The ultimate guide to getting your way with the bookies

We are at war with the bookies!

We aren’t really, but I thought it would be a catchy headline. We love bookies since they are how we make money football betting! Sometimes though issues can arise between you the punter, and your bookie of choice.

In this article we want to cover some ways you can state your case and get your way when these issues arise. At the end of the day the bookies are running a service, and if you can learn to navigate that service you will be in a better position.

The Bookies

No matter who you are, nor where you are, you use a bookmaker. Therefore, it pays to know a bit about your bookmakers, hence us creating this little guide for you. Admittedly, we only have first hand experience of using British football bookmakers, but we know people from all over the world who have experienced different things with bookmakers that may be of use to you all.

The First Rule of Fight Club… err Bookies is

The first thing to remember is that the bookmakers really are a law unto themselves. There are some basic rules that they all have to follow, but aside from that, they will basically do what suits them.

A good example of that is to view the differences between bookmakers as to what they do if a game from your accumulator is postponed/abandoned.

Some bookmakers will remove the game and pay out. Some will make the entire accumulator void. Some will wait to 24 hours to see if the game is eventually played. Some will wait longer than that. And so on.

Because each bookmaker can decide how it handles these things you can’t assume because the new bookie you’re using will act the same way as the old bookie.

More serious issues

Different bookies having different policies doesn’t seem that bad, but unfortunately it doesn’t end there.

We’ve also had members of ours have their bonuses removed from their account because they’ve won too much money.

Some bookmakers have banned individuals for making too much money, which they don’t seem to advertise.

If we were better at marketing ourselves we would probably be shouting that from the rooftops – “Bookies hate us! Here is why” but of course this type of thing sucks, it can leave you feeling helpless and down money that you had already spent in your head.

Sometimes bookmakers make mistakes

When a bookmaker makes a mistake, they tend to claw the money back. I recall one bookmaker not doing so, which I thought was good of them, but that was many years ago now. Basically, their stream was running about a minute behind mine, I saw a team had scored but the bookmaker hadn’t updated their site, so I took that team to score the next goal and won. That was one of the more pleasant experiences. The majority are very disappointing, though. I remember one instance where they changed the odds after the event had finished, insisting that a mistake had been made at the time they were advertised. I challenged it, but didn’t get anywhere, as they’re a law unto themselves.

Know your minimum withdrawal amounts

Another confusing aspect I came across was that a bookmaker would only let you withdraw your winnings if your balance was +£100. For some of you, that’s probably a drop in the ocean. However, I’d imagine that, for the majority, that’s a lot of money to have in a betting account. As you all know, there are no guarantees that you’ll win upon making your initial deposit, so be careful as to which bookmaker you sign up.

As you can plainly see, even if you don’t imbibe all of the T&Cs, it’s still worth collating information for relevant topics so you know where you stand.

Know your markets

Some bookmakers like to mess with your heads by not making things clear. For example, with one bookmaker, a -1 handicap can mean the Asian version, which means you get your stake back if the team in question wins by a solitary goal. However, with another bookmaker, the -1 handicap can mean that the team needs to win by two clear goals – or you lose.

They will seldom give you that information, though, because they want you to bet with them and to take your chances. They know that their best source of revenue is via repeat business, so in their eyes, it’s worth them taking the chance on you gambling with them and potentially sticking around either way.

A good way of marginally improving your potential winnings is to try using Asian lines rather than standard markets. What I mean by that is that, with some bookmakers, you will find better odds on a -0.5 bet rather than a double chance market. Both -0.5 and double chance are identical. However, they do have slightly different odds for reasons I have never quite understood, so familiarise yourself with them, and go for the one that gives you the bigger payout. No, it’s not a massive difference, but any money you can get is better in your pocket than theirs!

We’ve written about the difference between Asian and European handicaps before, if you’re interested.

Good to know!

It sounds obvious, but remember that the bookmakers are only in it for themselves. I’ve spoken to people from Romania, Israel, and most parts of Africa where the leagues they can bet on are very restricted. Furthermore, the number of bookmakers that actually accept their custom are rather few, so their odds tend to be really poor when compared to bigger bookmakers.

In situations like this it really pays to do your research and pick the right online bookie.

What can I do if I have been wronged?

If you feel that you have been wronged by a bookmaker, you can take the issue to them.

Personally, I find the most rewarding way to do so is via LiveChat – most bookmakers have this facility but don’t like advertising it because they don’t want to be overloaded with random queries.

Upon doing so, remain polite, gracious, and honest – but firm.

Explain what happened, what it is you take exception to, and try to be as helpful as possible with the details that they request.

If you keep pushing them, and your request is reasonable/not too expensive, then they’ll generally give in.

Having spent a number of years in Customer Service, both on the giving and receiving end, the universal truth I’ve unearthed is that a customer that will not go away is one that will generally get what they want.

Companies (including bookmakers) fear bad press on social media, which can be incredibly damaging nowadays, which is another string to your bow. I don’t tell you this so you can abuse it, but more so you are aware of how the bookmakers work, because I am sure that a lot of you have been ripped off before now, and it’d be nice if you were able to prevent such as often as possible.

So which bookmakers should I use?

That’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t know where all of you reside. Personally, where possible, I would always recommend Bet365. Yes, we have an affiliate program with them, but that’s not the reason I recommend them. I use them on a personal basis, and I have done so for a long time. I use them because they have the most diverse markets, lots of streaming, and because they’re more reasonable than the others when I’ve interacted with them. They’re not flawless – no bookmaker is, really – but they’re the best of a tricky lot, in my opinion.

Success Stories

Do you have any success stories or horror stories with bookmakers messing you around? Let us know in the comments. We’re especially keen for you to share any tips that have helped you in the past that may help someone else in the future.

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