Explanation of Betfair rescue package and FAQs

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Following Sporting Options being put into administration on 15 November, Betfair has put together a rescue package to help former Sporting Options customers who were owed money by Sporting Options when it ceased trading. We have reached an agreement with the administrators under which Betfair acquired a list of all customers and the amounts owed to customers. Under the package Sporting Options customers have the opportunity to apply to receive money and commission rebates from Betfair which, if the application is successful, could lead to every former customer of Sporting Options receiving from Betfair an amount equivalent to the full amount that was owed by Sporting Options. This rescue package reflects Betfair’s commitment to the betting exchange punter and to the growing betting exchange industry. Betfair’s position as the global leader is in no small part due to the confidence that our customers have in the security of their deposits with us. All Sporting Options customers who, according to the information provided to us by the administrators, were owed money by Sporting Options when it ceased trading will receive an invitation to apply to participate in the rescue package in the next few days. Frequently Asked Questions for former Sporting Options customers.Q How does the offer work?A Subject to meeting our Know Your Customer requirements, Sporting Options (SO) customers with up to £1000 in their SO account will have that amount credited to their Betfair account. Customers with over £1000 will receive a minimum of £1000 credited to their Betfair account, or 20% of their total SO account balance, whichever is greater. So, if you had £2000 in your account you will receive £1000, not £400; if you had £20,000 you will receive £4000 in your Betfair account.

Q I had more than £1000 in SO. Have I lost the rest of my money?
A No. There is the opportunity, through continued activity on Betfair, to recoup a large proportion of the balance through rebates of 50% of your monthly Betfair commission. In effect we will put half of your monthly commission back into your Betfair account at the end of each month. This rebate scheme will last either until you have been rebated the rest of your SO balance, or 30 November 2006, whichever is first. In effect we will allow you trade on Betfair at half price until you’ve earned back what SO owed you when it stopped trading.

Q So you’re really just forcing people to use Betfair if they want their money back.
A We are providing a rescue offer which SO customers are free to accept or not. Our first priority is to protect the most vulnerable punters. Larger punters don’t get fully compensated initially, but they will get a minimum of £1000 immediately and then if they want to can effectively trade at half price for up to two years. It’s up to the customer to decide what to do.

Q But why can’t I get all my money back right away?
A If you want to make a claim against Sporting Options, you can follow the instructions at Sporting Options web site. The administrators have already indicated that any money available to former SO customers is likely to be negligible, if there is any at all, and that the process of getting anything back at all will take time. The Betfair rescue offer is something we are doing voluntarily, with the agreement of the Sporting Options administrators, because we want to protect the most vulnerable customers, and ensure SO customers don’t lose confidence in betting exchanges.

Q So does this mean that Betfair has accepted responsibility to pay all SO customers their money?
A Absolutely not! Our rescue offer to former SO customers is something we are doing voluntarily. We have absolutely no connection with Sporting Options plc or any of its subsidiary companies. We are not legally responsible for repaying you any money which you deposited into your SO account but we do want to ensure that the betting exchange industry demonstrates its integrity and retains the goodwill of punters.

Q But it suggests you feel guilty about what happened to Sporting Options.
A Again, absolutely not! The situation with Sporting Options is very unfortunate, and it underlines the importance of properly ring-fencing customers funds in a way that can be audited and spot-checked by the new Gambling Commission. We are the world’s leading betting exchange, and we are delighted to be able to demonstrate our leadership by protecting the most vulnerable punters, through the agreement we have reached with the administrators and our commitment to making this rescue package available.

Q If I participate in the rescue offer, can I also claim against the administrator to get all my money back?
A The administrator has said that the amount of money available to pay SO customers is likely to be negligible, if there is any at all. You can make a claim against SO, but we will tell the administrators how much you have received under the rescue offer from time to time and the administrators will take this into account in deciding how to treat you in the administration. It is a condition of our agreement with the administrators that, to the extent that you receive payments or rebates under the rescue package you must waive any claim you have against SO, but your ability to make a claim is otherwise unaffected.

Q Does the offer work for those who already have a Betfair account?
A Yes, this offer is open to all SO customers irrespective of whether you already have a Betfair account. Those who don’t have a Betfair account will need to open one to take advantage of the offer. All SO customers wanting to participate (whether existing Betfair customers or not) must go through our KYC procedures.

Q What does Know Your Customer entail?
A KYC has three components: 1) a photo ID such as your passport, drivers licence or national ID card; 2) a confirmation of address such as a utility bill or council tax bill addressed to you and showing your correct address; 3) the card and account details for the way you will deposit and withdraw funds with Betfair. This last requires a photocopy of the front only of your card and a bank statement for the relevant card or account. One of the forms of ID must be an original document, which we will return to you if you include a Stamped, Self-Addressed Envelope.

Q So how do I go about claiming?
A It is a condition of the offer that each person wishing to take advantage of it has or opens a Betfair account. If you have not got a Betfair account, you must open one. You do not actually have to fund it. Then you must logon to the Sporting Options website as you normally would, and enter your Betfair username so we can verify your identity. Then, on satisfactory completion of your application form (including KYC information) and our acceptance of it your Betfair account will be credited accordingly.

Q Is there anyone who cannot apply to participate in the rescue offer?
A We will not accept applications from anyone who we cannot identify as a valid SO account holder, or who does not meet our KYC requirements. We will not accept applications from former customers whose accounts have been closed by Betfair.

Q When will I receive my invitation to apply?
A We will send the invitation to all former SO customers as soon as we can. The information on customer names and account balances only became available to us once we had reached agreement with the administrator, and it will take some time to send letters to everyone. You should expect to receive details of the package by email within the next few days. A copy of the application form will also be downloadable on both the SO and on Betfair  website.

Q When will I receive my money?
A Once you have opened a Betfair account (if you don’t have one already), logged into SO to verify your identity, submitted the application form with the relevant KYC documentation and been vetted by Betfair. (If asked, we intend that this will take about a week, but it will depend on our ability to process applications.)

Q I thought I had more money in my SO account than you have refunded.
A The rescue offer is based on the amount which SO told us was in your account when the company ceased trading. We relied on this information when we devised the rescue package. If you think you are owed more you will need to contact the administrators, whose contact details are available on Sporting Options website.

Q Could this happen at Betfair/is my money safe at Betfair?
A Your money is safe with Betfair. All our customer funds are held on trust in ring-fenced client accounts with the Royal Bank of Scotland and are completely segregated from company funds. We never trade for our own account, so your money is never at risk.

Q Why is Betfair doing this?
A This is primarily a loyalty scheme to protect the smaller, more vulnerable punters and to reassure punters that betting on a betting exchange is a safe and reliable leisure activity.

Q Who can I contact for more information?
A If you have further specific questions about the rescue offer or about KYC, please email your queries to rescue@betfair.com.

If you have general questions about Betfair, please check our website at www.betfair.com, or email info@betfair.com.

If you have questions about the administration of Sporting Options, you should contact the administrators, whose details are available on the SO website.