standards laws as you are lying. The price is not available or surely a small punter like me would get that price. If £15 at 5-1 is a danger to your profits and the business may I suggest you close down and put everyone out of their misery. I look forward to your reply with great interesting, hoping it is not just copied and pasted from some standard text.

 

*********** Support Today at 10:19

Many thanks for contacting Customer Support.

Firstly, thank you for the feedback provided. All feedback whether positive or negative, can really assist us in improving our offering for all of our valued clients.

Having checked your recent attempts, it appears that the bets are being rejected by automatic risk controls that have been put in place by our Trading Department. We are sorry; however, on review of your details, it would appear very unlikely that any bet restrictions will be lifted.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you.

Kind regards,

Your *********** Support Team

 

When I’m losing and when I bet in small amounts, please can you explain why? I thought bookmakers were there to take bets from ‘fun’ punters and ban professional punters and those with a gambling problem, i.e. thankfully not me. I look forward to a DETAILED reply.

 

Hi Thank you for your response.

We understand why you’re upset and as much as we want to explain things further, the Trading Department do not provide us with exact details on the parameters they use to carry out these checks so unfortunately we cannot offer you any further explanation.

Whilst we understand your position, this is a comprehensive and robust process and it is highly unlikely that any account parameters would be reversed.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us anytime.

Kind regards,

Your *********** Support Team

 

Hi I specifically asked you not to copy and paste standard replies, but you obviously don’t have a customer service ethos that cares one bit.

Despite your T&Cs that will no doubt say I have no rights whatsoever and you can do whatever you want, may I suggest you consider the following before sending another copied and pasted response:

  1. New consumer laws in the UK came into effect on October 1st and I doubt you can now openly discriminate between customers on the basis that you refuse to tell people why they are treated like ‘dirt’.
  2. I would assume that the latest EU Directive on alternative dispute resolution does not allow the same consumer abuse without redress to an arbitrator that is not in the pocket of the gambling industry, i.e. IBAS?
  3. That advertising prices on 3rd party sites that are plainly not available to all, i.e. blatant discrimination, contravenes the advertising code in the UK.

I give you one last chance to reinstate my account or fully explain the reason for the restrictions before proceeding with all these matters and if need be through the courts.

On the cost front, it is not rocket science, as I am no danger to your profits whatsoever, whereas just answering the correspondence from all the regulators will cost you more.

I leave it with you.

Sincerely.

 

Thank you for the response.

Whilst we understand your position, we can only advise you as per our Terms and Conditions, whereby, ‘We reserve the right to refuse or limit any Bet(s) at our sole discretion for any reason whatsoever. We reserve the right at our discretion to decline an offer by you to place a bet.’

Any restrictions in place are done so in line with our terms of use, whereby we reserve the right to refuse the whole or part of any bet submitted.

With that said, please know that your account’s restriction only applies in Sportsbook. Hence, you can still participate in other platforms that are available on the website like Games, Casino and Lotteries which also have promotions that you can avail.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you.

Kind regards,

Your *********** Support Team

 

Hi

Yet again, mainly copied and pasted.

The best bit though, is that I can have a bet with you on something it is impossible to win at in the medium term, but I can’t have a bet on sports where there is around a 0.4% chance I might win in the medium term. You have therefore answered the question I wanted in an indirect way; namely:

“We only do business with losers, because we are not bookmakers in the true definition of the word; that licence is a front for our gaming activities where we are certain to make a profit. Losing customers are the only type of client we allow to gamble with us (for proof of this, please note how we interpret our terms and conditions – as confirmed in your case), i.e. they are there to ensure we close all accounts where there is any chance of a loss, i.e. unfair.

Anyway, I’ve wasted enough of my time and yours, but I do have the written correspondence for the regulators and a lawyer if need be.

I can’t say its been a pleasure doing business with you and to be honest I knew this would happen, as I already know that *********** and your owners *********** do not do medium term business with anyone who takes a good BOG price and bets in singles on horses I just wanted to prove it for myself and have the written evidence.

I think that’s called a success and it ain’t cost me much.

Bye for now.

Oh, just forgot one thing. Will you please stop putting ‘Solved’ next to this ticket. As far as I’m concerned it is not ‘Solved’ and probably never will be, so please put it in your statistics as ‘Open’ or ‘Not solved’, whatever term you use.

 

Many thanks for your response.

We operate an automatic bet acceptance process through a series of internal risk management processes which have been developed around our pricing and product offering. This practice is a common risk management strategy within our industry and forms an important part of our business.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you.

Kind regards,

Your *********** Support Team

 

I think we should call it a day and just accept that your automatic bet acceptance process using a series of internal risk management processes for your pricing and product offering is a joke. You say it is robust. I say, alongside your terms and conditions, it is corrupt, and allows you to trade only with people who are likely to lose lots of money. Sadly, I also recognise that you are allowed to do this because the licensing procedures for bookmakers in the UK are also a joke. One day, it will all ‘blow-up in your faces’ and your companies will be made to operate as traditional bookmakers or refused a licence. Now I’d lay you £15 at 1-3,just for the pleasure of losing when you are forced to change your truly disgusting practices. Never mind, no doubt someone who has lost their house gambling with you in the casino will never be aware of these robust risk procedures. The changes can’t happen quick enough.

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