A few weeks ago the powers that be were discussing the plight of punters having their accounts restricted or closed by our beloved bookmakers.
In what was a packed committee room the parliamentarians in the House of Lords (yes they were awake) discussed the extent of the problem and what might be done.
Lord Lipsey (who?) urged the betting industry to start taking the issue seriously especially as they wanted to finish for lunch early and have a nap.
I note that bookmakers really took this seriously too – NOT! With only one representative from Skybet present.
Lord Lipsey said punters should be congratulated for winners! Just shows you have far removed these guys are from reality doesn’t it.
Can you imagine BET365 sending you an email when you are winning £1k a week saying ‘ Well done Mr Smyth for winning £1k – do make sure you bet with us next week and do it again”.
However on a serious note bookmakers were urged to address the issue or face government intervention like with the proposed £2 minimum bet outlined for Fixed Odd betting Terminals (FOBT’s).
It was this report that filled bookmakers with horror and wiped £660m off their stock market value.
In my view a massive over reaction and if anything it would have been an excellent chance to purchase Bookmaker shares.
Well you can be sure as night follows day bookies will find a way around this? Whether it’s speed up the FOBT’s software so punters lose more of the £2 minimums more quickly, or they will tempt punters onto other more rapid cycle games to empty the punters coffers. Either way in the end bookies will get that disposable income one way or another. Then over time their shares will rise once again and probably to new highs seeing as they will then no doubt be left alone for a few more years as the powers that be turn their attention to other so called social evils.
Going back to the committee meeting, more worryingly were the comments made by Richard Flint of Skybet who said “he accepted that bookmakers should get better at communicating with customers at risk of being restricted or having their accounts closed, adding he was happy to work with the Horserace Bettors Forum on how that might be done”.
But he asserted that, as far as SkyBet were concerned, “a tiny proportion” of customers were affected and that 97% went unrestricted, even though betting on horse racing was “growing very strongly”. “Contrary to myth, we don’t close accounts simply because a customer is winning,” he said.
Who the hell is he kidding! I would wager it’s closer to 30% who have been restricted at the very least.
He went onto to say;
“We run a business, not a public service. We run it to be a commercial success. We must have the ability to say no to customers who we believe will be unprofitable for us in the longer term.”
That in a nutshell says it all and in part answers the question on whether Bookies are open to lifting restrictions.
So if you are still allowed to bet without restriction, then you are obviously good for business. their business! It’s therefore time to get wise and look at your betting habits and get restricted fast and move onto the exchanges both for longevity and for sustainable long term profits..
Speak next week where we will be on the second day of the Cheltenham festival and where I will have more news of my new test for the Pod.