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IBAS Reports 21% Increase in Dispute Monies Paid to Punters - Thursday 1st July 2010

The Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) reported an increase in the amount of monies they obtained for customers from the bookmaking industry in 2009.

The 21 per cent increase – an extra £67,000 – meant that the adjudication service gained £385,044 for customers over the course of the year. A total of 2,145 adjudication forms were sent in which marked a two per cent decrease on the previous year.

Of those forms 48 cases were escalated to the panel which includes members from a variety of different backgrounds but all sharing a common knowledge of betting and gambling.

Interestingly, 40 per cent of cases that escalated to the panel were conceded by the bookmaker (prior to a ruling) or found in favour of the customer through the issuing of a formal ruling.

IBAS chief executive Chris O’Keeffe said: ‘These figures are an indication that operators are conceding more readily than ever before. I believe this is in some part due to the new regulatory and litigation channels now available to the customer, and in part due to a greater commercial awareness that now exists across all sectors of the industry.

‘At times a senior member of staff will intervene during the process to overrule customer service managers or agents when all aspects of the case and the consequent negative implications begin to unfold. ‘

Other interesting statistics included football remaining the medium which obtained most disputes (32 per cent) followed by horse racing, which accounted for 22 per cent of disputes. Internet disputes showed a continued increase.

Prevent of disputes has been a recent priority for IBAS with emphasis placed on the World Cup through electronic literature sent to IBAS members and additional information available to customers on the IBAS website.

O’Keeffe commented: ‘Staff awareness is crucial. Educating staff on the various bets is very important although we can’t expect them to have an encyclopaedic knowledge. It’s about a programme of information and education, education for staff and information for customers. When you’ve got big sporting events like the World Cup you don’t want to make it seem difficult or complicated for customers.’

Looking ahead, O’Keeffe is keen to see a change to the licensing requirements which would ensure all operators were registered with an adjudication body: ‘There’s going to be a review of the LCCP in 2011 and we’re pressing for a section to be added where operators have to name their adjudication body.

‘It doesn’t have to be IBAS obviously but it would be good if there was some sort of accreditation preventing operators naming relatives, etc. The majority of bookmakers, though – in excess of 90 per cent – are IBAS registered.’

Overall O’Keeffe believes the industry should feel positive about the results: ‘We looked at just over 2,000 disputes. When you think of the millions of bets that go through on scrappy betting slips, online or at the track it goes to show how good the industry is with so few disputes raised.’

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