What is happening at BetButler?
There has been a lot of chatter recently over what has been happening with BetButler and why withdrawals have been so delayed over the last few months. Notably the TGT BetButler complaint thread has been very active, and the payout one rather sparse.
If you’re not aware of the issues a bit of background is in order. BetButler are a betting brokerage service. The aim is to find you the best odds available for the bet you want to make, with a commission being paid on any winnings as the fee for the service.
In the last few months BetButler has come under increasing fire for the late payment of withdrawals and the poor state of their customer service which has seen phones go unanswered and emails not replied to. Specific issues have also been raised as to why there was a winding up petition against the parent company BetClearer and late accounts filed for both BetClearer and BetButler. Added to that a change in terms and conditions related to the separation of client funds and the signs were not good for people getting their money back.
We’ve been trying hard to get BetButler to the table to talk to us for the past few weeks but were unable to get past the intercom on the front door. However today we are happy to say that we have had a fruitful conversation and managed to ascertain some key information that as customers you should be aware of.
A word of warning comes with this information, it has come direct from BetButler. If it is further delaying tactics we would be very disappointed, but that is possible. However taken at face value this is the most positive news that’s come out of BetButler since the withdrawal issues were first reported.
So what were the factors which have caused the delays?
Increased customer base
Not normally considered a bad thing, BetButler have admitted that their customers services department have been overwhelmed by a huge increase in their client base recently (notably off the back of specific offers and promotions) which equates to a five-fold increase in active customers. To counter this the customers service department is being doubled in size.
Change of terms and conditions regarding separation of client funds
Whilst client and operating funds are kept separate, the client funds are placed with bookmakers for the wagers being made. This means that although the accounts are separate, in the event of the liquidation of BetButler it would be very difficult to extract the funds from the bookmakers as that is a BetButler liability and taken in good faith by the other bookmakers. Because of this the Gambling Commission insisted the terms and conditions were changed to more accurately reflect the situation with regard to client funds.
KYC withdrawal process
This is the process by which customers are identified as being old enough to bet and from a country that allows that to happen. Normally with UK bookmakers this process is completed at the point of withdrawal but done through electoral role checks and the depositing method. BetButler have had some problems with multiple accounts (gnoming) and the influx of customers which has slowed this process down. We have received reassurances that all withdrawals (for verified accounts) will be completed by the end of the week. Interestingly Bet365 operate a similar code verification process when their normal checks fail as well.
To mitigate this issue in future (and avoid issues around customers being able to deposit but not withdraw) the verification process will be moved to the setting up of the account rather than the withdrawal. This means you won’t be able to bet until the correct verification is completed.
What do the Gambling Commission have to say about BetButler?
Betbutler have said The Gambling Commission visited them last week for a (routine) check-up and confirmed that they were happy with the finances of the company but wanted, like everyone else, the verification process and withdrawals resolved as soon as possible.
We’ve tried to confirm this with the Gambling Commission but they were unable to comment on specific companies. We think it is highly unlikely BetButler would have simply made this up though.
*** Additional statement from The Gambling Commission - 24/04/2014 ***
"The Gambling Commission is aware of several complaints about Bet Butler, and it is a matter of considerable concern to us. We are engaging with Bet Butler's senior management to find out why this is happening, the extent and likely duration of the problem.
When the Commission engages with licensees over payment delays the considerations can be finely balanced. If the Commission takes action to stop a business from trading or cast serious doubt on its future, it significantly increases the risk that the business will not be able to pay its customers. On the other hand if the Commission lets a company continue to take money from people in circumstances where there is a real risk that they will not be repaid, the Commission is not protecting players properly. In trying to balance those considerations, we must consider all the circumstances of a case - where possible we will seek to obtain information provided by a company's own advisers, as well as information obtained through our own investigations. If it becomes clear that a licensee has no realistic prospect of honouring contracts we would not hesitate to suspend the licence and prevent customers being put at further risk."
What about Bodugi accounts?
Customers of Bodugi were transferred to BetButler and asked to wager their balances in full once prior to requesting a withdrawal. Issues have been noted around funds then being taken as bonuses and thus stakes not returned. We have queried this and there are further meetings taking place to confirm what will happen next. When we have more information we will, of course, share it.
At TGT we would point out that even in the event that it is just winnings from the balances which are returned as cash, that actually could well still be a better result than Bodugi customers may have faced had BetButler not have stepped in. When bookmakers get into trouble more often than not people are left with nothing at all. However if they said upon taking over the balances it would be cash with a 1x wagering then really that is what it should be then.
What about the winding up petition and late accounts?
A complicated one this, so we’ll give you the summary. Betting companies are not allowed to be VAT registered. BetClearer, though the sole owner of BetButler, are not a betting company, they’re a technology company and as such are VAT registered. The delayed accounts and winding up petition stem from a tax dispute which has now been settled.
So that’s it, that’s what we’ve found out about BetButler. We hope it’s all accurate, and that everyone gets the withdrawal they’re waiting for. Furthermore, we hope that BetButler continue operating as they fill a gap in the market that no one else does at the moment, and when it works (as it has in the past) it really is a useful site.
When we get any further information we’ll pass it on immediately or if you have anything to add join in on the forum Here and/or follow us on twitter to keep in the loop.
Written by "David" - 23/04/2014