Can You Cancel a Withdrawal at a Betting Site?

Blue Undo Keyboard ButtonShould you be fortunate enough to land a win at a betting site, you may well want to get your hands on the cash as quickly as possible. Winning wagers, be they on sport, at an online casino, or anything else, are made into your account balance automatically. However, before you can spend your money on a Caribbean holiday – or a new vacuum cleaner if you prefer – you have to withdraw them.

This should be a quick and simple process and at the very best betting sites the money can be in your bank or e-wallet within seconds. However, some sites take longer to process withdrawals, either because they have to manually facilitate them, their payment method is not as speedy or, sometimes, just because they aren’t very good!

You might ask the question, if there is a delay between you requesting a withdrawal and the funds hitting your account, can you stop, change or reverse that withdrawal? There are various valid reasons why you might want to do this but is it actually possible to stop the withdrawal process once you have clicked to confirm it?

Can You Stop or Reverse a Withdrawal?

No, betting sites which are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission are prohibited from cancelling a withdrawal once it has been requested. This was a feature which had been readily available, but this was banned from the 31st May 2020 after a period of consultation.

Reversing Withdrawals

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Let’s start at the end, with a quick, simple answer: it is not possible to reverse withdrawals. OK, if that’s all you really wanted to know then stop reading and get back to your vacuuming (or holiday planning). However, to explain more fully, let us go from the end, to the beginning, or at least early 2020.

Back then, reversing withdrawals was an option at many bookmakers, online casinos and other betting sites. In between you confirming that you wanted to take money out of your online account and that money actually being set to you there was a period of time where you could essentially reverse the process.

You might have had a few hours where this remained an option, or you might have a full day. At many less scrupulous sites, delaying tactics or simply very slow processing might have extended that to 48 hours or even more. To stop the money from being sent to your bank or other source, you would just need to head to your account and click “Reverse Withdrawal” or similar. Doing this would see the money instantly returned to your account and you would be back to where you were before you decided to request the initial withdrawal.

Why Would You Reverse a Withdrawal?

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As said, there are some genuine reasons why reversing a withdrawal could be beneficial to a customer. If you changed your mind and decided that you wanted to make another bet, reversing the withdrawal would have been quicker and easier, especially in certain circumstances.

If your bank balance (a real bank, not your betting site account balance) was low you might not have had fresh funds ready to deposit. Many withdrawals are now processed and paid almost instantly thanks to faster payment protocols in the UK. However, even until very recently this was not always necessarily the case. Even with the best will of the betting site, it could take “three to five working days” from the bookie sending the cash you a punter receiving it.

In that gap between them finalising their end of the payment process and you receiving your money, punters could miss out on offers, big matches or a value bet they had uncovered. Being able to reverse the withdrawal was a way around that. In addition, if a punter had set a deposit limit on their account, they may not be able to make a new deposit straight away, even if they had the funds to do so.

For example, let us imagine a fan of football betting who gave themselves a £50 a month deposit limit. They may have had a poor month, depositing that £50 at the start of it but then losing £40 in the first four weeks. If they then landed a nice £10 correct score bet to win £60, they might choose to withdraw that on the 30th. However, if they then discovered what they believed to be a good bet on the 31st they would miss out as they would have already reached their £50 deposit limit. A withdrawal reversal here would be a real help – especially if their nose for value proved accurate and they sniffed out another winner.

Why Reversing a Withdrawal is Bad

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Whilst there might have been benefits to this process, the big issue with reversing a withdrawal is that it makes it harder and harder for the punter to walk away with more money than they started with. Winning a bet or beating the casino is hard enough as it is but actually walking away and quitting whilst you are ahead may just be even trickier.

Chasing losses is one thing but chasing wins and getting greedy is almost as bad. If you win £50 it is all too easy to think “What if I keep winning?”, or “I’ll stop when I’m £100 up”. Knowing when to stop is so hard and many people only stop when their balance hits zero. Be it a game of football, a tennis tournament, slots or blackjack, the odds are stacked in favour of the betting sites.

However, their margin is often low, perhaps just 5%; but many punters will lose far, far more than 5% of what they bet. Offering 10/11 on a bet with a 50% chance of winning, or having the zero on the roulette wheel is one thing. But perhaps the bookies’ biggest advantage is that people want to keep betting – and the longer they wager, the more certain it is that they will lose.

Imagine a punter that deposits £50, wins a few bets and has a balance of £100. They may decide they have done well and choose to withdraw it all, thinking it will pay for their Friday night out. Alternatively, they may withdraw £50, thinking that now they have £50 to play with (and could win more!) but even if not, they will still break even.

