Welcome to the Secret Betting Club’s Better Betting Campaign – our quest to help fight back against unfair bookmaking on 3 key issues:
Issue 1: Bookmaker Restrictions & Closures
We are calling on the Department for Culture, Media & Sport to investigate the issue of bookmaker restrictions and closures in the UK. Additionally, we calling on it to review the implementation of a ‘New South Wales’ minimum bet model for UK racing.
Issue 2: Hidden Bookmaker Tracking Software
We are seeking to raise awareness about the bookmaker tracking software ‘IESnare’ (AKA Iovation/Reputation Manager), the serious question marks being posed over its usage and how you can remove it from your computer.
Issue 3: Disputed Payouts and Delayed Withdrawals.
We are also seeking to highlight the increase in bet disputes and withdrawal delays and are calling for an improvement in regulation on these issues by the UK Gambling Commission and IBAS.
Through this campaign you will:
- Discover the truth about bookmaker restrictions/closures and how you can demand action is taken by the UK Government;
- Learn how to remove hidden bookmaker tracking software & fight back against its widespread use;
- Understand how to both prevent and tackle disputed bookmaker payouts and withdrawals;
- Find resources and follow expert advice to help you become a better, smarter bettor;
- Keep up to date with all the latest developments and news surrounding the issues facing punters
Not only are we raising awareness, we are also helping highlight solutions for you to use such as:
- Expert advice from several professional gamblers on just how they get their bets on and how you can too. Bookmaker restrictions need not stop you betting.
- The browsers and tools you need to use to prevent bookmaker tracking of your online activity;
- The bookmaking industry experts who are on hand to help you settle bet & withdrawal disputes;
- The well connected expert able to liaise with commission agents and bookmakers to help you find a genuine solution to get your bets on.
Download Our Expert ‘Getting On’ Report…
We are inviting everyone impacted by these issues to download our FREE ‘Getting On’ Report – which is dedicated to helping you understand some of the key issues at stake.
Inside this free report you can read about:
- The truth about bookmaker restrictions & closures: Read the results from our recent survey on the depth of this issue including the best and worst bookmakers for limiting punters and its impact on the sports you bet upon.
- The bookmaker ‘profiling’ software ‘Iovation’ AKA ‘IESnare’, what it is, why it impacts you and how you can remove it from your computer.
- Our interview with the Chairman of the Horseracing Bettors Forum, Simon Rowlands on his organisations own battle in tacking these issues.
- How you can demand action – insight from a Westminster parliamentary agent on how you can write to your MP and ask for action to be taken by the powers that be.
- Guidance from expert punters on the tactics they use to enable them to get their bets on despite restrictions and closures.
- An interview with the fairer betting campaigner, Paul Fairhead – an expert on helping resolve genuine bet disputes with bookmakers on behalf of punters.
Issue 1: Bookmaker Restrictions & Closures
Far and away the biggest issue impacting many punters these days is that of bookmakers restricting their stakes or closing their betting accounts altogether.
The restriction & closure of betting accounts happens for just one reason: Many bookmakers only want customers who lose money betting.
This is because ‘winning punters’ only lose bookmakers money and therefore if you fall into this category, they will either limit your stakes or close you down altogether.
There are 2 things you can do to tackle this issue:
Educate Yourself – Adapt Your Behaviour
Until change happens and bookmakers are forced to take bets from all punters, it is important that we wise up and take them on at their own game.
So whilst restrictions and closures are a modern day betting reality, there are many things you can do to both in terms of prevention and cure – all of which we outline in our special ‘Getting On’ Report including:
- The simple tactics several professional punters use to avoid restrictions & closures;
- How to pretend to be a ‘betting mug’ and fool the bookie until thinking you don’t know what you are doing;
- The sports and markets you should bet on where restrictions/closures won’t apply;
- The bookmakers, exchanges & brokers to use that encourage winning punters;
- Plus much, much more besides – we have a ton of useful info to share!
The key point to reiterate here is that if you love betting – you needn’t let bookmaker greed stop you from doing what you love. We can help you beat the bookmaker in more ways than one!
Demand Change – Write To Your MP!
In our recent survey on bookmaker limitations we discovered that 3595 (55.68%) of bookmaker accounts had either been heavily restricted or closed. Just 1921 (29.22%) of all betting accounts had experienced no restrictions whatsoever – less than 3 in 10 of all surveyed.
That means more than 7 out of every 10 betting accounts are being restricted in some way – and our findings indicate ALL bookmakers are up to it.
