The Independent Betting Arbitration Service (Ibas) is investigating dealings by Ladbrokes that could lead to the bookmaker having to pay out on hundreds of bets that were turned down by its trading team.
The probe is in relation to three similar complaints over bets on horse races, each of which was placed online and referred to Ladbrokes for approval, according to the Guardian.
This referral process is common practice in online betting, with the bookmaker either declining the wager of re-offering the bet at reduced odds or stake.
The Guardian said that while all of the wagers in the Ibas case were declined by Ladbrokes, the three customers said they received an official ‘bet number’, which they said is proof that their money was accepted at some point in the process.
Each of the customers also said that after the race, when it was clear their bet had not been accepted, their wager was described as a “cancelled bet”.
According to the Guardian, Ibas has been considering each of the cases for a number of weeks but is no closer to reaching a decision.
However, should Ibas rule in favour of the three customers, this could potentially lead to hundreds of other punters who have had similar issues in recent months also coming forward to try and settle their “cancelled bets” with the bookmaker.
The Guardian added that as referred bets often feature large sums of money, any ruling against Ladbrokes could cost the bookmaker a significant amount.
Campaigner Paul Fairhead, who has helped a number of punters take their disputes to Ibas, told iGamingBusiness.com the customers have a “legally enforceable contract”, as the numbered bet receipt proves that their money was taken.
“If a bet is declined and the customer is told so, then there is no issue,” he said.
Fairhead added that the issue is “specific to Ladbrokes” and should not impact other bookmakers, “unless they are doing the same thing”.
Ladbrokes and Ibas did not immediately respond to requests from iGamingBusiness.com to comment on the story.
The latest blow for Ladbrokes comes after the bookmaker’s Australian arm was this week hit when its website crashed ahead of the country’s Melbourne Cup showpiece horse racing event.
Ladbrokes.com.au went down in the run-up to the event, meaning customers were not able to place bets on the race online with Ladbrokes.