Betting firms warned over marketing strategy – Bookmaker News

Gambling Commission issue review advice

Bookmaker News

We are all accustomed, and probably almost immune, to fake reviews published on shopping sites. Those shopping sites don’t need naming and most have now taken steps to ensure customer reviews are genuine and not the work of bots or paid reviewers with a financially-dependent opinion of a product. But it was believed that the betting industry had  been immune from such reviews. That was, at least, until a couple of weeks ago.

Now the Gambling Commission has issued warnings that failure to adhere to proper practices could lead to bookmakers receiving financial penalties. At a time when gambling problems are very much in the political spotlight, a lack of social responsibility is more than frowned upon.

Betway’s review policy under the microscope

Betway’s actions in offering punters the incentive of a £5 free bet in exchange for online reviews has certainly raised a few eyebrows.

A report in The Times suggests five-star reviews for Betway on Trustpilot, a consumer review website, is directly linked to the bookmaker’s offer to reward punters for a review. Betway insist that the offer, which has been running since 2017, applied to both positive and negative reviews. But analysis by The Times has shown that five-star reviews have increased from eight in 2016 to 565 in the last month.

Betway and Trustpilot both insist that the reviews have all been within the latter’s guidelines on offering incentives for reviews and adhere to a policy of impartiality. But, as in all cases of this type, you would have to be a pretty cynical individual to bad-mouth a firm that you know is going to give you a fiver.

Betway are adamant that their customers were under no obligation to leave positive reviews about the bookmaker but, of course, they would. Are Trustpilot duty-bound or legally obliged to publish every single review, however? I suspect that they are, well those that are fit to be published, but the positive impact of the campaign can’t be denied so either Betway’s customer service and value-for-money has improved dramatically or there has been some censorship. Or, maybe, reviewers have only contributed when they want to accentuate the positives.

Betway is one of the newer players in the online betting market, as they were started only back in 2006. They’ve established themselves among the middle ground when it comes to value odds but are attractive for football punters, in particular, and  have a decent welcome bonus. But The Gambling Commission’s intervention is a warning, however, that the review route is one that should be trod carefully by bookmakers.