Bookmaker lodges multiple account complaint with Gambling Commission


Matched betting hit the news this week when The Guardian reported Geoff Banks bookmaker has lodged a complaint with the UK Gambling Commission after his website was flooded with new customers taking advantage of the free bet sign up offer.

The complaint to the Gambling Commission concerns the issue of multiple accounts, a grey area in the world of online betting. Banks feels his website has fallen victim to people who have deliberately falsified registrations in order to make as much as possible from the free bets on offer and has asked the Commission to investigate.

Banks is the son of flamboyant racecourse bookmaker John Banks who gained a reputation as a fearless on-course layer in the 1960s and 1970s. Banks snr owned a string of 34 betting shops around Glasgow before selling up in 1972 to concentrate on his racecourse activities. Geoff followed in his father’s footsteps, working alongside him for many years before taking over the business in 1998. Presently, Geoff Banks owns racecourse pitches at major tracks like Ascot, Cheltenham and York in addition to a successful telephone and online betting service.

He accepts there is no issue with punters exploiting betting promotions and is quoted in The Guardian as saying: “There is nothing illegal or wrong in people taking advantage of bookmakers if they are silly enough to make free bet offers. One person can take up as many offers as they like and bookmakers should not expect loyalty or anything else.

“But what is happening here is people are opening multiple accounts with the same bookmaker using what they call ‘friends’ or ‘family’ accounts, and setting up bank accounts on behalf of them, with things like Ffrees, Skrill and pre-paid Mastercards, which have much lower verification requirements.”

The use of multiple accounts is a topic that often crops up in online betting circles and is something we do not advocate here at It’s perfectly fine to take advantage of offers using our own identity and correct personal details but the waters become muddied if using false information or betting on behalf of friends and family.

There is a risk that customers could drift into the sphere of fraudulent activity if using false ID, placing bets on behalf of other people could be construed as acting as an unlicensed betting operator while section 42 of the gambling Act makes it an offence to cheat at gambling. There was a case in 2012 where a man was jailed for using fraudulent id for opening betting accounts and while an extreme example, it should serve as a warning to anyone considering following such a path.

Like his father, Geoff Banks is not one to shy away from publicity and made a number of appearances on the old Channel 4 racing’s Morning Line where he could be very forthright in his views. A self-proclaimed ‘traditionalist’, Banks has been critical of the bonus culture in modern gambling and admits he doesn’t approve of free bets and bonuses while accepting it’s necessary to offer inducements to open new accounts.

We’ll watch with interest for any outcome to Banks’ complaint. Similar issues have caused a great deal of inconvenience to customers of betting sites and it would be useful for the genuine customer to have clarity on what is and what is not acceptable. 12Bet, and Fun88 withheld payments during Cheltenham 2016 amid fears of fraudulent activity but it was later found that they had underestimated the popularity of their offers and their own security procedures were lacking.








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