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Trick that ensures gamblers don't win
6th December, 04:41One of the world's biggest betting agencies has been accused of punishing punters who are successful by making it impossible to win big - and for doing the opposite with losers.
An ABC investigation into UK-based bet365 has exposed the alleged "secret practices" of its Australian operation, with the help of a former employee turned whistleblower.
In a segment on 7.30 last night, James Poppleton, who worked as a customer account supervisor in bet365's Darwin headquarters, said what he knew was "a burden on my conscience".
"They target people who win and they exploit people who lose," Mr Poppleton claimed.
He alleged bet365 uses a computer system to assign a "risk rating" to punters, but rather than flag those who lose to prevent irresponsible gambling, it has the opposite approach.
"Your data tells them how many bets you've placed, what sport you've put it on, your average bet, your total turnover and your win or loss ratio to the company," he claimed.
"If you win, the algorithm kicks in and stops you from being able to bet any significant amount of money."
Daniel Laidlaw is a professional poker player who considers sports betting his hobby, with a passion for odds and numbers.
Earlier this year, he claims to have noticed something unusual happening with his bet365 account.
"When I tried to place my usual sized bets, it was apparent I could only bet to win an amount in the range of $50 to $10 when previously I could bet to win amounts between $1000 and $5000," Mr Laidlaw told the ABC.
He suspects his betting ability was dramatically limited because he was too good at it.
7.30 obtained a copy of what it said was Mr Laidlaw's customer account details from bet365, showing hen had a risk rating of 0.0025.
Mr Poppleton said it's one of the highest risk ratings given.
In a statement to the ABC, bet365 said its policies were to ensure that "gambling behaviour is within responsible limits".
When contacted by news.com.au today, the company declined to comment.
"As soon as you start losing, they'll open you up to lose more and more and more, you can bet bigger and bigger amounts," Mr Poppleton alleged.
"If you stop winning, you're allowed to bet more and more and more. It's the opposite of responsible gambling."
Mr Laidlaw has tried repeatedly to find out why his account at bet365 has been limited but they won't say.
"If you're not allowed to win and you're going to be restricted if you are winning, at least tell people that," he said.
The in-play wagers can only be made on the phone in Australia and Mr Poppleton alleged that bet365 deliberately slows down the process if it suspects a punter is onto a good bet.
"A problem customer is one that's essentially winning against us live in play," he claimed.
"We would listen to their calls, find out what markets they were betting on and figure out what their strategy was ands then essentially make up rules to slow them down or stop them betting."
In a statement to the ABC, bet365 denied the suggestion and said its measures were only for those punters who "seek to make an unfair advantage".
In-play bets are all about speed, 7.30 explained, and delays could tilt the favour away from punters.
"Putting a delay into people's accounts or into individual sports and not informing the punter is cheating," Mr Poppleton said.
bet365 denied it has ever "used any form of delay in its telephone in-play betting service in Australia".