BetBudget Review: An Open Banking Nightmare For Gamblers?

Recently BetBudget came into the spotlight after a customer was prompted to provide 5 years open banking access to a bookmaker.

But is this a good idea to help people? Is your banking data safe? Or will it be misused by another blood-sucking corporation?

Here’s a full BetBudget review…

What is BetBudget?

BetBudget is a website that aims to aid people with budgeting their finances and promote responsible gambling. It is a website and app that uses open banking to allow bookmakers to access your spending across all regulated gambling sites. BetBudget has been created by the Department of Trust. You may have seen it promoted by the Racing Blogger.

The website and app are free-to-use platforms with no adverts or gambling advertisements on the platform.

BetBudget provides gambling operators with tools to access financial information on their customers. This is based on the open banking data collected via the Betbudget app.

In line with the proposed new gambling affordability checks, having one platform which all regulated bookmakers can use is deemed to be a good idea. They reason that a platform such as BetBudget will have an increased level of security in comparison to regular bookmakers. For example, sports bettors can store their ID on the website and allow bookmakers to access it for verification via the app/website.

How BetBudget Works:

The first thing that Betbudget asks you to do once you have signed up, is to link your bank account…

Some might not realise it, but this is very worrying.

Once you have selected your bank and agree to share your online banking data. BetBudget will begin to collect that data. Then, you can add your gaming sites to BetBudget to track your deposits and withdrawals from betting sites.

There is also a financial insights page which automatically calculates what BetBudget believes your disposable income to be. Alongside this, there is a cash flow section which will calculate the difference between money entering and exiting your account. On the app, there is also a “mission” page which will allow you to set yourself goals for the maximum amount you want to spend on gambling.

The information sharing part of the website allows you to review requests from bookmakers regarding your financial information. On this page, you can choose to approve or decline these requests.

The last area of note is the documents section where you can upload documents for ID verification. Such as passports, driving licences, utility bills etc.

The Positves Of BetBudget

For those who struggle to control their gambling and want to track their overall spending across multiple sites. BetBudget could be a useful tool.

Being able to create “missions” for total spending, could allow some people to feel a greater sense of responsibility for their gambling habits. Particularly if they don’t have their personal finances in order.

The ability to store your ID on a third party site for verification could also be seen as a positive.

Negatives Of BetBudget:

Given how bookmakers have used customer data and details in the past. Giving them access to financial data via open banking does not seem like a good idea. Particularly when that access is reaching back as far at 5 years.

One of many fines handed out to bookmakers over the years…

The push towards stricter affordability checks, is a reaction to many bookmakers consistently breaking rules. Exploiting “higher risk” gamblers to make the most amount of profit possible.

They have done this in part by utilizing existing data they have from customers to increase profits. While using “responsible gambling measures” to restrict, limit and close profitable sports bettors. There’s heaps of evidence for it:

Bookmakers Using Responsible Gambling To Prevent Withdrawals

Daily you will find someone complaining on social media regarding bookmakers delaying withdrawals.

The usual story goes like this:

  • The account is opened with no issues
  • Deposit is made with no issues
  • Bet loses (no issues)
  • Bets wins and a withdrawal request is made “Sorry your account has been locked for security issues, until your provide additional documentation.”

It happens time and time again. All under the guise of responsible gambling and anti money laundering checks, endorsed by the gambling commission.

Bookmakers Using Money Laundering Checks To Avoid Paying Out

Another tactic that bookmakers have been using is requesting unredacted bank statements when you request a withdrawal. Then if they notice transfers between you and another person, they request to see that person’s bank statement – third party funding. We’ve written about this multiple times, you can see one such case here.

Obviously, most people are uncomfortable with asking friends/family members to send them bank statements. In order then to send them through to a bookmaker to withdraw money.

This is a ridiculous thing to ask but shows that bookmakers are often a law unto themselves.

If the bookmaker then feels like they don’t want to pay out. They have been using claims of “cheating or collusion” to avoid paying out. Citing those transfers made on a bank account as potential collusion.

BetMGM are one of the newer bookmakers in the UK. However, there have been countless complaints about how they are handling customer accounts. Again accepting new customers, taking on deposits with no issues but then delaying/refusing withdrawals under the guise of adhering to affordability checks or anti-money laundering checks.

Personal Experience Of Bookmakers/Casino’s Selling Personal Data?

Over the years I have used many bookmakers and casinos, all regulated and licensed within the UK. Profiting from matched betting and advantage gambling strategies.

To sign up to these sites you have to give some personal information, phone number and address for example…

Multiple times a week I receive spam emails from offshore casino sites offering huge bonuses. These are sites that I have never signed up to. However, through some means, they have managed to get my phone number.

So do I trust a bookmaker or casino with additional financial information obtained via open banking?

Absolutely not. No no no.

Will Betbudget Change This?

“Ultimately it should be for operators to determine their policies for handling at-risk players.”

This comes from a paper written by the Department of Trust.

No, I don’t think the implementation of BetBudget is going to change how bookmakers can operate. If anything it could allow them access to more data from their customers.

They could make open banking a mandatory part of signing up. Allowing them to profile their most profitable customers (highest risk of losing money) and pinpoint winning sports bettors instantly.

There seems to be no limit to the data that bookmakers can ask for currently. When it comes to open banking how much data will they want?

If you don’t comply with their requests, your account will simply be closed.

Conclusion on BetBudget:

BetBudget could be useful for some people. For example, those who want to understand their betting patterns more thoroughly and set a strict budget.

The majority of sports bettors however see allowing bookmakers access to data from open banking as extreme, unnecessary and intrusive. Especially when we see daily how bookmakers are already abusing anti-money laundering/player protection checks in the current betting landscape.

There has been a trend recently of bookmakers using customers personal data to avoid paying out. Giving bookmakers the ability to access months/years of banking data, allows them to look for any number of reasons to find a “breach of terms.”

Whilst I do actually believe a third-party site that dealt with aspects such ID verifications could work very well. (If when players were verified. Deposited money could be withdrawn at any time without question.)

Which would avoid many of the underhand tactics bookmakers currently use.

Betbudget isn’t providing this. If anything it is going to give bookmakers one more reason to avoid paying out withdrawals and abusing regulatory gambling checks.

Next: Are Regulatory Checks Helping Betting Companies Exploit Consumers?

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