In the past I have worked as a paper boy, taxi driver and racing journalist. However the only “proper” jobs I have ever had is in the online gaming industry. Hand on heart I can easily say that I truly love and cherish this industry. I have absolutely no clue what I would do for a living if this industry would not have existed. Even so, it is impossible for me to deny the sorry state of the industry. I am appalled by how poorly the customers are protected. Regulation is often lax or inefficient, and I think that in many cases the betting companies get away with the equivalent of murder.
Furthermore there are numerous examples of betting companies going under, taking with them their customer’s funds. Even if most regulators/gaming boards demands that the betting companies ring fence the customer’s funds there unfortunately seems to be ways around this for the operators.
Most of the websites dedicated to conflict resolution are in my opinion incompetent and ineffectual. Our best advice is to bet exclusively with reputable operators, as it can be exceptionally difficult to get justice if you have been mistreated by a betting company.
The operators need rules to cover all eventualities. As an example all bookmakers I know of clearly stipulate in their terms and conditions that if they make an obvious mistake with their prices, like a palpable error and as an example launch odds 19 or 2.9, instead of 1.9, they have the right to cancel any bets made at the incorrect price. It should be obvious that the bookmakers need such rules to protect themselves from being taken advantage of by their customers. However most betting companies in my opinion overdo it, after all the betting company will in by far the most cases, be the professional party, facing a recreational punter. In most industries the professional party will be burdened with most of the responsibilities and the non-professional party will be somewhat protected. In online gaming however the reverse seems to be case. I will go as far as stating that I think parts of several operator’s terms and conditions are so one-sided that I am not sure that all of their terms and conditions would hold up in court if a player would sue such a company.
Even somewhat reputable operators are in my opinion exceedingly creative with their terms and conditions, bet365 as an example were sued by Megan McCann for about 1 million GBP in unpaid winnings. In June 2016 when McCann was 19 years old, she wagered almost 25 000 GBP on 12 horses running in races at Bath, Kempton Park and Naas. The bets, a combined total of 960 £13 each-way Lucky 15s were accepted by bet365. The payout for the mostly successful bets amounted to 984 833 GBP. bet365 claimed that the stake had been provided by a 3rd party in contravention of their rules and refused to pay. This was likely confirmed as bet365 applied for, and obtained, a court order for the disclosure of information regarding the details of Megan McCann’s Skrill account.
The case was likely settled out of court as the case was withdrawn by McCann lawyers shortly before a full hearing, scheduled for Friday June 14th 2019, was supposed to take place.
Even if some punters will be relieved if in fact some of the winnings were paid, others will likely be frustrated that it did not reach a full hearing and that the legality of the terms and conditions of one of the world’s largest betting companies were not tested.
McCann had alleged that Bet365 and other leading online bookmakers habitually engage in “unconscionable practices” when dealing with their customers, and that they actively discriminate against shrewd punters who are able to make their betting pay.
I find it hard to disagree with those allegations and I know for a fact that most successful bettors are unable to keep betting with most bookmakers as their accounts have either been closed or their wager sizes restricted to laughable amounts, often less than one Euro.
It is important to note that bet365 is far from the only betting company with terms and conditions that maybe deserves to be challenged in court. This is however a costly exercise and as a punter is not guaranteed to obtain any result other than a massive legal bill, by far the most cases involving dubious behavior by a betting company will not end in court. In a way it is like David fighting Goliath. The betting companies have deep pockets and they often have multiple lawyers working for them. This means that the customer always runs the risk of an operator behaving like a bully, without the customer being able to do much about it, unless he is willing to risk a substantial amount of money by actually going to court. In some cases it can seem like the bookmakers are speculating in this, assuming that the customer will be angry but in the end unable to actually do much about the situation.
As most of the websites dedicated to conflict resolution, in my estimation, are either unable or unwilling to properly help the customers, the only viable avenues open for a badly treated punter is often to either accept his faith or run the substantial monetary risk of taking legal action.
I have pointed out that in my opinion many operators overdo it, when they make their terms and conditions to protect themselves from being exploited by their customers. A second issue is how they interpret their rules. It is fine that the companies retain the right to cancel wagers made at obviously incorrect prices. What an obvious mistake amounts to though, is open to interpretation. I think the bar for what is an obviously incorrect price should be very high, particularly if the match has already been played and the result is known. I have seen many examples of bets being cancelled after the result is known and the customer has won, when a palpable error is not possible and it is far from obvious that the wager was placed at an incorrect price.
The problem is made worse by the fact that most of the resources on the web dedicated to helping bettors are partnering with the betting companies, working as affiliates earning revenue. This makes many such websites unwilling to report accurately regarding the behavior of some operators.
Even though we stand to earn revenue acting as an affiliate for the few betting companies we are actually able to, in good conscious, recommend, we will always be impartial and candid when expressing our opinions. We are not the least bit afraid to jeopardize any relationship we may have with any betting company by telling the truth. We trust that you will be able to spot that the information we provide regarding any betting company, both good and bad, is the situation as we see it.
Many betting companies have terrific looking products and offerings, even so it is of the utmost importance to take great care to understand how an operator behaves and what risks you are likely to encounter before you actually go ahead and make a deposit. I think that the very best recommendations regarding which operators to use or not to use, can be found right her on this website. Even so, my advice is not to take our word for it when it comes to which operators are the best. I think that the best thing to do is to check with several websites which in your opinion seems to offer unbiased advice and to also do an in depth Google search, before you make an account with any betting company.
We would like to know if you feel you have been taken advantage of by a betting company or not adequately helped by a conflict resolution service. Please make a comment below or send us a mail at [email protected] highlighting what happened.