Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

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DukeOfWybourne
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Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

Post by DukeOfWybourne » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:29 am

Hi,

First time poster. I’m someone who doesn’t bet very often, but I have a good record of winning.

Having not used my accounts for a little while, I recently logged in only to discover that several of my accounts had been suspended/blocked. When I contacted the respective online help chat of these bookies, I was told each time this was due to a self-exclusion I had made.

I have never self-excluded anywhere ever, and nor would I need to; I’m in control of my finances and do not have a gambling problem, only betting rarely, and modest amounts. Until I was told this I hadn’t even heard of self-exclusion!

One bookie said the self-exclusion was through Gam Stop and I needed to contact them (again, I hadn’t even heard of Gam Stop at this point) I provided Gam Stop with my ID docs, and eventually they emailed me back confirming I am not registered with them. This didn’t help my case with the bookie, who soon closed my account permanently following a review due to ‘responsible gaming’ (but reading between the lines of their email it’s because I’m an unprofitable customer for them) I asked several times why I was falsely told by them that I had made a self-exclusion via Gam Stop but didn’t get a straight answer.

Another bookie said the self-exclusion was through a casino website (I had never used) which is part of their same brand. The other bookies have just said there is a self-exclusion on my account (they haven’t been specific as to whether the self-exclusion is directly with them or through Gam Stop)

Another bookie, meanwhile, has restricted my account so the maximum I can wager is £1.

All of this is annoying enough, but I do not have money in the accounts. But now one bookie, which I was able to log into and use, has now suspended my account after I made a withdrawal request following a win – again, they claim this I due to a self-exclusion, saying it is on an account ‘linked to mine’. They didn’t have a problem accepting my bet! So my money is sitting in this suspended account.

I have provided ID/proof of address docs to the bookies who are claiming I have self-excluded, to prove that it wasn’t me (in case they are muddling up my account with another). I have also asked them to provide me with the email/chat transcript in which I apparently requested to be excluded (of course none have been able to)

I managed to reopen one account after answering questions on the phone, which was then promptly closed again after I won a bet. Again, they are now falsely and illogically claiming that I have made a permanent self-exclusion and that it is a ‘management decision’ (which sound like two different things to me!)

Either the bookies are accidentally mistaking my account with that of someone who actually has self-excluded (I have a very common name, and if they are searching by name and birthdate this is possible); or they are deliberately mistaking me with this other account (by not cross-referencing accounts thoroughly) or they are simply lying.

It really is quite bizarre. I am very surprised at this as I am small fry – my winnings are in the hundreds, not thousands.

I know bookies can legally restrict, suspend and close your account, but to lie and say this is because you have self-excluded when you haven’t raises serious ethical issues. It’s potentially misusing a scheme designed for problem gamblers to block winning punters who are unprofitable for them.

My question: have you heard of this happening to anyone else? Misuse of self-exclusion?

And in terms of getting my money and winnings from the bookie that suspended me upon attempting withdrawal, is the correct process Customer Serrvices> Escalations> CEO letter> IBAS> Small claims court? Is Resolver worth using? (sorry I’m a newbie when it comes to disputes with bookies!)

And as this is also potentially an ethical issue, would it be worth contacting the Gambling Commission?

Thanks a lot!

Jimmy Justice
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Re: Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

Post by Jimmy Justice » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:39 pm

Thank you for your post.

What you outline is very concerning. We've not heard of a case so widespread, but we have heard of individual cases with one compay where the said company were clearly claiming social responsibility issues when the person was a winning customer.

I have little confidence in both the Gambling Commission (0121 230 6666) or the Information Commissioner's Office (0303 123 1113) dealing with your experience appropriately, but I do think you should report to both.

In the case of the ICO it can certainly be argued that privacy laws have been breached, e.g. incorrect personal information is being circulated about you, which is a major privacy offence.

I would be interested to know how you get on.

Regards,

JJ

DukeOfWybourne
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Re: Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

Post by DukeOfWybourne » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:34 pm

Thanks a lot for your post.

I will try both of those avenues.

The fact that I am experiencing this across multiple bookies (not all belonging to the same brand) suggests that someone who shares my name (a very common one) and maybe birthdate, has indeed self-excluded himself, either via Gam Stop or directly with the bookmakers, but that the bookies in my case are deliberately confusing me with this customer in order to close my account as I am unprofitable for them (after all, I didn't have this issue before my wins) Or there has been coordination between bookies. However I don't understand why they wouldn't just close my account the regular way - saying it's a management/trader decision etc etc. It's very odd. I wonder if it might be worth contacting the media at some point too - as in the articles I have read about bookies closing the accounts of winning customers I haven't seen lying about self-exclusion ever mentioned.

My first priority, though, is to retrieve my £400 that is sitting in one of the suspended accounts. I am currently waiting for their 'Escalations' team to get back to me. If I have no joy there, I will then raise a dispute via Resolver and email the CEO. If I have no luck then, can I proceed directly to small claims? Ie - can I skip IBAS? By most accounts on here it can add months to the process and usually finds in favour of the bookie. But I read on the Citizens Advice Bureau website that a judge would normally expect you to have sought ADR - so would skipping the IBAS stage adversely affect my claim? Would it be enough that I had tried Resolver? I also read on the CAB website that "If you used alternative dispute resolution (ADR) the court will take the ADR scheme’s decision into account" - have people found this to be the case? Perhaps another reason to go directly to small claims and not bother with IBAS?

Many thanks!

Jimmy Justice
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Re: Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

Post by Jimmy Justice » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:04 am

You don't have to use IBAS, so you can go straight to the courts, but as you point out a judge may look on that poorly.

Your case is certainly a strange one. As an example bookmakers claim they can't match people using GamStop unless all personal details they have match with GamStop details, i.e. not just name and DOB. Of course this is nonsense, but they claim it regularly.

I suspect it is more likely that your e-device (s), ISPs, etc have been listed incorrectly on a service like Iovation as being assoicated with self exclusion, which then allows sharing of this data across companies who subscribe. This is very naughty and breaches privacy law. You can't spread inaccurate things and not be liable in some way. I'm told that there are so many codes on Iovation that data input errors do occur. Perhaps one company has used the self exclusion code instead of codes related to you being a danger to profits?

I may be wrong on both accounts, so please do keep us updated.

Regards,

JJ

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bluelionman
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Re: Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

Post by bluelionman » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:49 am

I can say I have posted about this in the past on JFP Twitter pages and in private messages to JFP but I gave up fighting said bookies.

Many years ago I was a problem gambler as I chased losses and got depressed but I never once ever self excluded. I like to gamble just have trouble keeping my self grounded... what's funny (not for me it's not) but is that my losses and betting patterns where never once questioned back then - not even how I could afford such. I only earned back then about 18-20K a year as a postal worker so a bet like this should really be flagged:

Oh seems you cant up load pictures here - but basically it was a £6,150 bet on Super Bowl 49 which lost.

That was in early 2015.

I took a break for a year or two - just stopped after that day logging in to all accounts as I knew I'd be tempted.

When I returned I found many accounts had been charged inactive account fees - that's another story but think that's unethical to.

However since I came back I have been far more studious, bet for value have watched numerous pro punters You Tube interviews and followed the same 2 tipsters for GG's. I bet on only sports I watch and like and to a set staking level. I used free bets on long term markets and after a year of doing this and turning well showing plus balances in some of my sports books and others like the one above I lost that massive chunk at they started to restrict me first kicked out of loyalty schemes (no free bets) then no longer allowed money back promotions and or BOG but what shocked me more was when I didn't take the hint some of my accounts got closed - I was no longer able to login and when I contacted said bookies I was told I had self excluded when I most certainly had not.

Betway and Bet Victor both did this to me.

I took um-bridge with this and complained and complained said they could ban me close me but don't tell me I've self excluded when I have not but all was to no avail the GC said it was out of there remit and the bookies was insistant I must have done it as they couldn't just apply it but they damn well did. BetVictor said its for 6 years - why so long I've no clue and Betway said 6 months but after a year and a half I tried to reopen my Betway account but despite answering all there questions and doing a phone interview at the conclusion of which I was told I'd get a decision by e-mail and surprise surprise a month later I am still waiting for said decision.

So in answer to your question I do think unscrupulous bookies are using this facility to get rid of unwanted unprofitable accounts and with very little comeback or redress for affected bettors.
Last edited by bluelionman on Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Go Lions!

Jimmy Justice
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Re: Closures due to false claims of self-exclusion

Post by Jimmy Justice » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:32 am

Wow, this is a powerful comment on the modern gambling industry - thank you.

If you would allow me I would like to write a website blog using your experience as explained here as a main feature. I would never do this without your permission, so could you email me (info@justiceforpunters.org) to discuss.

Thanks in anticipation.

Very, very important - stay safe. We all have losing runs, so please guard against your old betting patterns coming back - they WILL take your money if this happens.

JJ

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