Brit’s account frozen by bookies because he was winning too much cash
British IT worker tells how bookmakers froze his account because he was WINNING too much money
All bets are off! IT worker tells how Britsh bookies froze his account because he was winning TOO MUCH
- Ian Sharpe, 35, has had gambling accounts restricted by a number of bookies
- He is one of a number of punters across the country who have their accounts curtailed to stop players ‘who know what they’re doing’
- It means the maximum bets he can put on with several bookmakers is just 33p
- He says he’s being punished because he backs the early price for horses to win before the odds have shortened
- Estimates suggest that 50,000 of Britain’s 8.5m gamblers have had their accounts controlled in similar ways
- Operators say scrutinising winners is necessary to help prevent fraud
- But critics argue that it is damaging the reputation of the gambling industry
An IT worker has told how online bookmakers froze his accounts because he was winning too much money.
Ian Sharpe, 35, says a number of high street bookies restricted his accounts so that he could make bets of just 33 pence when his bets kept coming in.
Mr Sharpe, from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, claims he has had his accounts restricted with bet365.com, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power.
He is one of a number of punters across the country who have their accounts restricted to stop players ‘who know what they’re doing’.
Speaking to MailOnline, he said: ‘I want to figure out why the hell they’re doing this because they never explain anything.
‘They only want to trade with ‘losers’ basically – and by that I mean people who are going to make them money.
IT worker Ian Sharpe, 35 (pictured) worker has told how online bookmakers froze his accounts because he was winning too much money
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‘You need only look at their adverts on television to know that all they want is people who don’t know what they’re doing and bet on a whim.
‘They don’t like people who know what they’re doing. They don’t like ‘winners’ basically.
‘If you complain the customer service team will just say it’s a ‘trading decision’. It isn’t, it’s the algorithm where they look at your account and go ‘nope, we’re going to keep losing money to him so effectively shut him down’.
‘I think taking early prices has a lot to do with it.
‘When a betting company forms the book they price the horses up initially and adjust the prices down to balance the books based on the volume of bets they get incoming.
‘If you consistently back a horse at a higher price that it goes on to win at then over time you will come out on top even if more than half your bets lose.
‘With bet365, for example, if you look at the number of bets I’ve placed with them, more of them have lost. But because of the prices, the returns and the ratio I’ve come out on top and made money from them, which they don’t like.
Mr Sharpe, from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, claims he has had his accounts restricted with bet365.com, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power
‘Now if I want a selection on the horses and I go for a horse that’s 5-1 and I try and offer bet365 a tenner, the answer is no – maximum stake 33p.
‘There’s no point in me gambling with them anymore because it’s for pennies and they won’t shut you down completely because they want to show their shareholders that they have this many million users.
‘Obviously it’s their right to trade with whom they wish but as soon as you start winning, that’s it.’
Mr Sharpe opened his account with bet365 closed in June this year, just five months after he opened it. He opened a Paddy Power account online in September only for it to be closed in December.
With bet365, he has only won £1,500 over the last year with the single biggest pay-out being a £400 win after he placed £10 on a 33-1 horse.
Yet the highest stake he can now place with the bookie is 33p.
He believes he is being punished because the company has noticed that he frequently backs the early price for a horse to win before the odds have shortened.
By routinely backing horses at 20-1 before the odds shorten, to say 5-1, means that even though he loses more times than he wins, he still makes money in the long-run.
Mr Sharpe is one of a number of punters across the country who have their accounts restricted by bookmakers like Ladbrokes, Coral and others to stop players ‘who know what they’re doing
Estimates suggest that 50,000 of Britain’s 8.5million gamblers have had their accounts restricted in similar ways. They include members of the House of Lords.
The limiting of winning players is such a regular part of sports betting in Las Vegas that professional gamblers will intentionally place wagers at less-advantageous odds to stay off the radar.
Operators say scrutinising winners is necessary to help prevent fraud – but critics argue that it is damaging the reputation of the gambling industry.
It is now becoming increasingly prominent in the UK and is such a concern that the matter has been debated in Parliament.
Mr Sharpe conducted a survey among 150 regular gamblers which found that more than half of them had had their accounts restricted by bet365, Paddy Power and Betfair
Mr Sharpe (pictured) had his bet365 account restricted in June after winning £1,000 over four months on greyhound racing
Another gambler, Will Tomassi, 39, from Farnham, Surrey, makes an average profit of between £3,500 a month on betting.
He had his bet365 account restricted in June after winning £1,000 over four months on greyhound racing.
Mr Tomassi, who works in sales for a medical company, said: ‘I was going great guns but then they pulled the rug from under me which was extremely annoying.
‘bet365 are really the only company who offer decent early prices on the dogs and I betted on ‘match-ups’ which was essentially picking one dog to beat another dog in the race.
‘I started with a £2 beginning stake, which rose to £15 the more successful I became, but crucially I could roll over my winnings to a second or third race.
‘So if I did get to a third bet, I could be betting as much as £60.
‘Since the account was restricted, the most I can place on a bet in match-ups at any one time is £1 so it’s more or less null and void.
‘I can play a singles game and pick a winner but even then it’s only for small change.
‘The problem is that if you apply any kind of intelligence or any intent to try and work anything out, they cut you off straight away.’
Earlier this year All-Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group held a seminar at the House of Lords to discuss account closures and restrictions by online bookmakers on successful punters.
Estimates suggest that around 50,000 of Britain’s 8.5million gamblers have had their accounts restricted to maximum bets of 33p – or closed as a result of winning too may bets
The group’s chairman Philip Davies MP told MailOnline that at least one member of the Lords had had their account restricted but declined to name who.
The group is urging the gambling industry to introduce a minimum bet rule – already in place at racecourse bookies – which would require a betting company to lay an advertised price to lose a specified sum, typically £500.
Mr Davies said: ‘I accept that it’s impossible for bookmakers to let punters lay anything they want on because they’d probably go bust in no time.
‘But there’s a big difference in that and restricting someone to bet only a few pence or a few pounds.
‘This happens to a lot of people, I know of a member of the House of Lords who has had his account restricted, and I’m sure the industry will say it’s a very small proportion of punters
‘The whole point of gambling, whichever side of the counter you’re on, is that sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll lose.
‘That’ the nature of it and I think too many gambling companies have become risk averse and if you want to be risk averse you shouldn’t be in the gambling industry.
‘Bookmakers have been far too restrictive in the past but credit where credit’s due, they are starting to wake up and are slowly but surely moving in the right direction.’
bet365 has yet to make comment however a spokesman for Ladbrokes and Coral, which merged in November 2016, admitted that a small number of their accounts were restricted.
A spokesman said: ‘Over a million people bet regularly with Ladbrokes and Coral in our betting shops, online and via mobile apps, and over 99 per cent of bets are laid as requested.
‘Only a small minority of our customers experience restrictions on certain bets for risk management purposes, as is the case with all bookmakers. We close very few accounts and a high proportion of these are for responsible gambling or anti-money laundering grounds or because they are duplicate accounts, rather than for trading reasons.’
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