In taking that decision to withdraw, they have gone one step closer to beating the bookie. However, what happens if they get bored waiting for their funds, or they just fancy another bet, or in the second scenario above they quickly lose the £50 they left in their account. Such a punter may feel confident and put all of their £50 on a so-called “sure thing” such as a low-odds football “banker”. Except there are no sure things and there are no bankers and the only dead certs are in the graveyard.

They lose that £50, reverse the withdrawal for the £50 and then quickly lose that. Now, angry they just didn’t withdraw the whole £100 and mentally stuck on what might have been, they deposit another £100 to try and win it back. They lose. All of a sudden they have gone from being £50 up to £150 down. And they are cursing the two words “Reverse Withdrawal”.

What Changed and Why Can’t I Reverse a Withdrawal?

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The UKGC (UK Gambling Commission) regularly seek to improve how gambling in this country is regulated in order to fulfil their stated aims. They carry out consultations with those in the industry and experts on it to discuss ways they believe this can be achieved. One of these looked at the idea that reversing withdrawals should be banned. In May 2020 they advised that online betting sites should no longer facilitate this until further notice.

Betway Withdrawal Reversal Terms

It seemed clear that some operators were deliberately stalling and delaying withdrawals in the hope that punters would simply decide against it and wager the cash instead. We should point out that this was not the case with most of the highly reputable sites that we work with. Even where sites were not intending to make punters keep betting, it was decided that this was the impact.

In particular, the ability to reverse a withdrawal was most dangerous for problem gamblers. The UKGS explained that they took this step:

“based on evidence that shows that the reverse withdrawal function presents a risk to engaged and vulnerable gamblers”.

In addition, it was backed up by:

“research, evidence from our casework, and information provided by people with lived experience”.

In the full consultation process, many bookies and other online betting sites agreed with the proposal, although some suggested responsibility should lie with the punter. Some went as far as to say that reversing withdrawals benefited the customer (for the reasons discussed above) and others were concerned about extra processing fees if they had to handle multiple deposits.

However, the UKGC, rightly in our opinion, decided to proceed with the ban. They felt that any small benefit was far outweighed by the extra risk to the most vulnerable groups. They concluded that:

“Once a customer has made a request to withdraw funds, they should not be given the option to deposit using these funds. Operators should make the process to withdraw funds as frictionless as possible.”

As such, the “until further notice” requirement, which had been subsequently updated to be until October 2021 was changed. In its place was the permanent instruction that all sites licensed by the UKGC (which means any that legally accepts UK customers) should no longer allow withdrawals to be reversed. They expressly tell gambling operators that should a customer wish to carry out this procedure they should explain that it is a “regulatory requirement to prevent reverse withdrawals.”

Withdrawals Should Also Not be Delayed

Ladbrokes Cashier SectionThe issues of delaying withdrawals and reversing them are interlinked. Obviously if a payment to a customer’s bank is processed immediately there is no option to reverse it anyway. As well as the above changes, the UKGC have taken further steps to speed things up in this regard.

For example, should the site require identification to verify who a customer is and that their funds are theirs, this should be carried out as soon as possible. Ideally punters should not be able to make any wagers until this is done and unless there is a specific, valid reason, ID should not only be requested once a withdrawal request is made (which would delay processing).

Can Withdrawals be Reversed at Any Sites?

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Any site that is licensed by the UKGC should not be allowing customers to cancel, stop or change their requests to withdraw money. As such, any fully legal UK bookie does not, in theory, allow this. However, there are two caveats to this.

First, some UK-based punters may be using offshore bookies that are legally permitted to accept customers from these isles. We strongly and unequivocally advise you not to use these sites. They do not have to adhere to UKGC requirements and there is little or no comeback if anything goes wrong. In simple terms, they do not have to play by the rules and, in our experience, they often don’t. Getting money out of these sites can be painfully slow and bothersome – at best!

Second, we believe that some UKGC sites are, shall we say, bending the rules. All of the best betting sites around have fully taken on board everything the UKGC is trying to achieve. However, some smaller, less reputable ones, have not. We have heard accounts of sites requesting ID only when a withdrawal request is made. Claiming that they cannot process the withdrawal until then, punters are free to use funds that they have tried to withdraw.

Hopefully this will be stopped and the relevant sites warned or punished. Until then be careful who you bet with and if you do encounter this behaviour be wise. Avoid the temptation to bet, get your account verified, process the withdrawal … and don’t use such an operator again.