MansionBet VIP Scheme Raises Questions After Gambler Blows Redundancy Money

  • Customer told The Guardian the VIP manager made 26 calls, offered free bets for high deposits 
  • “Matt” showed redundancy statement to keep on betting despite no proof of other income
  • He also exhibited signs of gambling addiction which were ignored by the sportsbook
  • MansionBet continued with VIP offers via phone or WhatsApp, awarded free bets in exchange for a review
man holding empty wallet
MansionBet allowed a customer to spend his redundancy package in exchange for free bets. [Image:]

Newspaper investigates customer’s experience

Gibraltar-based sportsbook operator MansionBet has found itself at the heart of a newspaper investigation after giving away free bets in return for a large chunk of a customer’s redundancy payment.

Speaking with anonymity, UK customer ‘Matt’, 44, revealed to The Guardian how MansionBet’s VIP scheme worked. This included being given his own VIP manager, who made more than 26 calls and offered free bets and football tickets for higher deposits and social media reviews.

Free bets awarded on showing redundancy statement

Telephone records shown to the newspaper highlight that the online sportsbook phoned Matt after he deposited an £8,000 ($9,981) stake to check that he could afford it. This was in line with Gambling Commission regulations. However, as a thank you, the VIP manager gave the customer an additional £100 ($124) of free bets.

pretended to the manager that he had other income streams

Matt was able to show a copy of his redundancy statement to qualify. He then pretended to the manager that he had other income streams which would allow him to put down higher deposits in return. These were never checked.

In recordings obtained by the newspaper, the manager was heard saying that he could tell the responsible gambling department that Matt was managing the settlement responsibly, and that he had other work.

The UK Gambling Commission continues to investigate the issue of VIP schemes. Its current guidelines state that such incentives should not be offered to customers who receive a “windfall”. Instead, only gamblers with regular income streams should be eligible for VIP programs.

Identifying signs of problem gambling

The Guardian identified further signs of problem gambling in its investigation. It observed how Matt was continually asking for free bets and cancelling withdrawals from his account. According to Gambling Commission guidelines, these are common indications of a gambling problem.

Matt was continually asking for free bets and cancelling withdrawals from his account

At this point, MansionBet continued to give him VIP offers either via phone or WhatsApp. First, Matt was asked to leave a review on the social website Trust Pilot. The manager proceeded to award him more free bets as thanks for his “rave review”. In another message seen by the paper, the manager offered: “If you deposit a further £3,000 ($3,744) I would give you £500 ($624) in free bets.”

He went on to say that when his customer lost more, he would be entitled to larger amounts of financial incentives.

Calls for radical change

While the Gambling Commission has already dished out record fines for VIP failings, MPs such as Labour’s Carolyn Harris have also been vocal on the issue. She called cases such as Matt’s “predatory”, telling the paper: “These cases grow in severity, yet the industry still protest that they behave responsibly. The time for radical change is now.”

The Gambling Commission has also issued a statement declaring it will be consulting on additional findings in the area, due to repeated failings in VIP practices.

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