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19 Jul 16 08:31
Date Joined: 25 Mar 02
| Topic/replies: 227 | Blogger: prufrock's blog
Some further details of HBF's account restriction/closure survey

And details of HBF's next meeting at Doncaster racecourse on 7 September which will be followed by public presence at the course
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Report prufrock July 19, 2016 8:32 AM BST
Survey open from 3 April to 30 April 2016

878 respondents

Q1: in the last six months, how many accounts have you had restricted?

Total reported: 4576

75% reported six or fewer accounts restricted. Three accounts restricted was the median and one account restricted was the mode (138 reports). 93 of the 878 respondents reported no account restrictions in the past six months.

Q2: in the last six months how many accounts have you had closed?

Total reported: 1583

81% reported two or fewer accounts closed. Exactly half of the respondents (439) reported no accounts having been closed.

Approximately three times as many accounts were reported as having been restricted as closed.

Q3: please choose the bookmakers who have closed or restricted you in the last six months [from specified options]. Fill in any others at the end.

The highest figures were as follows: Paddy Power, 394; Coral, 383; Betfair Sportsbook, 382; ****, 345; Ladbrokes, 344; and Stan James, 329.

It should be noted that these figures will be, at least in part, a function of the size of the companies involved.

Q4: have you had accounts closed or restricted for sports other than horseracing?

Yes, 46%; No, 54%

Q5: have account closures or restrictions reduced your interest in betting on horseracing?

Yes, 59%; No, 41%

HBF regards this finding as one of the most significant of the survey. If taken at face value, this represents a significant reduction in the appeal of betting on horseracing (and by implication of interest in horseracing itself) as a result of individual closures/restrictions.

Respondents could then choose up to five bookmakers and answer more detailed questions. 577 respondents chose to do so.

Q6: what were the reasons given to you for restrictions or closures (choose as many as apply)?

Traders’ or trading decision, 50%; No reason given, 37%; all others were 2% or less.

Approximately 95% of those who responded in this section had been told “traders’ or trading decision” or had been given no reason for at least one of the accounts that had been restricted/closed.

HBF also regards this as an important finding of the survey. Many customers of individual bookmakers report having little or no explanation for closures or restrictions. This may seem acceptable to an individual bookmaker but is bound to have consequences for the appeal of betting on the sport more widely.

Q7: why do you think the account was closed or restricted (please choose as many as apply)?

I only used the bookmaker when they were offering the best price, 40%; I was making too much profit on the account, 36%; I only used them for special offers, 13%; I was arbing prices on exchanges, 5%; I bet selectively on EW races, 5%; all others were 1% or less.

Q8: why did you open the account?

Because I needed to open an account with another bookmaker, 30%; to take advantage of a special offer, 26%; in response to an advert, 23%; “other”, 15%; because they were recommended to me, 6%.

HBF notes with interest that only a small number of those surveyed reported opening an account on a personal recommendation. In a recent Deloitte paper, personal recommendation was identified as the largest influence in making purchases. Negative experiences with one bookmaker can have wider implications for betting in general.

Q9: how many trades on the account before closure?

There was a wide spread of values, from zero (13 reports of being closed before even striking a bet) to ten thousand (two).

The most common were: 100 trades, 69 reports; 50 trades, 44 reports; and 20 trades, 38 reports.

Horseracing Bettors Forum, July 2016
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 8:32 AM BST
Meet HBF Members at Doncaster, September 7th

Horseracing Bettors Forum, September 2016 Meeting

The next Horseracing Bettors Forum meeting will take place at Doncaster Racecourse before racing on 7 September 2016.

For practical reasons, it will not be possible to make the meeting open to the public, but HBF will have public representation on the course throughout the afternoon.

HBF invites the betting and horseracing public to meet with HBF members during that day, to find out in greater detail what HBF has done, and hopes to do, and to make known their own suggestions and observations to HBF members.

Details of where to find the HBF stall at Doncaster will be publicised nearer the time, probably including through an advert in the official racecard.

