Why Bookies Ask For Bank Statements? What to Do About It…

Has a bookmaker asked for your bank statements and sensitive financial information? Should you be worried?

It’s a hot topic right now with thousands of people going through the same frustrating experience. Responding to these requests in the wrong way could see you lose your betting balance.

So in this article, I’m going to explain the ‘official’ reason this is happening, how the bookies are really using these checks, and how you should respond if you want to get paid.

Let’s dive in…

Why Do Bookmakers Ask For Your Bank Statements?

Over the last 2 years, the UK Gambling Commission has put pressure on betting companies to start gathering consumer bank statements and sensitive financial data. The official reasons (explained further in second) are to help the commission achieve 3 main objectives;

  1. To make gambling crime-free
  2. Making gambling fair and open to the public
  3. To protect children and the vulnerable

Asking for bank statements can also help bookmakers verify the identity of their customers, although KYC Gambling checks should be done separately when an account is opened.

Seems fair enough, right?

I would say so, although these checks are consistently being misused by multiple betting companies. Usually, shortly after betting account restrictions have been applied (to prevent winning).

Why Bookies Really Ask – In Layman’s Terms…

With the Government putting betting companies in charge of policing themselves, the outcome hasn’t been exactly ideal.

In short; the somewhat intrusive checking process is used to assist commercial profit.

There are multiple ways it happens; adding unnecessary friction and manipulating checks to enforce somewhat dubious terms and conditions are the most popular.

It’s not all that complicated but corporate buzzwords and overly complex language are designed to murky the waters. During an open conversation on X, Bookies Dream made a good point…

So very quickly, let’s break down these 3 areas as they directly impact the potential outcome of a betting operator asking for your bank statements. In asking, a betting company can only really be asking for one of the following reasons…

#1 Responsible Gambling: They Think You Might Be An Addict

The first reason they may be asking for your bank statements is that they suspect you to have some kind of gambling problem. It could be for several reasons; placing a large number of bets in a short space of time, using oversized stakes or chasing losses are a few examples. Some bookies now enforce betting deposit limits on accounts like this.

Now obviously, this is totally at odds with reports of companies attempting to groom the addicted. Putting the companies in charge of such checks is a little strange but the consequences they now face are sizeable fines.

If you believe this to be the reason they have asked you, it’s worth considering – have you bet beyond your means?

If you’ve deposited a low amount of money or your betting account is in profit, there’s no reasonable justification for applying this check.

#2 Money Laundering and Crime: They Think You Might Be A Criminal

The next reason they may be asking for bank statements relates to the licensing objectives mentioned above. In short; they think you might be a criminal of some sort. They want to check that you haven’t been betting with stolen funds or cleaning the proceeds of crime – money laundering.

Again, if you’ve only deposited and bet a small amount of money then there’s very little justification for this check.

By checking bank statements, they can ensure that the funds being used for betting are not coming from illegal activities. Responsible operators should check this at the earliest possible point in time (after you have deposited a significant amount).

However, in reality, we see things used in a very different way which leads me to the third reason they may be asking…

#3 Commercial Profits: They Think They Can Avoid Paying Out

Despite the gambling regulator’s clear line on the use of such checks; some operators use them for commercial profit.

It’s wrong and the commission has said on several occasions that they would take action if this happens (they don’t).

Often, large betting corporations say that they can withhold or refuse winnings if they believe your betting to be funded by a third party. If someone transferred you money within the last 3 months, they may claim you are ‘cheating’ and withhold the balance. The company, with a commercial benefit, are the judge, jury and executioner in these instances.

I’m yet to see any evidence that they apply these terms to losing accounts. However, I have seen it several times when an account is already in profit.

So, the most important question of all is…

How You Should Respond to These Requests?

I’ve seen many problems when it comes to bank statements and gambling checks and official guidance is deliberately vague. So in an attempt to help all readers, I’ll share what I and others have found to be most effective.

However, I must stress; your case is your responsibility.

In my experience – don’t send them your bank statements straight away whatever you do. Instead, tell them this leaves you feeling uncomfortable and ask them why they are requesting this information and how it is justifiable. Note the amount you have recently deposited or lost within the last 3 months and ask them specifically which of the 3 reasons above it is. This puts them in an incredibly awkward position.

For example, a good response might be;

I’m uncomfortable sharing my personal banking information with you to process my withdrawal. I believe the gambling commission says that any checks you need to do should have been done at the earliest possible time. Over the last 3 months I have deposited £200 without the checks, and now I want to withdraw £1,000 you are asking for my bank statements. Could you please clarify the reason for these checks.

Is it a gambling harm check, a proceeds of crime check or a check for your own commercial purposes?

If they are attempting to do anything untoward, they are now left in a very difficult position. You see, £200 is such a small sum of money that it wouldn’t justify a gambling harm or anti-money laundering check. If however, they are trying to use the regulatory process for commercial profits, they’ve been exposed and won’t want to admit it.

For several people, this response alone has halted the request and they were paid.

If the company refuses to explain or release your funds in response, the best follow-up would be to instruct them to pay your balance in full before closing the account permanently. Again, if they suspected you were a gambling addict it’s no longer an issue as you won’t be betting with them. Despite their terms saying they can request such information – it’s not the law.

Past experience has shown me that IBAS and regulators help companies exploit customers through the use of these checks if they have already willingly given over their documents. The best solution is not to do it. If you should need to, take the issue beyond these bodies straight to your MP.

Related: My Bet365 Account Was Limited For Winning £6,667 – But Why?

p.s if anyone else has any useful tips please leave a comment for other readers below.

Update: an additional tip from Jamie Magill of JCLM Solicitors via Twitter/X.

7 thoughts on “Why Bookies Ask For Bank Statements? What to Do About It…

  1. Betfair Exchange did this to me. Suspended my account with no chance to get my money out. I had about a £30,000 balance there.

    I was so desperate to get my money back that I gave them every single thing they asked for. Photo of my debit card, photo of passport, many months-worth of bank statements, tax return, proof of savings, stocks and shares….

    It was extraordinarily intrusive and they still would not return my money. This went on for several months.

    Note that there was absolutely nothing suspicious. I never get payments into my account from anyone other than my official employer. There was no reason for them to withhold my money. And the Gambling Commission were completely useless when I contacted them – just did not care at all or give me any advice.

    The only thing that worked was saying that I was going to make a county court claim (also known as small claims).

    Bam, money finally returned but account permanently closed.

    Betfair know that if a county court claim is made, they will lose and will have to pay the fees on top.

    You will not find it surprising to know that I was a net winner. I doubt that they ever do this to net losers.

  2. To “Given Up on Gambling” – I am surprised that Betfair Exchange was refusing to pay out your winnings and then closed your account. Since exchanges make money on commission from winning bets, why do they care if you attempt to withdraw money? I thought these obstructions and shutting down of accounts are only from bookmakers?

    Caan, could you also chip in on this please?

    1. You have a point, they shouldn’t be bothered. However, they really don’t want any money leaving the system, which could potentially be one reason. The inception of Premium Charge is an example of this.

  3. Excellent Caan, Can you put anything up about taking them to the county court? As in the best process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *