Can You Go To Prison For Defrauding Bookmakers?

Everyone wants to beat the bookmakers. Bookmakers v Punters is a battle as old as time, although modern services like OddsMonkey now make it easy for anyone to beat the house.

However, for many, this means opening up multiple betting accounts.

So the real question becomes; can you go to prison for defrauding bookmakers?

Only a few years ago, it would have seemed impossible to go to jail for winning money off the bookmakers. However, in recent times there have been a few cases that have gone to court and returned a guilty verdict too. So, the answer to the question is that yes, you can go to prison for defrauding bookmakers. The reality is, however, it will have to be an exceptionally serious crime.

Can You Go To Prison For Winning Money From Bookmakers?

The question to this question is a very straight No. You can use edges to beat the bookmakers and it’s perfectly acceptable. You will have your account restricted or even closed, however, just for winning. There are plenty of things that bookmakers don’t like and they will close or restrict your accounts quickly.

Here’s a quick list of the things bookmakers don’t like;

  • If you consistently beat the SP on horse racing or greyhound racing. For example, bet 10/1 on a horse that goes off 6/1. Even if it loses, this is earmarked by the bookmakers.
  • If you back arbs when comparing the odds to Betfair Exchange. For example, backing something at 2/1 (3.0) when it’s 2.9 on Betfair. Again, even if it loses this is ear-marked.
  • If you just focus on taking free bets and bonus bagging.
  • If you are consistently backing in bad Each Way races. For example, taking 4/1 on the second favourite in an eight-runner race with three places.
  • Consistently backing price ricks – prices that are deemed “wrong” by the bookmaker and therefore value for the punter.

Basically in a nutshell in 2024, display any ability that you understand odds v probability! All bookmakers want these days is mug Accas.

Example Of Bookmakers Winning Court Cases…

Just winning money with the bookmakers will never be a problem. You get your account restricted or closed, but 99 times out of 100 you get paid out. There are a lot more hoops to jump through these days, but eventually, you get your money. There are some famous cases of punters scamming bookmakers out of money though.

The most recent one hit the headlines in 2023. Jon Howard was jailed for five years for opening more than 1,000 Bet365 accounts. He “was convicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud against Bet365 and Santander bank, but was cleared of money laundering when a four-week trial concluded in March” said the media reports.

Howard opened fraudulent accounts in other people’s names from 2008 to 2018, where he used the new customer bonus (up to £200). He was also committing fraud against Santander Bank related to mortgages, not just Bet365. Howard was from Essex, and it’s said he made £236,000 from Bet365.

That’s quite a sizable sum, but now he’s paying the price…

Opening an account in a family member’s name isn’t an unusual thing in the betting world, especially when your account is limited or closed for winning. Opening 1,000+ is another matter!

In general, you’ll only go to jail for committing fraud against bookmakers. Therefore, there are lot of time between the major stories. After Jon Howard in 2023, you have to go back to 2019 for the story about Jason Haddigan in Wales. Haddigan already had 23 previous convictions before being guilty of committing fraud against Ladbrokes, so he was always into dodgy dealings.

He wrote a book afterwards ‘How And Why I Conned The Bookies‘. What he was doing was making up betting slips by scribbling, and then after the race, he would try to swap a forged betting slip with a losing one to collect. He tried to gain the trust of the employees and relied on sleight of hand at the till to switch the slips. The sums were small, but he served time in jail for his crimes. The bets he “won” were all less than £2,000.

Hacking The Odds:

Another two examples of people going to jail for defrauding the bookmakers are Jack Bantham in 2018 and Michael Shaw in 2023. Both times were clear crimes. Jack Bantham worked for the Press Association, the PA Media Group now, and he used his position to change data sent to bookmakers. He had a gambling addiction, and bookmakers first raised the alarm on his very first day at work. It’s hard to believe what Bantham did – he bet on the favourite and if it didn’t win he swapped the data around to say the horse he backed won. Crazy.

He was £5,000 in debt and managed to win £15,000 but what he was doing was never going to last long…

Another hacking example is Michael Shaw in 2023. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison for hacking the gaming machines and then was able to place fraudulent bets. This time, the hacking wasn’t as obvious as the above example and police only caught Shaw because he posted videos on social media. There’s stupid, and then there’s giving yourself away on social media.

As you can see by the example above, you have to commit serious fraud against a bookmaker to go to jail. Just winning money with a betting edge is never going to be punished!

Related: 5 Matched Betting Tips – How to Win Regularly This Year

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