IBAS was launched in 1998 by Trinity Mirror (then publishers of the ‘Sporting Life’) as the Independent Betting Arbitration Service.
Before the 2005 Gambling Act, the law offered no protection to either party in a disputed bet. Although off-course betting had been legalised in the UK by the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act, it was considered that a bet was a 'gentleman's agreement' and so those aggrieved by the way their bets had been settled had nowhere to turn.
A regular consumer column The Green Seal Service in the Mirror Group-owned Sporting Life newspaper had informally addressed the grievances of bettors in the UK and Republic of Ireland by informal agreement with the major bookmaking companies but by the mid-late 1990s there was a growing recognition that the scale and nature of complaints justified a stand-alone service.
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