It is very difficult to prove if anything in the processes used by bookmakers concerning ‘identity’ and the punter is illegal or not, but there is certainly plenty happening to punters that is distinctly dubious and immoral.
A major aspect of identity abuse is already mentioned in the ‘Unfair Terms and Conditions’ section (see: https://justiceforpunters.org/unfair-terms-and-conditions/ heading ‘Abuse of verification processes’) about proof of identity.
Nobody would dispute that there is a need for a process that robustly checks who the person is when they register with a bookmaker, but once again some bookmakers are using this process unfairly (that’s polite), e.g. demanding passport photo ‘selfies’, even documents signed by a lawyer, when people try to withdraw their money or obtain free bets offered to them. We have examples on file where people are continually asked to send scans of passports, utility bills, again and again, because companies claim they can’t read them or the spacing around the scan dictated by the company is millimeters out. These are obviously delaying tactics at best and at worst simply stopping people getting access to their own money (theft). Why would you pay a lawyer £100.00 to sign a passport ‘selfie’ when you are trying to withdraw £60.00. It is simply ridiculous that regulators let companies get away with this type of behaviour, but they do.
There are also major concerns about how bookmakers ‘spy’ on their customers (punters) to build an ‘identity’.
Partially due to campaigning by some of this website’s developers, there is an Information Commissioner’s Office review (see: https://justiceforpunters.org/information-commissioners-office/) proceeding on the use of a product called ‘iesnare’ (see: ‘iesnare’ (‘ReputationManager’): Find, delete, stop re-infection or https://justiceforpunters.org/what-is-iesnare-and-how-to-find-it/). This is only one aspect of ‘spying’ on punters though, albeit a major one.
Both bookmakers and their affiliates use masses of tracking software to build ‘group’ identities of their customers behaviour. This is certainly legal unless a bookmaker also uses software (which is commercially available) to identify an individual’s internet activity from grouped data provided by, as an example, Google Analytics.
If you wish to stop all this tracking you can. Not only will it stop bookmakers and their affiliates knowing more about their customers as a group it will also speed up your internet browsing immensely. Every tracker, of which the bookmakers use tens between them, slows down your internet browsing. Some companies use as many as 50 trackers at one time. We recommmend you download a product called ‘Ghostery’. It is free and by using it you can easily see who is tracking you and block them. It can be downloaded from here: (Ghostery).
If you wish to complain about how companies are checking who you actually are we suggest either the UK Gambling Commission (click here) or Citizens Advice (click here). If it is about ‘iesnare’ or other forms of internet tracking we recommend the Information Commissioner’s Office (click here).
Identity abuse does not just happen to punters online. It happens in bookmakers’ shops also. If you are asked for id in a shop, e.g. a copy of your passport, driving licence, whatever; to withdraw money or place a bet and you are obviously over 18 years of age, make sure you ask why and ask for written confirmation as to how this information will be stored and how it will be used. If they refuse and you do provide this id evidence, complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (click here) and the bookmaker will certainly be asked to justify their actions and to fulfill the Data Protection Act, which many are not doing at present in their shops. Failure to fulfill the Act will lead to a fine.
There are a small number of cases on record where a bookmaker’s shop has posted a picture of winning punters on a wall or a company has used CCTV images to circulate pictures of winning punters to shop staff nationally (we are not talking about people who have committed criminal offenses here). If you have evidence of this happening without your permission, you should report it to the police, as it is illegal.