This alongside the increased number of complaints about this issue by punters everywhere have made it clearer than ever that bookmaker restrictions & closures are out of control.
The time has come for action!
Which is why as part of the Better Betting Campaign we have teamed up with a parliamentary agent based in Westminster to help you demand action is taken on this issue by your MP.
Action in the form of a government review into the restriction of betting accounts and call to explore the adoption of the ‘New South Wales’ model – whereby bookmakers are compelled to take bets from ALL punters.
As the key issue from the Better Betting Campaign – in our FREE ‘Getting On’ Report, we outline how you can write to your MP to demand action is taken.
If enough people contact their MP about this issue – it could very well assist in raising awareness and demanding change.
We outline how you can demand this change via a simple email to your MP and provide quick and easy links on how you can do this.
Full details are available to view in our Free ‘Getting On’ Report. Download it now!
Issue 2: Hidden Bookmaker Tracking Software
The Better Betting Campaign is seeking to raise awareness as regards the increased and possibly unauthorised usage of ‘spying’ software by many bookmakers on the customers that visit and utilise their websites.
This software goes by various names such as ‘Iovation’, ‘IESnare’ or ‘Reputation Manager’ and is installed onto your PC, Laptop, Smartphone or other e-device after you open a new bookmaker account. It then tracks your activity and builds an accessible database of information about your activity and profile – effectively an online ‘fingerprint’.
It is our understanding that the vast majority of bookmakers currently use such software.
Intriguingly, a recent ruling from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that one such bookmaker has been using ‘Iovation’ incorrectly and that is unlikely to have complied with the Data Protection Act. A ruling that calls into question the legality of all other bookmakers utilising such hidden software.
At this time the ICO has stated they will take no further action unless they receive more complaints, hence why we are keen to raise further awareness of this issue and
How You Can Fight Back
To help you fight back, in our Free Getting On Report you can read a full exploration of this issue as written by Jimmy Justice of the Justice 4 Punters campaign.
Alongside details on how you can remove any such tracking software from your machine, Jimmy reveals:
- What this hidden tracking software does and how it all works;
- Which bookmakers are suspected of using tracking software and what information they are capturing;
- How you can discover if your computer is infected;
- How to avoid ‘re-infection once tracking software has been removed’;
- How to complain about Iovation to the Information Commissioners Office and demand action is taken.
Issue 3: Disputed Payouts & Delayed Withdrawals
The Better Betting campaign is also seeking to raise awareness regarding the increase in disputed winnings payments and delayed withdrawals from bookmaker accounts.
We are also calling for an improvement in regulation on these issues by the UK Gambling Commission and IBAS on behalf of punters.
Whilst bookmakers make it as easy as possible to open a new account and deposit money with them – they can equally be very difficult when it comes to claiming your winnings and withdrawing funds to your bank account.
We are aware of numerous instances whereby innocent punters have been denied access to fairly earnt bet payouts by bookmakers attempting to make life as difficult as possible – even when it clearly goes against their terms and conditions.
Similarly, many punters often are asked to go through increasingly long-winded and bizarre measures simply to authorise a withdrawal from a bookmaker to their bank account. Examples include requests to take ‘selfie’ pictures next to ID documents or bookmaker customer service staff simply ignoring emails.
It is only with professional guidance and often exposure via social media that many of these issues are resolved, although the suspicion is that many punters with genuine grievances simply give up without an understanding of their rights and how they can fight back.
Expert Bet Dispute Guidance
To help you understand more on what you can do to resolve bet disputes (and how to avoid them in the first place) in our Free ‘Getting On’ Report, you can read interviews with 2 betting industry experts on settling bet disputes.
In each interview, you can read advice on what to do to if you suffer a bet dispute, the experts on hand offering free advice and the bookmakers you are most likely to suffer problems with.
Latest Development: Special Investigation Into New Bookmaker ‘Black Type’
On the 24th November 2016, SBC announced the release of a special report investigating the new winners-welcome bookmaker, Black Type.
Launched in August 2016, Black Type have already established themselves as a significant player in the UK betting market, becoming arguably the most talked about start up bookmaker since Betfair burst onto the scene over fifteen years ago.
Like Betfair, Black Type opted against a high profile ‘marketing driven’ launch but quickly caught the attention of both the betting public and media by becoming the first on line bookmaker to offer a guaranteed ‘bet to win’ on horse racing and sport together with a promise not to close accounts.
Granted a world first exclusive interview with them, in SBC’s special report we grilled them on all aspects of their operation, including exactly how and why they welcome winning gamblers as customers.
