Inevitably we will all find ourselves worried that a bookmaker doesn’t want to pay us. Hopefully it will be because we made a mistake ourselves (which we can easily fix) and not because the bookmaker doesn’t have our money any more! (or worse, DOES have our money and simply wants to keep it). So lets look at how to resolve this problem…
Check YOU Aren’t the Problem
Before anything else, you really have to make sure you haven’t made the mistake which has led to this problem. Don’t start off with the assumption that the bookie is a crook and they are trying to steal your money – it will only make this process harder.
First, read any information that you can find on the bookmaker website that describes the steps you need to take before you attempt to withdraw. For example, many bookmakers will require scanned documents to be sent to them to prove you are who you claim to be, and that you live where you claim to live. They might want a scanned copy of photo ID, a utility bill (at the address where your betting account is listed at), a scan of the credit card you used to deposit with (if you used one), or sometimes all three of these.
In other instances, you may be expected to have bet all of your deposit at least once through, or reach a rollover requirement for a bonus you had claimed – the bookmaker shouldn’t hold your money in these cases, but most will not provide your withdrawal straight away but instead ask you if you are certain you want to withdraw early and pay some associated fee or forfeit your bonus – so check your email spam box and your in-house bookmaker message system to see if this has happened.
If you are confident that you have everything in order to enable you to withdraw, then you need to check to make sure you have provided them with the right withdrawal information. You can’t always withdraw using the same method you have deposited with, so make sure you are able to withdraw via the method you want, and make sure you have entered your account number, or whatever, correctly.
Check for Miscommunication
Many withdrawal problems may come from the fact that a bookmaker has requested some information, or some action, but either they have not been very clear with the request or you have misunderstood the request. The result of this is to leave you waiting for them to do something, while they are waiting for you do something – they forget about the situation and you assume they are avoiding paying up.
If in doubt, always go back and read through all of the emails you may have exchanged with the bookmaker in question. Also do a search of your spam inbox if you have one to make sure no crucial emails were missed.
If no emails have been exchanged at this point, be sure to remember this point as you begin to exchange emails – always ask for clarification if in doubt. Don’t try to guess.
Open a Friendly Dialogue
Assuming you have given the bookmaker a reasonable amount of time to make the payment (most good books will make the payment within a few days, but about a week is a reasonable amount of time to allow room for errors or genuine problems), you should send an email to customer service and explain your situation (calmly), and ask for someone to help resolve the situation and settle your account as soon as possible or explain the delay. Don’t demand anything or be rude about it, give them an opportunity to deal with a pleasant customer who they won’t mind helping out.
Persist with the friendly dialogue as long as is appropriate. If they offer a good reason, then take their word for it, and give them an appropriate amount of time to resolve the genuine problem before writing again and asking if the problem has been resolved and if you should be expecting your payment. Exactly how to handle this stage will vary completely from situation to situation, but if the bookmaker offers bad reasons, then try to call them out on it. If they repeatedly offer different reasons and seem to be stalling your payment, then you need to decide when the ‘friendly’ has gone on for long enough and move on to the next stage!
Make an Ultimatum
If you get to this stage, then you may have a real problem. If you have done everything right, been really nice about it and given the bookmaker plenty of time to fulfill his end of the bargain, then it is time to let the bookmaker know that if you don’t receive your money within the next 3 days, then you will go to the various major online sportsbook review services, and any appropriate governing bodies with your complaint.
Give them a specific period of time to make your payment and/or reply. Let them know that if no money or adequate reply is received, you will be contacting the appropriate governing body (this will very from bookmaker to bookmaker) and all of the major online bookmaker review sites to seek their assistance and lodge a general complaint about the service provided by this bookmaker.
If no money has arrived in the designated period of time, move on to the next step.
Contact the bookmaker review sites and any governing bodies
Exactly which site to contact will depend on where the book is registered, and which bookmaker review sites acknowledge its existence. Sports Book Review and The Online Wire are both very large well established websites that have a lot of influence over US facing books. Bookmakers Review and World Online Sports Bookmakers have a more global outlook and tend to get more of the smaller European, British and Asian books in their ratings guides. So if your bookmaker isn’t rated at SBR, it is not likely that SBR will be much help to you, nor would BMR be much help if your bookmaker isn’t rated with them. If your bookmaker isn’t rated at any of these rating websites – you really shouldn’t be betting with them in the first place – what were you thinking?!?
Exactly how you contact the bookmaker review sites can be done one of two ways, and you will have to decide this based on your circumstances. If you think you still have a chance of getting your money (because the book is well known, has a reputation to maintain and/or has a C or better rating on average), then usually the best thing to do will be to go to the most appropriate bookmaker review site and submit a complaint/assistance request form or email the site owner with your problem. Then see if they are able to negotiating on your behalf with their stronger position of power.
If this first option still yields no results, or if you don’t think you have a chance in the first place based on your ‘friendly dialogue’, the only thing left to do is to contact all of the ratings sites and submit your complaint to all of them. Hopefully, this will create enough negative publicity for the book that they will really regret screwing you around and find themselves heavily pressured into apologising and paying you your withdrawal in an effort to reduce the negative publicity.
- SBR Sportsbook Complaint Form
- BMR Complaints Page – information and directions for contact
- WOSB Sportsbook Assistance Contact Form
- TOW Dispute Assistance Page – email contact provided
There is no way to guarantee payment, but this is the best way I know of to give yourself the best chance of receiving payment. If the bookmaker is genuinely suffering from financial hardship, then unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to help – they can’t pay money they don’t have. If you are really lucky, they may find the money after some time and still complete the payment – but this is rare.
How to Avoid the Problem to Begin With
The reality of the situation is that some online sportsbooks and casinos are run by criminals who will have no problem stealing money from people. Your job as an arber is to minimise your risk by avoiding books that might fall under that category. As well as that, some honest books will go bankrupt from time to time. Again, you need to minimise that risk to the best of your ability by never allowing too much of your bankroll to end up in any one bookmaker, to watch out for warning signs of bookmaker collapse (watch chatter on forums, postings on bookmaker review sites, and any delays in payment processing etc.), and to stick with highly reputable books (well regulated ones too – for example Australia has strict regulations ensuring no bookmaker will ever close down and not be able to pay all of its players).
Everything outside of those two scenarios though, you just have to deal with to the best of your ability, along the lines described above. By doing so, you should usually get your money back by just being patient and diligent.