Bet365 could lead to financial ruin for families if they fail to follow the recommendations to help gambling addicts. Critics warn

  • Bet365 did not make any modifications to their website in an effort to help gambling addicts. 
  • Bookmaker’s growth has been phenomenal and its chief executive gave herself a bonus
  • Behavioural Intelligences Team urges betting firms to get rid of prompts
  • According to authors, customers setting high limits can lead to higher caps. They should be removed. 

Bet365 could lead to financial ruin for families if they fail to follow the recommendations to help gambling addicts.

The company’s researchers discovered that a slight tweak to its website could discourage excessive spending.

Bet365 is still not making the changes, almost a full year since the publication.

The online-only bookmaker has experienced massive growth, allowing its billionaire chief executive Denise Coates to pay herself £469million in a single year – a record for a UK executive. 

Researchers working with the company had found a small tweak to the firm's website would discourage overspending (stock image)

Researchers working alongside the company found that a slight tweak to their website could discourage excessive spending (stock image).

The Behavioural Intelligences Team (BIT), which is an advisory organization part-owned in the Cabinet Office, found that betting firms should remove any prompts that emphasize large deposit limits.

These limits enable punters to limit the amount they may deposit into their accounts each month.

The authors suggested they should be removed because customers set higher caps than necessary.

However, this week the Bet365 website still offered the option of a £500,000 limit for a single month. In response, the bookmaker, which turns over £2.8billion per year, said the change is ‘scheduled to be implemented in the coming months’.

Carolyn Harris, Labour’s chairman of an all-party group to address gambling related harm said that Bet365 could drive families into financial ruin, offering unaffordable deposits limits and ridiculously high deposit limits.

“It puts profits above people and delays vital changes, even when it is presented with data from customers. This is beyond belief.

But the authors said extremely high caps led to customers setting much larger limits, and recommended they be removed (stock image)

The authors noted that excessive caps could lead to customers setting higher limits and they recommended their removal (stock photo).

Dr Philip Newall is a member the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling which advises Gambling Commission. He said that while the industry claims they do not use evidence to guide their decisions, there’s a field study of gold standard showing exactly what the industry could be doing. Bet365, however, has yet to implement the results.

The BIT report found customers who were not offered very high caps set deposit limits of £866 on average, 45 per cent lower than before.

These betters also deposited close to a fifth less, as much as £1,020 per year – although the study authors warned they could not rule out that this finding was down to chance due to the limited sample size.

Bet365 explained that since the publication of this report, Bet365 had continued to make improvements and enhance its safer gambling strategies and practices. Bet365’s proposed change to deposit limits will be in place within the following months.

“Player deposit limits” are only one part of the system of player-led control that Bet365 provides. Other elements include self-exclusion, time outs and reality checks.

Mrs Coates’ £469million paypacket for 2019/20 was a 45 per cent rise on the previous year and more than every FTSE 100 chief executive put together. She also received 699 times the amount Bet365 gave to GambleAware under the industry’s voluntary levy system.