Already a hot-button issue in the uk, a controversial bookmaking practice is starting to disperse in the U.S.’s rising legal sports betting market, also.
Bookmakers out of London to Las Vegas are refusing to take bets from a rising number of customers whose only crime might be trying to win.
The full scope of the problem in the U.K. is difficult to determine, but it is believed only a small fraction of the roughly 8.5 million”punters” (the European word for bettors) are affected. Gaming experts say sportsbooks may have closed as many as 50,000 gambling accounts in the last several years, and just as most punters have had their betting limits confined to mere pittance.
As one U.K. bettor place it,”If you attempt to win, they don’t let you play anymore.”
“Yes, bookmakers are severely restricting or final accounts for what appears to be the simple fact that these individuals are winning,” said U.K. gambling consultant Steve Donoughue, secretariat for an all-party parliamentary group that concentrates on gaming.
“The hilariousness of it,” Donoughue added,”is that they restricted among my member’s accountsand he is a Lord.”
The profit-minded corporations who have entered the bookmaking game, however, look at it from the perspective of their bottom line and wonder exactly what business would choose to cater to clients believed to be”uneconomical.” It is like inviting a world-class competitive eater to dine often at your all-you-can-eat buffet.
American sports gambling is not immune to the clinic. Banning or limiting sophisticated players has become a normal part of Las Vegas sports betting for decades, and, like in the U.K., there’s absolutely nothing illegal about it.
Bettors state the practice is increasing and has even occurred in some of the new states (for instance, New Jersey) that have entered to the now-legal bookmaking match in recent months.
“Americans ought to be worried,” said Brian Chappell, a creator for the U.K. bettor advocacy group Justice for Punters. “It is coming.”
A reputation for sportsbook giant William Hill
Back in Nevada, refusing to take bets from any customer, from card counters to wise-guy sports bettors, is entirely in any casino’s legal rights. From Caesars Palace to the Venetian to local areas like Station Casinos, each bookmaker in city will tell you — albeit somewhat quietly — which they’ve 86’d clients for one reason or another.
Seasoned bettors are involved, however, the custom of banning or restricting accounts isn’t only increasing, but the reasoning behind the decisions is getting more and more suspect.
Many believe that the only thing betting intelligently will get you at some stores is a one-way ticket to being thrown outside. An iconic U.K. bookmaker that’s quickly growing its footprint in the U.S. is reported to be by far the most competitive with the tactic.
ESPN communicated with 20 bettors for this article who said they had been banned from gambling with William Hill U.S. in Nevada. Two said they already have been cut off in the new William Hill books in New Jersey, also, something the Division of Gaming Enforcement is reviewing.
“In our worldour community,” explained Joe Fortuna, one of the professional bettors who says he was cut off by William Hill in Nevada,”everyone knows you’ll get thrown out of there.”
“It is not even very close,” said another Las Vegas bettor who’d been limited by William Hill and asked anonymity. “They are by far the worst.”
Founded in London in 1934, William Hill was granted a Nevada gaming license in 2012. The company has grown into the biggest bookmaker by quantity in Nevada, serving over 100,000 customers and operating at more than 100 locations — such as at casinos such as Casino Royale and Hooters on the Las Vegas Strip. They have the most customers and, in turn, probably have the most complaints directed at them.
A vast majority of William Hill’s clients are recreational bettors that wager small amounts and never examine the limits, house rules or gambling regulations. Industry sources say it is the remaining sliver of bettors that make the publication uneasy enough to eliminate a number of them from the equation.