HBF wishes to thank Arena Racing and Doncaster Racecourse for their considerable assistance already in this matter and looks forward to meeting members of the public at Doncaster on 7 September.
Report Magic__Daps July 19, 2016 9:00 AM BST
GM Prufrock - so what are the next steps regarding the account restrictions? Is there any hope in the future for punters to actually get a decent bet or any bet on without discrimination? Will the BHA actually speak up regarding an issue that IS affecting the longterm of the sport?
Report foxy July 19, 2016 9:09 AM BST
5% for arbing Laugh
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 9:09 AM BST
GM. HBF is in discussion with one leading bookmaker, who has taken this survey on board, and is still being contacted by/responding to others who are interested in being involved. Cannot indicate next steps until that has worked through. However, HBF is (clearly) not able to force the several bookmakers who have failed to respond to do so. And it cannot/does not speak on behalf of BHA, who may have their own political reasons for keeping mum about this. HBF hoping that its "meet the public" on 7 September will give a clearer indication of public sentiment about this.
Report Magic__Daps July 19, 2016 9:34 AM BST
Can you say how many books are actually contacting you about being involved (without naming them)? Personally I think the ones who failed to respond should be named and shamed, and at least have some pressure put on them.
Report millhouse July 19, 2016 9:56 AM BST
Prufrock, why has this damning survey not been disseminated to the mainstream media in a way they can understand and relate to?

The story here, unequivocally, is that despite the bookmaking industry presenting themselves to the public in the absolute opposite manner, winning is not actually allowed.

Similarly, I hope this survey will be sent to the new Culture Secretary, before the invitations to bookmaker hospitality boxes start arriving on her desk.

My instinct, for what it's worth, is that there is no appetite whatsoever for any awareness of this issue to exist beyond the media in this industry (who have virtually to a man dutifully kicked it straight into Row Z) - would I be correct?
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 11:44 AM BST
Apologies for delay in replying. I was, ironically, arranging to do a Radio interview for Radio 4 on this subject tomorrow (likely to be broadcast Thursday lunchtime).

"Why has this damning survey not been disseminated to the mainstream media in a way they can understand and relate to?" Well, it has been picked up by The Guardian and, a bit later, by Racing Post, and by BBC Radio (see above). If you have good suggestions of how to get wider coverage then could you drop an e-mail to HBF (FAO Simon Rowlands) and your suggestions will definitely be considered. I hope you understand that this is proving time-consuming to do, so it sometimes moves forward more slowly than we might wish.

The suggestion of contacting the Culture Secretary seems a good one, but I must tell you that our past attempts at contacting MPs and members of the Lords etc have often been ignored. You write again, you send stuff recorded delivery, you try contacting by alternative means. It all takes time.

The number of bookmakers who have responded to HBF's approach, or been in touch with HBF separately as a result of our approach to others, is six out of 14 (not all of them have responded positively...). "Naming and shaming" is indeed an option, though not one HBF will be enacting at this stage. As with above, we need to make additional efforts to ensure that we are being ignored and that this has not just slipped through the cracks. And that takes time.

Report Big Boss July 19, 2016 12:05 PM BST
HBP no more than a publicity stunt, a cat with no claws

to coin a phrase from a well known disaster movie................

“like shooting a b.b. gun at a freight train.”
Report Big Boss July 19, 2016 12:05 PM BST
Report millhouse July 19, 2016 12:20 PM BST
Prufrock, one way that change is very likely to happen, imho, is to expose the bookmaking industry's very carefully orchestrated PR lies when it comes to the way they do business.

They spend thousands upon thousands of pounds a year to present themselves to the public as some sort of avuncular friendly enemy, for whom fair play and transparency are an important part of the way they engage with their customers. The perception that, actually, winning is not allowed, and if you do so they will do everything possible to shut you down, including banning you from their shops and spying on your online movements, is kryptonite to their businesses, imo.

The industry media are totally complicit, and many would argue corrupt when it comes to this issue - virtually to a man they are working for the bookmakers on the side - so it is the mainstream media in which you need to deliver this message, if that's what you think is the best policy.

