- Leaked documents show that Ladbrokes has been profiling players
- Ladbrokes claims that the documents date back five years and they do not reflect the current betting platform practices
- Customer protection bodies weigh in on the documents
Ladbrokes has made headlines recently with reports emerging that the bookmaker is profiling customers and forcibly restricting betting opportunities.
Did Ladbrokes Rig the Game?
Ladbrokes has been pro-active in negating gambling harm. However, the company has come under fire for reportedly rigging the game for customers, sources have revealed.
According to leaked documents in the Sunday Mail cited by Daily Record, the bookmaker has been encouraging players who tend to lose to stake more while making it difficult for players who win to play more.
Reportedly, the company has called the practice client risk boosting the betting opportunities for customers who tend to lose and limiting the field for players who actually know how to turn a profit on a bet.
Based on the accounts of customers, winning players were limited to pence-per-pound profit stakes whereas VIP and High Value Customers continued to receive various incentive, including free bets, tickets to sporting events, and the occasional cashback after heavy losses.
In the leaked documents, a Stake Factor (SF) emerged, which basically let the system how much a player can stake at any one time. The SF was updated thereafter based on a customer’s performance with winning customers gradually limited to nominal profits.
An account, Ladbrokes’ contains stated, started at 1.00 in terms of SF, but that number could quickly be slashed down to 0.10 or even 0.01, depending on how the customer performed.
Ladbrokes has said that the documents are outdated. Meanwhile, people like Tom Brownlee, a statistician and sports betting enthusiast has said that he has been blocked from every major platform.
However, Mr. Brownlee’s case is a different beast altogether and it relates badly to what the average player can or usually wins.
The Bankrupt or Ban Policy – Don’t Be Hasty to Judge
With sports bettors becoming smarter, it’s understandable that bookmakers would seek to limit their loses, but regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission ensure that this doesn’t happen at the expense of customers.
According to Brian Chappell from Justice for Punters, a pressure group, the bookmaker has been systematically changing the SF to 2.0 for vulnerable customers and towards the lower end of the spectrum for everyone else.
Here’s what Chapel had to say, quoted by Daily Record, the website that published the original article:
“Meanwhile, a large losing, perhaps vulnerable customer who is rated 2.0 or above will be encouraged to lose more, using promotions, even no-cost invites to big sporting events.”
Chappell equally commented on the practices used to collect data on customers, saying that the UK Gambling Commissions considers legal certain practice that aren’t necessarily compliant with the law.
Chappell’s comments and the buzz around the leak was responded to by Ladbrokes, explaining that the document was outdated, and it was just a third-party proposal for potential business strategy, which did not reflect how the platform operated today:
The document you have been given is five years old and was a business spec for a third party that Ladbrokes was in conversation with at the time. It does not have any relevance to our current trading platform.
Ladbrokes continued by explaining that 99% of all bets placed on their platforms were honored and not altered in any way. In the cases where a bet is turned down, it has to do with risk management, the company explained.
If the documents are indeed outdated, then Ladbrokes may indeed be in the clear with the operator genuinely trying to better standards across the board for everyone, as their recent actions have indicated.
It’s also understandable that customer protection bodies would have the betting agency in their cross-hairs.
Ladbrokes has been recently hit by the changes in legislation and will need to shut down as many 1,000 betting shops across the United Kingdom.