Punters have had real success using this route, especially for unpaid winnings.
Understandably most people are terrified of court, as they’ve never been in one or they have a perception that going to court is very, very expensive. The small claims court is an attempt to keep costs down and it is possible to win a claim for a small cost.
Bookmakers do not like the small claims court as they know quite a few of their terms and conditions are unfair and certainly some of their practices are unfair, so they tend to push their customers (punters) as far as possible down the legal line and then pay up just before the case comes to court, i.e. they attempt to bully customers (punters) and then run away at the last minute, if the person stands up to them.
Citizens Advice has an excellent webpage that comprehensively tells the reader about the small claims system, which hopefully will give punters confidence to tell a bookmaker they intend to take this option. This is the link (click here).
Please do remember that you must try and settle a claim before taking court action. If you do not try to settle first, the court may penalise you. So, you must try to settle your dispute with the bookmaker first and only use the court if you cannot get the problem solved by negotiation. This does not have to include, the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system set up by the UK Gambling Commission, but if you do use this system and lose, it does not preclude you from using the small claims court. In fact there is plenty of evidence that punters who lose at the ADR stage win in court or are paid out before their dispute gets to court.
If your initial negotiations fail, the court will expect you to make your claim in writing, giving the other person a reasonable time to reply; usually a month. You should also warn the bookmaker that you will take court action if they fail to reply within the given time.
If you do get to this stage in your dispute, please do get help from Citizens Advice (click here) and best of luck. The following webpage from MoneySavingExpert.com also provides good advice (click here).