For what it's worth I think your current position of seeking negotiation is a good way forward, as I can't believe that the smart people who run the major bookmakers can continue to accept that offering increasingly costly loss leaders in the pursuit of a dwindling pool of losing punters is something the industry can sustain.

But if you can't get them to rethink their current discriminatory, unfair and totally duplicitous commercial policies, then you should absolutely go for the jugular, imho...
Report dixie July 19, 2016 12:29 PM BST
I tried to bet £50 on a 3/10 shot in a Lads shop
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 12:29 PM BST
I agree with that, millhouse. "Raising awareness" of the truth of the matter is one thing that HBF definitely can do, and has done. Thanks for the feedback. HBF is not a "publicity stunt" (if so, by whom, and on behalf of whom, given that it has embarrassed some who run racing already?) but it may be a cat which has to find its claws. My (extensive) experience with cats is that they often end up getting their way eventually, so, ermm, thanks for that analogy...
Report dixie July 19, 2016 12:29 PM BST
I was allowed £25.
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 1:28 PM BST
That would seem very difficult for Ladbrokes to justify, dixie. The purpose of the HBF survey was to aggregate and formalise individual anecdotal stories like yours into something which could make an impact more widely.
Report IDKW July 19, 2016 2:15 PM BST
IDKW    07 Jul 16 14:29

Thank you prufrock....

Just before this survey was undertaken, HBF wrote to representatives of a dozen leading bookmakers, spelling out their concerns, suggesting some measures that could be implemented and inviting further discussion.

There was a mixture of responses, from positive to negative, and, in some cases, no response at all.

Perhaps you could give a brief summary of the HBF's suggestions, together with a more precise record of those Bookmaker responses?

It would help us Punters understand just what we are up against

prufrock    07 Jul 16 14:34 
OK. The survey update is likely to go up next week and I'll see what I can do to give a summary at the same time of those other points without betraying any confidences or compromising any discussions.

IDKW    07 Jul 16 14:39

Many thanks

Good afternoon prufrock.

You indicated on another thread that you would give a brief summary of the HBF's suggestions, together with a more precise record of those Bookmaker responses

HBF's suggestions?

Further, with apparently only 1 Bookmaker willing to engage in any sort of exchange on the subject of Bookmaker restrictions, can you please name and shame, in order that us punters who feel more can be done, can take up the fight and attempt to make some progress........ ( before we're all dead and goneCry )

Many thanks
Report millhouse July 19, 2016 2:17 PM BST
^^ I would bet good money that the bookmaker willing to engage is William Hill...
Report IDKW July 19, 2016 2:20 PM BST
Millhouse..............funny you should say that.......I was thinking exactly the same.
I have noticed a distinct change in their approach when attempting to place bets in their shops.
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 2:36 PM BST
Sorry, IDKW, you are quite correct. It may still be premature for HBF to show its hand in full at this stage of proceedings, so the following is selective.

Recommendations included: offering the opportunity to sign up to a "no frills" service as an alternative before a customer's account is restricted [we have received plenty of feedback from punters who would forego enhancements/offers as long as they could get a damn bet on]; establishing clearer T&Cs for customers opening new accounts, stating explicitly why and under what circumstances certain accounts may be restricted [in line with UKGC's directives on openness and fairness in gambling]; introducing a "right to review" for those individuals who find their account restricted [rather than, in the majority of cases, getting no explanation whatsoever]; agreement from UK-facing firms to lay win bets on horseracing to specified amounts, that amount to be discretionary but clearly visible to customers in advance [C***l have done something along these lines].

We have had contact from six bookmakers, though extensive and productive discussions with only one (it was only possible to have one bookmaker discussing confidential information at a time at our meeting). HBF reserves the right to publicise the identity of those who have not co-operated, but now is not, in our opinion, the time.

There is a fine line between informing the public and disclosing info which may be more usefully withheld for negotiation reasons. Hope that is understood.
Report IDKW July 19, 2016 2:41 PM BST
Thank you prufrock.
Report Wildcat Army. July 19, 2016 3:17 PM BST
Whats the change in William Hill's approach to taking bets in shop ?

Having had 9 out of 10 £100 bets knocked back to £25 the past few weeks, I have simply given up with them.  So I've not seen anything differ.
Report TheFear July 19, 2016 6:50 PM BST
Have you considered a "kitemark" or something for any bookmaker that is considered to be playing fair?
Report prufrock July 19, 2016 7:05 PM BST
It was my (Simon Rowlands) first suggestion and predated the ABP initiative and the first meeting of HBF. HBF would like to see greater punter protection/consideration embedded into ABP status or whatever follows ABP: that would be more effective than anything HBF could come up with unilaterally.
Report TheFear July 19, 2016 7:26 PM BST
Fair play. Very good idea to try and get it into ABP.
Report Big Boss July 20, 2016 1:06 AM BST
My comments were a bit tongue in cheek and they weren't meant as a personal criticism of Prufrock who seems like a good egg, one of the few on HBF who isn't afraid to upset the applecart.

We need to apply a model of the minimum takeout rule in some Australian states, I know still in it's infancy over there but by all accounts working to a degree but no doubt their bookies have found loopholes in the legislation to squirm out of taking bets from certain clientele.

Admittedly if introduced over here then we could be looking at ridiculous overrounds, especially on the EW thieving races. Bonus offers, B.O.G., free bets, etc could well be a thing of the past as well.

I just cannot see it happening in my lifetime.
Report parispike July 20, 2016 7:28 AM BST
Bonus offers, B.O.G., free bets, etc could well be a thing of the past as well.

Hooray for that; they're nowt more than teasers to attract the masses who are then ruthlessly culled to ensure only the total mugs remain.

I'd happily settle for a higher overround in exchange for a minimum liability of £500/£1,000
Report prufrock July 20, 2016 8:55 PM BST
There will be a piece about account restrictions and closures, including a contribution from HBF, on BBC Radio 4's "You and Yours" at 12:15 tomorrow (Thursday 21 July).
Report parispike July 20, 2016 9:29 PM BST
Thanks; will tune in
Report Fatlad 1981 July 20, 2016 10:36 PM BST
Thanks Simon anybody with any sense who bets somewhat seriously will understand the predicament we are in and take in the time factor
Report onlooker July 21, 2016 12:07 PM BST
prufrock 20 Jul 16 20:55

There will be a piece about account restrictions and closures, including a contribution from HBF, on BBC Radio 4's "You and Yours" at 12:15 tomorrow (Thursday 21 July).

^ ttt

On Radio 4 in 10 minutes time -

Programme STARTS at 12-15pm TODAY
Report Fatlad 1981 July 21, 2016 12:09 PM BST
wd onlooker good thinking
Report Fatlad 1981 July 21, 2016 12:45 PM BST
Simon you did well
It's a hard subject to try to explain especially in a short period (wd for being able to do it publicly)

Genuine thanks
Report foxy July 21, 2016 12:46 PM BST
thanks onlooker i am so much wiser to situation now.
Report Fatlad 1981 July 21, 2016 12:50 PM BST
It's going the right way all awareness is positive
Report bruno100 July 21, 2016 12:52 PM BST
sorry i disagree that was terrible listening seems simon has the bookmakers interests in mind going forward than the punters
Report Fatlad 1981 July 21, 2016 12:59 PM BST
No thats bolox you don't want a retard ranting about how Mr Bookie says f off
He did a better job clear as a bell than what most could in the time
Report bruno100 July 21, 2016 1:04 PM BST
thats your opinion i have mine
Report Fatlad 1981 July 21, 2016 1:12 PM BST
what's yours
Report mackies-fc July 21, 2016 1:58 PM BST
What was it in particular that made you think that Bruno?
Report foxy July 21, 2016 3:30 PM BST
i see they had a betfair trader on the show must be one of the 5% who arb.
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