A worrying case
A leading betting operator allegedly helped a gambling addict in the UK to lie about his gambling issues after losing £100,000 ($128,000).
VIP account manager told him she had previously aided “loads of customers” to hide their gambling habits
Betfair reportedly gave the customer, a former London financial trader, VIP status. The operator would offer him different perks as part of its VIP program, including sporting event tickets and cashback when he made losses.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims his VIP account manager told him she had previously aided “loads of customers” to hide their gambling habits.
Losses were mounting
The Betfair customer had expressed concerns about his mounting losses, which were mainly on horse races. He said he did not want his wife to find out exactly how much he had lost.
The VIP account manager responded: “Don’t worry about that. I have told my colleagues who are hosting [at Ascot] tomorrow so they are aware. The [corporate] box is branded though and does say Betfair in large letters on the wall, but I’ve hosted loads of customers who say they have won tickets through work or TV competition etc. and never had a problem.”
The clear signs of gambling addiction
As per the UK Gambling Commission guidelines, one of the leading signs of gambling addiction is lying about it and trying to hide the problem from others.
The man in question also went on to say he was given a 10% refund on all losses. The cashback was in the form of Betfair credit.
A life-ruining experience
The man has said his gambling addiction has ruined his life, and that he is in the process of recovering. He spoke about the poor efforts made by the gambling company to check if he was okay.
Two years ago, he received an email asking if he was comfortable with how much he was betting. After replying “yes”, no more questions followed.
During this same period, the man also had an account with William Hill. This account was frozen due to the large losses he was racking up, with the company proceeding to request some proof of income from him. The man feels Betfair could have done more to protect him.
He said the fact he was hiding his gambling from his wife should have been a major warning sign on its own. He added:
not only did they not intervene, they actively helped me carry on the lie.”
The response to the allegations
The UK Gambling Commission has long been aware of potential poor practice in the treatment of VIP customers by gambling operators. The commission is now investigating the case involving Betfair.
Betfair issued a response to the allegations, saying: “For lots of reasons, we don’t comment on individual customer accounts or their betting activity, but we take our responsibilities to prevent harmful betting very seriously. We have a range of tools available for customers on our sites [and] are constantly evolving our processes.”