UKGC Accused of Allowing Bet365 to Give Players Who Lose Cash to Continue Gambling



Staff member
May 3, 2008
Undercover investigation discovers that UKGC has been covering for Bet365 for quite some long time, to give losers cash returns on money they’ve lost gambling there. The major gambling watchdog was called toothless following this report since it has remained blind to the Bet365’s breach of License Conditions and Codes of Practice.

The undercover mission resulted in findings that Bet365 has been giving players 10% cashback on the money they lose, but not just any players. They were targeting high-rollers. Namely, those who lose £15,000 a week get to claim their weekly rebate of £1,500 to continue gambling.

The Exposé

After successfully infiltrating a person to monitor Bet365’s operations, the Daily Mail discovered that the operator has been awarding losers who deposit huge amounts and lose them, with cash returns of up to 10%. This shows that the operator intentionally fails to protect its vulnerable customers and keeps them locked in a circle of gambling.

The undercover journalist has spent three weeks in Gibraltar training to be Bet365’s customer account advisor. He and 13 other new employees were trained for the reward loyalty schemes. The journalist found out that potential high-rollers are given a questionnaire with 8 Yes/No questions, including one that asks them do they gamble to escape an unhappy or a boring life. This is clearly an exploit on vulnerable gamblers.

As you may recall, the UKGC has announced not so long ago tougher measures to control problem gambling and protect players, and has fined many operators for this, but has somehow failed to fine Bet365. The operator has successfully managed to give high-rollers weekly rebates on their losses as part of their VIP program and gave those VIPs that hit net loss threshold incentives such as various prizes, including FA Cup Final tickets, just to make them continue gambling. In addition, junior staff in Bet365 were given permission to give free £50 cash bonuses and Free Spins to players who would ring the customer service line.

The major concern is caused by the free cash return to potentially vulnerable players. The UKGC has been accused of helping Bet365 because the LCCP rules do not restrict rebates, just say that they should be ‘socially responsible’. Lawyers say that Bet365 has taken advantage of these vague rules and unspecific regulations, and legally, they cannot be found guilty of anything since there is no cap on how much that can give back to the customers.

Bet365’s Defence

Bet365 came out with a defence statement saying that it prides itself on providing players with a safe gambling environment and goes above and beyond its regulatory and legal requirements in doing so, including the License Conditions and Codes of Practice set out by the UK Gambling Commission and they fully refute any suggestion or allegation to the contrary.

It is added in the statement that Bet365 is in the first row in the various initiatives by the industry to further develop and promote safer gambling practices. The operator gives its participation in the Gamecare’s quality trademark scheme for social responsibility, the Safer Gambling Standard, as an example.

The operator further explains that it is clearly said in the LCCP that operators have the permission to reward their most loyal players in a socially responsible way, exactly as Bet365 does. Bet365 takes extensive and specific actions to assist, identify and monitor players who may potentially be vulnerable players and experiencing gambling-related harm, with restricting the exposure of those players to marketing materials and ensuring they do not receive the incentives that would intensify their gambling which other gamblers receive.

Reactions from the Government

Carolyn Harris, the Chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Group on gambling commented it is clear Bet365 was exploiting vulnerable players by offering them incentives and was deliberately using these players to rack up enormous losses to boost their own profits. She added that the UKGC looked more interesting into being everyone’s friend in this immoral industry preying on players at their lowest point instead of helping these players out. She described the watchdog’s work as lax, adding that it has created a Wild West world where online gambling is flourishing under a toothless regulator.

The former Tory leader Duncan Smith joined on the criticism, simply saying: one thing is for sure, giving any gambler money to keep on losing will turn them into an addict as sure as the night follows the day.

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