As part of this investigation, inside the report you can also read a comprehensive analysis of how Black Type’s odds compare when set against their bookmaking rivals.
Helping to answer the key question: Does their winners-welcome policy come at a cost in terms of the odds they offer?
In The News…
The 3 issues that form the thrust of the Better Betting Campaign are increasingly being covered in the media and below you can find a series of relevant recent news articles and links.
27th December – BBC Radio 4 Special Show on The UK Gambling Market
BBC Radio 4 devoted an entire You and Yours show to the topic of betting in the UK and the many issues surrounding it, including those raised by the Better Betting Campaign. Justice For Punters founder, Brian, is joined by the BBC at Haydock races to investigate bookmaker restrictions and there are in-depth discussions and interviews held on several other issues including regulation, unfair bookmaker bonus offers and FOBT machine abuse.
9th December – SBC Publishes ‘Black Type’ Report For Free
Following a huge amount of interest in their special report into the bookmaker, Black Type, SBC have today published the report in full for free download.
24th November – SBC Releases Special Report Into New Bookmaker ‘Black Type’
Read all about the special investigation into the winners welcome bookmaker, Black Type and why they are happy to lay ALL customers up to lose up to £500 on any given bet.
18th November – Justice For Punters Publish CMA Complaints Advisory Leaflet
Justice For Punters today published an advisory leaflet advising gamblers how they can complain about unfair treatment to the Competition and Markets Authority as part of their investigation info bookmakers.
1st November – Paddy Power accused of using social media to spy on punters (The Times subscription required)
The Times newspaper reports on why bookmakers are using social media and online tracking tools (as highlighted by this campaign) to profile gamblers and why this might not meet the requirements of the data protection act.
1st November – Bookies breaching data rules says legal expert (The Times subscription required)
A second article on the issue above, which tackles in greater depth the use of online tracking software and the question marks over its legality. It also discusses the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect across the EU in May 2017 and why current bookmaker practices would fall foul of it, risking multimillion Euro fines.
21st October – Competition & Markets Authority launches investigation into bookmakers
In a major development for the Better Betting Campaign, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) announced the launch of a major investigation into whether online gambling companies are treating their customers fairly. This investigation is being held jointly with The Gambling Commission amid their growing concern of misleading behaviour in the industry – something the Secret Betting Club has long campaigned about.
This story was carried by all major newspapers including the front page of The Times (£), alongside The Guardian and the BBC.
You can read more about this issue and how YOU can report your concerns to the CMA and how unfair bookmakers have impacted you in this special article posted on the SBC Blog.
19th October – Bookies defend stringent identity checks over paying out winning punters
Greg Wood of the Guardian investigates why bookmakers are delaying or refusing to pay out winnings to successful punters. Features contributions from Better Betting Campaigner, Brian Chappell, of the Justice for Punters website.
12th October – Bookmakers Costing Irish Exchequer Millions By Refusing Bets
Fascinating article from Kevin Blake on how bookmakers are costing the Irish economy a small fortune by refusing to take a fair bet.
9th October – BBC Radio 5 Live Investigation into bookmaker restrictions
The Better Betting Campaign survey into the depth of bookmaker restrictions and closures is discussed after 46:15 minutes. Why exactly are bookmakers removing customers that win money? Adrian Goldberg from the BBC investigates…
3rd October – Gambling Commission starts a two-way conversation with consumers
This is an important development and the Better Betting Campaign is encouraging all interested in the issues we are highlighting to contact the Gambling Commission and raise your concerns directly with them. Page 6 of their plan (download PDF) encourages you to write or email them via email@example.com.
1st September – Racing Victoria announces a framework for minimum bet limits
1st September – Kevin Blake: Biggest danger to the popularity of betting
There are a number of other organisations who are working extremely hard on some of these issues and below you can find a series of recommended resources:
Justice For Punters – A very well run site leading the demand for change and action on a number of fronts – bookmaker restrictions, tracking software and disputed payouts.
Horseracing Bettors Forum – Created by the British Horseracing Authority in 2015, the HBF is a voluntary group with a remit to represent the interests of those who bet on the sport. They have been particularly vocal in raising awareness of many of the key issues put forward by the Better Betting Campaign.
Paul Fairhead – A leading campaigner and advocate for fairer gambling, Paul specialises in helping punters settle betting disputes with bookmakers and offers his services for free. Very active on Twitter (@boycottbetfred) he can also be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org