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.
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.