Latest Cases - September 2014

What we hear on the Grapevine...

4th September 2014

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • The Judge is back at his desk….

  • Ladbrokes – spinning the roulette wheel?

  • Winner fail to deliver on promise ….

  • Wealth warnings…. 

The Judge is back at his desk….

After an unforeseen two-week hiatus I can happily report that I am this morning back at my desk….

…. and I’m raring to get back to the business of policing the betting industry beat and ensuring a fair shake for sports-betting punters.

I’m gently easing myself back into the saddle and picking up the threads. And the immediate task at hand is to thin the old and recently-neglected email box which is bursting at the seams. The world spins whether you happen to be watching it or not.

Ladbrokes – spinning the roulette wheel?

PH writes in to tell us that Ladbrokes have applied an ‘inactivity fee’ to his betting account – an ongoing charge that will be collected going forward on the 1st of each month (for as long as his account remains inactive and shows a positive balance).

It appears PH has not placed a bet with his Ladbrokes account for a while. Apparently this won’t do. Now he must pay the price.

The ‘inactivity fee’ amounts to £2.00 per month or 5% of the account balance on the date at which his account became inactive (whichever sum is greater).

To put a stop to the fees the punter must resume betting, withdraw his balance, donate the money to the Ladbrokes in the Community Charitable Trust (which apparently donates funds to good causes throughout Great Britain) or close the account altogether.

Fair enough. It maybe doesn’t seem like a big deal….

  • But what if I’m on a World cruise with the wife – enjoying a second honeymoon and not giving any thought to betting matters or reading emails?

  • What if I’m lying comatose in some hospital bed?

  • What if my Ladbrokes account has genuinely slipped my mind for the time being and, on top of that, I’ve recently changed my email address and inadvertently forgotten to update my personal details with Ladbrokes(because, for the moment, that account has slipped my mind)? I’m never even going to see the Ladbrokes email – am I?

In all the above scenarios my betting balance – some if not all of it – is going to fall into Ladbroke’s grasping hands.

You’ve got to hand it to the ‘Magic Sign’. A punter forgets or chooses not to place a bet for a while, or he forgets about his account altogether, and the bookmaker still manages to construct a wheeze (a dirty trick) that gives him a fighting chance of getting his hands on some or all of the punter’s hard won betting balance.

And let’s face it this is a spin of the roulette wheel for the bookie. Most times it’s not going to pay off or will just pay off small. But now and again they will get to take down a nice score. That 5% of the balance on the date your account becomes inactive could translate into a substantial touch under the right circumstances.

If our friend in the coma has a balance of £5000.00 in his Ladbrokes account, and he doesn’t come to his senses pretty soon, then his enforced inactivity is going to come at quite a price isn’t it?

Winner fail to deliver on promise….

Dirty tricks come in myriad shapes and forms. And if you spend enough time associating with bookmakers it is long odds-on that you will eventually fall victim to variations of them all. 

SP recently got in touch to share his heart-warming experiences with bookmaker Winner – the bookmaker that states the following on its website:‘We can sum up our mission in two words – ‘creating winners’…. We respect our relationships with our customers…. The player constantly remains our top priority.’

At the time the firm was advertising a promotion – open a new account, bet £10.00 and they would match that first £10.00 bet with a free bet to the same value.

Nothing complex there. Right? It’s a run-of-the-mill new account offer – it should be really straightforward. But Winner (who should maybe think long and hard about rebranding themselves Loser) nevertheless managed to rework the whole deal into a gilt-edged shafting exercise.

SP took up the offer, opened an account, deposited £10.00 and bet the £10.00. His bet lost.

Having met the commitments the deal demanded of him SP then tried to take advantage of the free matched bet – the bit of the deal Winner had committed to. But the bookie couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver.

Every time SP tried to place the free £10.00 bet he found he was restricted to a stake of £1.00 or £2.00. And had he accepted a bet at the reduced stake then he would have been waving goodbye to the balance of the £10.00 free bet he’d been promised.

Isn’t that a great way to make a first impression and position yourself as a credible option in the market?! Isn’t that a fine example of how to respect customers and make them your first priority?! Take the punter’s £10.00 and then rewrite the rules as you go so that you don’t have to deliver on your promise. Nice ethics, Winner.

Of course, our man went straight to Live Chat where some desk-bound graduate with a degree in Coronation Street Studies fed him the industry standard buck-passing cliché that so often serves as the final word on these kinds of matters: the restrictions were the result of a ‘trading decision’.

All we can say is that Winner must have a pretty spineless trading policy in place if a punter who places a single losing £10.00 bet finds himself restricted to the point he can only get on to the tune of £2.00.

Wealth warnings….

The PV readership is a fertile source of industry intelligence….

  • BH writes in to tell us he paid Winners Galore £100 for 3 months of ‘genuine’ inside stable information. At the time of BH’s report he’d been given one winner from 7 bets – the winner going in at 5/4. Sounds to us like the stable lad’s been on the cider. The Judge says: No results posted on the service website. No free trial either – a one week test of the tips will set you back £15. But the service does proof to Bet Kudos. Check out results for 2014 here.

  • ‘3 Unique Selection Methods Combine to Produce £13,638 Profit Betting To Level Stakes since January 2014!’ That’s what ‘Billy’ claims at the Jolly Punters service website. We wouldn’t know – we haven’t yet put him to the test. But PV reader MJ has. Back on July 20th he paid for 3 system-based tipping services produced by Jolly Punters (Back, Lay & Place). Just one problem – he hasn’t received a single tip since – despite repeated and unanswered emails. ‘Disgraceful’, says MJThe Judge says: I concur. Sounds to me like a refund is outstanding.

  • DK gets in touch to remind us never to take bookmaker advertisements at face value. DK was one of the punters who went to the Advertising Standards Authority to claim that Betfair advertisements were misleading. In its Wimbledon 2014 adverts Betfair said: ‘2014 Wimbledon first bet only money back if Murray wins’. But punters didn’t get money back. They got a free bet credited to their accounts instead. Not quite the same thing. The ASA upheld complaints from punters. The Judge says: Always be sure to read the small print. Where bookies are concerned the devil is always in the detail.

If you have news, insight, analysis or intelligence you’d like to share with our readership then be sure to get in touch.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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