Ladbrokes May Have to Pay out Hundreds of Cancelled Bets
The Independent Betting Arbitration Service is currently considering three similar disputes against bookmaker Ladbrokes that may result in hundreds of cancelled bets being paid out.
All three cases involve requests to place an online bet which had to be referred to a Ladbrokes trader for their approval. These bets, usually involving rather significant amounts of money, are often either outright declined or re-offered at reduced odds or drastically reduced stakes.
IBAS are dealing with cases in which the requested horse racing bets were declined. The problem for Ladbrokes is that these customers are claiming to have been given an official bet number – something which usually indicates that a bet has actually been accepted by the bookmaker. They argue that this bet number means that the bet was accepted at some point in the process.
IBAS have been looking over this case for over three weeks now, the ruling of which could have large ramifications for the bookmaker. The timescale of these cases means that Ladbrokes should’ve been aware of declined bet processing issues for several months but hasn’t adequately addressed the problem. A positive result, in this case, means that any customer who has had a similar account to these three punters could bring their own case. The number of claims that may be brought against Ladbrokes is expected to be in the hundreds.
This is especially troubling for the bookmaker considering that the types of bets that are referred to the trading team are usually quite significant, making a ruling against the bookmaker rather significant. Ladbrokes will be hoping for a ruling in their favour.
Paul Fairhead, runner of the BoycottBetFred Twitter account and bet fairness campaigner, told iGamingbusiness.com that the bet number received means customers have a “legally enforceable contract” in terms of a dispute. Helping punters with their claims, he had seen dozens of similar cases to this one. As he told the Guardian:
That leads me to believe that hundreds of punters could have been affected over many months.– Paul Fairhead, Owner @BoycottBetFred
It looks like Ladbrokes wants this current issue to go away quietly. The Guardian revealed on Thursday that they paid out the winnings on a cancelled £330 bet, totalling £1,200, in full only after receiving a lawyers note that the punter threatened to sue. Upon being asked about why they paid out this bet, Ladbrokes responded that:
“It would not be appropriate to discuss a named customer’s account and activity.”
IBAS were notified of this latest development by the paper. Managing director of IBAS, Richard Hayler stated on Thursday that:
“Now that IBAS is aware of this, it may be taken into consideration in regard to the three cases being considered by IBAS.”
This issue is yet another blow for Ladbrokes, coming quickly after the Melbourne Cup fiasco in which the Australian arm of the bookmaker crashed just ahead of the main event, meaning customers couldn’t bet on the most popular race in the Australian horse racing calendar. If this case goes against them, the latest quarterly reports won’t be pretty.