Mike Quigley

Irish horse racing, betting and other stuff

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The saga of a “sporting” bet

Having read the preview article in the Racing Post, analysing the Eastbourne tennis match between Ward and Lopez, I decided to follow the RP advice to back the match to go to three sets. Sportingbet were offering 5/2 so I had the maximum stake I was permitted at the price (£20) before placing the balance of my bet with William Hill at odds of 12/5. The Sportingbet wager was placed on 15/6/10 at 08:28 and the William Hill bet a couple of minutes later.

The match took place that afternoon with Lopez retiring when the score was 6-3 5-4 against him. I knew immediately my bets should be settled as void as two sets had not been completed. William Hill had settled by the end of the day and duly credited my account.

Sportingbet however settled my bet as a loser. This action provoked email correspondence with the company in which they tried to convince me that my bet was a loser. The content of these emails is reproduced below:

17 June 2010 Sportingbet to MQ

Reference number: XXX Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us. 
Subject: no subject

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us.

I can confirm that this bet has been settled correctly, you backed 3 sets to be played in the match and there were only 2 completed.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely, 
Kelly

17 June 2010 MQ to Sportingbet

Two sets were not completed, that is my point. See the attached link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8742616.stm

Lopez retired when losing at 6-3 5-4. I had exactly the same bet with William Hill who have the same rules as your company and they, correctly, declared the market void.

Mike Quigley

19 June 2010 Sportingbet to MQ

Reference number: XXX Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us. 
Subject: no subject

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us.

I can confirm that your query has been forwarded to the Traders Department.

We will contact you once they get back to us.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely,

22 June MQ to Sportingbet

What is the outcome of my query please? It is quite straightforward because only one set was completed.

Therefore the bet should be void according to your (and other bookmakers’) rules.

Mike Quigley

22 June Sportingbet to MQ

Reference number: XXX Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us. 
Subject: no subject

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us. Regarding your query, were (sic) still awaiting the traders to confirm there (sic) decision on this bet. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely, 
Barry

25 June MQ to Sportingbet

When are you going to deal with this? The bet was placed ten days ago and is very straightforward.

The second set was not completed so the bet is void. Poor customer service.

Mike Quigley

25 June Sportingbet to MQ

Reference number: XXX Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us. 
Subject: no subject

Dear Michael,

Thank you for contacting us. Sorry about the delay.

Unfortunately the in-play bets for these markets stand, so the bet is indeed settled correctly.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely, 
Shyam

25 June MQ to Sportingbet

The bet was NOT placed inplay. It was placed at 08:28 BST, a time at which professional tennis matches are not played in this country. 

Please settle the bet correctly according to your rules below:-

"Abandoned Matches/Retirements

If a match is abandoned or a player retires, all bets will be void, unless the bet has already reached its natural conclusion. Bets on Match Prices will stand if one set has been completed, otherwise these bets will be void."

Two sets were not completed therefore as the bet was on the number of sets in the match the bet is void. See the attached link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8742616.stm

Lopez retired when losing at 6-3 5-4. I had exactly the same bet with William Hill who have the same rules as your company and they, correctly, declared the market void.

Mike Quigley

25 June Sportingbet to MQ

Reference number: XXX Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us. 
Subject: Betting settlement

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us. We have just got a replay from our trading department stating the answer as follows:

" The market was framed around the number of sets played, and 2 sets were played, hence bet stands:

Abandoned Matches/Retirements

If a match is abandoned or a player retires, all bets will be void, unless the bet has already reached its natural conclusion. 2 sets were played."

We apologise for any inconvenience. Many thanks.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely, 
Rita

25 June MQ to Sportingbet

As I keep telling you two sets WERE NOT COMPLETED. Lopez retired at 5-4 down in the second set. I am so incensed that you cannot deal with this. The sum of money involved is only £20 however I will be calling IBAS tomorrow to get the appropriate paperwork to make a claim for my money to be refunded unless you settle this bet correctly today. Incidentally why did you say it was an in-play market in your previous e-mail when clearly at 08:30am it could not have been? IBAS will love that.

Mike Quigley

26 June Sportingbet to MQ

Reference number: XXX Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us. 
Subject: no subject

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us. I am very sorry but only 1 set needs to be completed for the result to be final if a player retires.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely, 
Ronan

26 June MQ to Sportingbet

That is true for match result bets but NOT for set betting or betting on the number of sets. Email me a copy of the relevant rule if you think I am wrong.

Mike Quigley

26 June (2) MQ to Sportingbet

I'll save you time, this is your rule which applies:

Abandoned Matches/Retirements

If a match is abandoned or a player retires, all bets will be void, unless the bet has already reached its natural conclusion. 

Bets on Match Prices will stand if one set has been completed, otherwise these bets will be void.

So the bet is void because: -

a. The bet has not reached its natural conclusion (the second set was not completed)

b. The bet was not a match bet and therefore the one set rule does not apply.  

Mike Quigley 

 

Having had enough of this charade I sent the details of the disputed bet to IBAS and awaited their decision. 

On 29 August I received their ruling and a copy of their judgement is attached.

Having won the case I sent the following email to Sportingbet:

3 September MQ to Sportingbet

Sirs,

No doubt you will have received a communication from IBAS (dispute ref no. 0024142) on the subject of my bet placed with you on the number of sets played in a tennis match in June. You will note that IBAS has ruled in my favour (as I told you they would) and I look forward to receiving my £20 refund as the proceeds of you now correctly voiding the bet.

Yours in sport

Mike Quigley

3 September Sportingbet to MQ

Dear Michael, 
Thank you for contacting us. 
Regarding your query of Bet ID XXX we have applied to your account the £20 as advised by IBAS ruling. We appreciate your patience and cooperation! Many thanks! 
Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions. 
Sincerely, 
Rita 

On Saturday 4 September I attempted to log into my account to check the credit had been applied. I could not do so and was greeted with a message to contact customer services. This I did by using the online chat facility. I explained my predicament and after a short delay the operator told me that a “management decision” had been made to close my account. No further explanation was offered. I asked about the funds in the account and was told this would be sent to me.

I sent this email to Sportingbet on the following Monday:

6 September MQ to Sportingbet

When I attempted to log into my account on Saturday I was informed that there were technical issues as to why I was unable to log in. On contacting customer service I was informed that my account had been closed and no further explanation was offered.

If you have closed my account I wish to know the reasons why and also why I was not informed that you were taking this action.

Further if the account is closed what is the situation with the funds I have on account? In addition I hold a number of ante post bets with you.

What is the situation with these bets, do they stand? If they stand then I will require copies, as I have no access to monitor them because of your draconian action. 
Mike Quigley

 

I received no response to the above email. Miraculously when I attempted to log in the next day I was successful.

However since discovering that the account remains "open" I have tried to place a number of bets and I am constantly greeted with the message "stake too high". This even occurs when the stake is reduced right down to, say, £1.00 each way, so for all practical purposes the account has effectively been closed. 

You can draw your own conclusions on the conduct of this company. 

However in terms of credibility and integrity, I think it's by far the worst online betting company with which I have conducted business and for that reason I would encourage all punters not to trade with them.

Mike Quigley

Updated 27 October 2010 

 
Attachment: IBAS ruling