The growing trend of ‘blocked pay-outs’
Professional bettors spend considerable time, money and effort on designing winning bet strategies. Whether it’s a network of professional tipsters, arbitrage strategies or sophisticated algorithms, it is not a mystery that it takes discipline, information and infrastructure to have big wins on a consistent basis. So naturally, one can experience increasing frustration when the occurrences of bookmakers delaying, blocking or withholding payment(s) becomes more prevalent.
If you recently had a big win and you still haven’t received your winnings, you are not alone. Last month alone I came across 10+ professional bettors who had their winnings blocked in one way or another by reputable bookmakers. Those cases ranged from extended delays with the pay-outs, to more extreme cases; closure of their account and forfeiture of the winnings.
Why is it happening?
Bookmakers make a comfortable living by providing entertainment to millions of amateur bettors. Professional bettors that know what they are doing have good systems, timely information and manage to win on a consistent basis, are a bookmakers’ worst nightmare. This is due to fact that bookmakers’ customer services aren’t geared to professional punters, their risk management policies just weren’t designed with big single wins in mind and to put it bluntly, they would rather avoid and thus deter professional business. Bookmakers have two main ‘tools’ they can employ (and do) to delay or forfeit the winnings:
- Anti-money laundering regulations
- Their own Terms & Conditions
Increasingly stringent anti-money laundering “verification” procedures mean that in the case of a big win, a bookmaker can ask for further details on the account holder identity; such as an additional ID, proof of address etc. and they may ask for an explanation of the source of funds in order to demonstrate their legitimacy. Worth noting, is to take a look over the bookmaker’s T&Cs; one will find a set of rules to comply with in order to receive the pay-out. The most important part of which is the maximum pay-out limit!
How to avoid the pay-outs being blocked?
In most cases it is difficult and frustrating to get the payouts released once they are blocked, so it’s best to avoid the problem altogether;
Use a betting account for which you will be able to provide further details when asked. For example, additional personal ID documents, recent proof of address, bank statements in the account holder name and selfies with all the above.
Source of funds:
Make sure you can explain the source of funds you used to bet and demonstrate their legitimate provenance. Discrepancy between the account name and the payee name can be used by a bookmaker to block the winnings.
Beware of the payout limits:
Bookmakers have strict limits on the maximum pay-outs by various sports and these can change often. For example, on English football, Bet365 will pay the maximum of GBP2m whereas 888sport only pay GBP250k.
What to do when the pay-out is blocked – simple tips:
- Keep a friendly dialogue with a bookmakers’ customer service
- Try to escalate the case very quickly to senior customer service managers
- To every extent possible (obviously averting information that can be used against you) provide all the additional information the bookmaker is requesting
- Keep all communication with a bookmaker by email, avoid phone calls as you won’t be able to demonstrate the communication history if need be
- Write coherent, well written messages providing solid arguments
Overall, if the winnings are big it can be a lengthy, frustrating and very costly procedure to get your money back. In my experience, I have found that in most cases it is best to leave it to a professional – specialising in how to deal with bookmakers. They will know how to communicate with a bookmaker – with whom to communicate with on the bookmakers’ side and importantly, what strings to pull.
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