We limit some gamblers to benefit others, say bookmakers

We limit some gamblers to benefit others, say bookmakers

Ireland’s biggest bookmakers have defended their practice of limiting the amount some customers can bet.

Paddy Power, Boylesports and Ladbrokes routinely restrict winning customers, an investigation by The Times has found. Industry insiders said that the process was not transparent enough.

Paddy Power said that it managed financial risk and worked to prevent bets that were against its terms and conditions.

“We take a ‘one for all’ rather than an ‘all for one’ view so, for instance, if we’re prepared to lose €2 million on an event, we would much prefer to lose €2,000 to a thousand different customers rather than €2 million to one individual,” it said.

Boylesports denied restricting winning customers and said that it would not comment on evidence that a customer was restricted to 14c when he tried to place a bet on a horse that its traders had priced at 11/8.

A spokesman for the company said: “Disclosing a precise reason for a restriction would lead some customers to continue to engage in abusive behaviour by circumventing the precise way the original behaviour was detected.

“It has been our strategy to be very price competitive and, as a result, it would not make sense for us to shy away from customers who are betting on price.”

Ladbrokes Ireland, which recently exited examinership after receiving €12.8 million investment from its UK parent company, would not comment on a customer’s claim that his bet was cancelled in a Dublin city centre shop when a trader in the company’s head office complained to shop staff that he had been allowed to bet €50 on a 14/1 horse.

A spokeswoman for Ladbrokes Ireland said: “The vast majority of our customers are able to bet their requested stake at the available odds. Our priority is protecting value for the overwhelming majority of our customer base, who are recreational punters, over a small number of highly and solely price-sensitive clients who, as a proportion of our entire customer base, remain very small,” a spokeswoman for Ladbrokes Ireland said.

None of the three companies would say what percentage of customers were restricted from betting.