Punters Take Ladbrokes and Betfred to the Cleaners

By Martin Green27 October 2019
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Fred Done

Ladbrokes looks set to escape a fine for encouraging victims of a £1 million fraud not to report it to the industry regulator. Punter Tony Parente stole from five different victims in order to fund a gambling habit that supposedly cost him up to £60,000 a day. The victims made a complaint against Ladbrokes for accepting stolen funds, and they said it only agreed to compensate them a combined sum of £975,000 if they did not bring the complaint to any regulator. The UK Gambling Commission investigated the case and decided to issue guidance to operators over non-disclosure agreements, but said it would not impose sanctions on Ladbrokes. Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs a cross-party parliamentary group on gambling-related harm, told The Guadian that the decision shows the commission is “not fit for purpose”.

Ladbrokes took a major hit when Cox Plate favourite Lys Gracieux surged to victory in the big race at Moonee Valley. The bookmaker is the headline sponsor of the race, and it decided against insuring the international bonus as money flowed in on the Japanese mare. “It is the first time we have offered the international bonus and it is looking very likely we are going to have cough up the $2 million,” said Ladbrokes chief executive Dean Shannon before the race. There will be some nervous moments in the office for us, but it all adds to the drama of what should be a great race.” Lys Gracieux duly blitzed her rivals and seized victory.

William Hill has decided to pay out a teenager that backed Japan to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals at odds of 150/1. The price should have been 20/1, as 150/1 was the price on Japan winning the tournament, but a member of staff made an error and wrote down the incorrect odds. Cameron McGregor went into the betting shop to collect his winnings after Japan defied the odds to reach the last eight of the big tournament, but staff refused to pay his £10 bet at 150/1. They said they would only pay him at 20/1, leaving him £1,300 out of pocket. He went public with his grievance and William Hill decided to pay him in full. “We are paying out the bet in full and it was a human error on our part,” said William Hill. McGregor now plans to buy a personalised licence plate with his winnings.

Betfred had to pay out £35,000 to a 47-year-old woman from Stourbridge after she had a “vivid dream” that yielded four lucky numbers: 1, 19, 22 and 44. She went to Betfred and put £5 on those numbers in its 49s lottery game, and when they came in she netted a cool £35,000. “It was the middle of the night, around midnight to be exact, and for some reason in my dream I had been wishing for four numbers so I wrote them down before I went back to sleep,” said Supansa Tipton. “I just can’t believe it. I’ve never won anything like this before and it’s all because of that dream.” Betfred boss Fred Done said: “I normally have nightmares, very often about my team Manchester United. Thank heavens Supansa didn’t have a dream about becoming a millionaire! It really is fantastic that she’s won big from such a small stake.”