While some punters may not like it, bookmakers have to protect their assets and try their best to create a level playing field. It is for this reason that they are cautious when it comes to things such as suspicious betting activity. They don’t have to accept bets and can use the reasoning of being suspicious around them as being why they void the selections and don’t let you place them.
Of course, there is the caveat here that those who feel like they have an edge and find something the bookmaker doesn’t spot are running the risk of being classed as suspicious when in theory, they are just being smarter. There is a fine line between the two, something that has caused many battles in the past, no doubt, with those punters who are switched on and able to find opportunities.
Should you fall foul of this, either because you are placing suspicious bets or not, then the least that will happen is that the bet will be void and not paid out. However, this could lead to investigations and questions asked, either from the bookmaker or, if this is big, from authorities outside of them, either in the betting world or potentially the sporting world.
Understanding Suspicious Betting
The key thing to first note here is that for the vast majority of those who enjoy betting, you won’t ever come near a suspicious bet, even if you happen to jump on the same selection at the same time and the biggest odds. The reason is that we all usually have a pattern to our betting, which explains what you have done and why, but for those who are placing suspicious bets, that pattern is usually not in place.
The organisation behind the running of this and working out suspicious betting patterns is known as IBIA, which stands for the International Betting Integrity Association. The work alongside the governing bodies of sport this is high-level, and compare betting patterns with event results to see if there are any worrying signs.
The IBIA will flag up an unusual activity they see, which can then be investigated further by the relevant bookmakers. This is a worldwide organisation, so the bets and events don’t have to be from the same place for this to be seen, bets from the other side of the world can be tracked and looked at.
In terms of the bets themselves, there are a number of reasons why these may be flagged. Things such as a lot more bets than usual for an event of this kind, a lot of money placed on the winning outcome, strange markets being used that could be manipulated, and more. In terms of who is involved, this is where bookmakers will look at customer profiles, see who placed the bets, and how likely it is that they are involved.
Obviously, the more bets that are placed which ring alarm bells, the more suspicious the whole investigation becomes.
What Happens When Suspicious Betting Takes Place?
Of course, it will come as no surprise to read that bookmakers do not want to pay out on bets which are deemed to be suspicious. For the moments when this occurs, bookmakers have a number of different actions that they can take, which you will need to cooperate with.
The first is that they will ask you for more information about your bet. They will ask you about it, when placed, why placed, and look at how this bet falls into place with the other bets on your account. For example, if you always bet £2 and on horse racing, a £100 bet on a player to be shown a card in a football game is going to raise alarm bells and take more explaining.
At the point of requesting more information, it is highly likely that your bookmaker will suspend the payment of the bet pending their investigation into it. They can do this if they have reason to believe the bet is suspicious. They may go a step further and suspend the account, so you are not able to place any bets with them until they are happy with the explanation.
The usual rule around this is that companies can hold onto the money for 30 days before making a decision. However, it should be noted here that they can extend this period for a reasonable time if they feel further investigation is required. Anyone can request this, the sport governing body, IBIA, the bookmaker themselves, or a legal gambling license provider, such as the UK Gambling Commission.
Not only will bookmakers suspend or close accounts if the bet is deemed to be suspicious, but they will also refer the case to the police for them to conduct a full investigation into the bet and why you placed it. Bookmakers are clear to add this to their terms and conditions, stating that they are not responsible for any losses incurred when they believe suspicious betting activity has taken place.
Can Innocent People Get Caught Up in This?
Sadly, yes, there will be occasions when innocent people get caught up in suspicious betting, and they will have to explain themselves to the authorities. However, as long as you are betting in your usual manner, you should have no problem explaining the bet you placed and why.
It will be highly unlikely that the bet will be the first of that kind for you, it is likely you will have used that sport, betting market, the type of price, and wagered at the same time, at some point before, which all goes towards helping you explain things.
It can be very frustrating if you are caught up in this as a genuine punter, and you may find your account either suspended or limited while the investigation takes place. However, as someone who has nothing to hide, the best course of action is to follow what is asked of you, explain in detail the bet, and look for previous examples of you placing this type of bet, even if it’s with a different company.