BBC Target Gambling Industry Again – Bookmaker News

TV targeting bookmakers and their practices

Betting Advice

Who would have thought the ‘BB’ in BBC could stand for ‘Bookie Bashing’?

For the second time in a week, Britain’s national broadcaster has stuck the boot in on the gambling industry, this time via the flagship current affairs programme Panorama.

Complaints against bookmakers snow-balling

A few days ago, it was comedian Lloyd Griffith attempting to get one over on bookmakers and now there is an examination of why complaints against layers have gone up 5,000% in five years.

Griffith, a co-presenter on Sky TV’s Soccer AM, enlisted the help of several betting ‘experts’ in an attempt to double an initial stake of £7,500 in four weeks. That including the controversial use of ‘court-siding’, a high-cost but potentially lucrative method in which punters use the time-delay gleaning information from worldwide tennis tournaments to profit on in-running match betting.

Griffith also explained how a football ‘betting expert’ spent 40 hours a week in researching where bookmakers had got their odds wrong on specific matches. Betting on obscure fixtures with success does, of course, raise a big red flags with bookmakers so the presenter then went on to describe how students and the like had betting accounts ‘bought’ by big punters in order to stay under the radar.
Ladbrokes’ money in a commercial in which he portrayed a particular;y stupid punter who apparently bet on his hunches. Maybe it was that character which persuaded to undertake this experiment, which ultimately failed because the ‘betting expert’ gave his some less-than-definitive advice.

To be fair, Griffith has had his own problems with gambling. This programme will have hit home to thousands in an age when it is far too easy to get into debt. But, if any bookmakers were asked to contribute to the programme, their input was left on the cutting room floor. That is a pity as it would have been interesting to hear a defence of their practices and promotions. The Gambling Commission maintains it always expect licensees to be just as focused on managing risks and protecting consumers as they are on achieving their commercial objectives. But getting help for gambling problems is still largely voluntary and how many will admit that they have a problem?

Bookmakers pledge only a drop in a very big ocean

The Panorama programme did at least admit that betting forms had pledged £60million a year to help with gambling problems. But, to put that into perspective, last year punters lost £14.5billion to bookmakers. That figure is twice as much as 10 years ago and complaints against bookmakers has risen from just 169 in 2013 to 8,266 last year. Those figures include complaints against bookmakers not paying out on winning bets as well as failing to act responsibly.

It’s many years since I worked in the betting industry and attitudes have changed a little. In my day, profit over-rode all other considerations. There are warnings and advice now in shops and online. But, at the end of the day, betting is a business that has to make a profit. It shouldn’t be down to cashiers or telephone operators to police who can and can’t have a bet. There are implications to every action and non-action which go beyond the comprehension or care considerations of modestly-paid and often part-time workers.

Perhaps the real question that should be asked is – has gambling become normalised to such an extent that it’s now impossible to reverse trends? The best advice I was ever given was ‘don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose’. If you can’t accept that bookmakers will always stack the odds in their favour, stick to Betfair or other peer-to-peer betting sites. Remember betting is a hobby that has to be funded, not a lifestyle!