A new hurdle for punters?

For keen (and occasionally successful) punters, the minimum bet limits introduced by Racing NSW and Racing Victoria have been a blessing.

But is there now a new battle to be fought, as bookmakers make demands for extreme levels of personal information before you can have a punt?

We spoke to Champion Bets member Patrick about a recent experience of his.  Read on for his account of an experience with a bookmaker who is yet to make it on to our recommended list…

Champion Bets: When did you first bet with ClassicBet?

Patrick: I was actually cold-called by them back in July. I’d never bet with them before and didn’t know where they got my details from. I asked the representative about that, and he told me he didn’t know.

CB: So you opened an account and started betting?

P: Yep, I’d say I bet with them most days, predominantly on horses.

CB: What happened next?

P: The next I heard from them was on 27th July, when I received an email saying “As a valued client, we would like to extend a line of credit to you, which can be approved within 24-48 hours if you are interested.”  And they asked for a few personal details as well if I wanted to take it up.

CB: How much were you betting?

P: My bets ranged from about $10 to $150. My average bet size with ClassicBet was about $50 per bet.

CB: And how did you go?

P: Not bad, I would be in profit, but not by a massive amount – about $2,000 in front. I had multiple deposits and withdrawals with them with no hassles.

CB: Did you take up the offer of credit?

P: No, I didn’t.

Things came to a head when I tried to log in to my account last Monday, and I was advised my account had been closed, and I should call them.

I called Classicbet to ask why my account had been closed, and was advised that “It was a risk manager’s decision.

I emailed them to ask if they could re-open my account to at least bet on NSW and Victorian racing, per the minimum bet regulations.  I actually emailed them twice, as I didn’t get a response the first time.

It was then that I was informed that Classicbet had suspended my account, pending me sending them the following information:

  • Details and supporting documentation as to whether you operate your betting account for yourself only, or on behalf of someone else;
  • Details of how you are funding your betting account;
  • Certified copies of the evidence of the source of funds deposited to your ClassicBet betting account;
  • Certified copies of your last three tax assessments;
  • Certified copies of documents evidencing your current income e.g. your last 3 employee payslips;
  • Printout of the IP address(es) for the computers used to operate your betting account

CB: Seems a bit excessive!

P: Absolutely, I found it totally invasive and unreasonable. I really don’t feel comfortable sharing this amount of information with them.

I asked them why the bonafides of my betting account were OK before, but now are not? They didn’t respond. (Patrick had already completed a standard ID verification when he first opened his account, supplying 100 points of ID and copies of his depositing credit card).

I find it funny too that they asked for less information from me when offering me credit, but now suddenly they’ve asked for all this information, just to let me have a bet.

I believe it’s because I started winning, and now they’ve done this to hopefully avoid having to take my bets, make betting with them as difficult as possible for me and and avoiding having to comply with the Victorian and New South Wales minimum bet rules.

——–

Patrick took to Twitter to vent his frustration. He was later contacted by ClassicBet, stating that for his account to be re-opened for Victorian and NSW racing, he must “remove all false statements on the internet”.

We contacted ClassicBet about Patrick’s situation, and received the following response from Managing Director Alex Kay:

Patrick’s account was suspended awaiting probity, after he could not inform staff how he was employed.

After Patrick informed staff he was unemployed, it was thought vigilant to determine how he was able to fund his betting account, and if the deposit was in fact his.

Patrick has been told that after successful probity his account will be reopened.

The probity was far greater than most clients, there have not been any “unemployed” clients previously.

ClassicBet does abide by RVL and Racing NSW rules, and has not had a single warning or fine from either body.

ClassicBet is also compliant with Austrac, and is diligent to investigate and report any suspicious activity.

——–

It certainly raises a few questions for the industry:

How much due diligence is reasonable for an account with a bookmaker?

Are punters comfortable sharing detailed financial information with their bookmakers?

Is this a new way for bookmakers to be selective regarding who they take bets from?

Share your experiences in the comments section.

Champion Bets contacted both Racing Victoria and Racing New South Wales earlier this week with a brief series of questions on this topic.  We have not received a response from either body.