Cheltenham races: Don’t take a gamble when it comes to online betting
Authored by DAS
British Horse racing, one of the largest spectator sports in the UK is known for its large annual events. One of the most significant of these is the Cheltenham Festival, which will take place between Tuesday 14 and Friday 17 March 2023. The event attracts thousands of spectators, all wanting a piece of the enthralling atmosphere.
One of the most popular ways for people to take part is to place their hopes on an eccentrically named horse and follow their race with the wish that their pick will be the winner. To initiate this adventure, participants head to the bookies, either virtual or in person to get the best odds on their chosen favourite. Though, for some online punters their choice of betting establishment may be fraught with risk.
Some websites lacking integrity may attempt to persuade people with the allure of high returns, in hopes to attain their hard-earned money, with no prospect of payment. But how can you check if a betting site is legitimate and what are your legal options if your online bookmaker won’t pay you out?
Lewys Traylor, Legal Advisor at DAS gives you the inside legal track on online betting.
I have seen online betting sites with amazing odds. How can I check the credibility of the site and make sure it’s not a scam?
The first thing to do would be to check that the organisation that you plan to gamble with is licensed by the UK’s Gambling Commission. Every online gambling business that is licensed is required to display a notice saying that they are licensed by the Gambling Commission with a link to the Commission’s website. On the Commission’s website there is a license register where you can see what activities a company is able to offer. If a gambling business does not have a license, it is acting illegally and you would be wise to avoid placing any bets with them.
What recourse do I have if a winning bet is not paid out?
Gambling businesses are obliged to offer a complaints procedure. If a winning bet is not paid out, the first thing would be to lodge a formal complaint. Under the Gambling Commission’s guidelines, this should be resolved in a maximum of eight weeks. If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, the matter can then be referred to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider. The Commission recommends using Resolver (www.resolver.co.uk/rights-guide/gambling) to lodge this complaint, and generally for guidance on complaints. If the ADR provider does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction, legal action is an option and in the case of a winning bet not being paid out, a breach of contract claim can be made.
What happens to your money if a gambling business goes bust?
Monies used to place a bet would not subject to protection by the Gambling Commission or government in the same way as your personal bank account would be.
Any licensed gambling business should tell you beforehand, in their terms and conditions, whether the stake is protected in the event they go bust. If it is protected, you may have recourse to recover the whole or part of the total amount.
Online betting websites often ask for personal information and proof of identification to join. Is it safe to share this information?
Online gambling sites are required to confirm the identities of their customers to comply with regulatory and legal requirements. As a minimum licenced online gambling businesses must verify your name, address and date of birth.
It is wise to be wary of providing your personal details to third parties for use in opening online accounts. The gambling commission website gives some useful guidance on the types of information you may be asked to provide to verify yourself.
In addition, the online gambling site will have a responsibility to properly secure and process your information under the General Data Protection Regulations.
What happens if I have a complaint? Is there an official body I can complain to?
If there is any concern as to whether a gambling business is licensed, for example, concerns should be raised with the Gambling Commission. Otherwise, it would be advisable to follow the company’s complaints process.
Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created.
About DAS Group
The DAS UK Group comprises an insurance company (DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Ltd), a law firm (DAS Law), and an after the event (ATE) legal expenses division.
DAS UK introduced legal expenses insurance (LEI) in 1975, protecting individuals and businesses against the unforeseen costs involved in a legal dispute. In 2018 it wrote more than seven million policies.
The company offers a range of insurance and assistance add-on products suitable for landlords, homeowners, motorists, groups and business owners, while it’s after the event legal expenses insurance division offers civil litigation, clinical negligence and personal injury products. In 2013, DAS also acquired its own law firm – DAS Law – enabling it to leverage the firm’s expertise to provide its customers with access to legal advice and representation.
DAS UK is part of the ERGO Group, one of Europe’s largest insurance groups (the majority shareholder in ERGO is Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers).