What Happens If A Bookmaker Goes Out Of Business?

It is rare for a bookmaker to go out of business, but of course – like in any industry – it does happen from time to time. You can reduce the risk of any complications or concerns by sticking to reputable and financially stable bookies – the sort of reputable, trustworthy and well-established bookmakers we work with, for example! That said, in an increasingly competitive marketplace it would be naïve to assume that any bookie is immune from risk so let’s consider the worst-case scenario: one of the bookmakers you use goes out of business.

The WORST, Worst-Case Scenario

Perhaps the main reason a bookie might go out of business is because they have been too generous with either their odds or their offers. In either scenario, this means it is more likely that a serious punter could have a significant balance with them when the bookmaker goes under. The first warning sign of impending doom is when a bookie becomes slow to process withdrawals and stalls for time. This is especially worrying if you have a significant sum sitting in your betting account and ultimately this is just about the worst-case scenario.

Obviously, if you don’t actually have any money in your betting account and don’t have any bets open, it’s of no real concern if an online bookmaker goes under. However, if you have bets pending and/or a balance in your account, you are sure to be worried but there are a number of steps you can take.

There are no hard and fast rules with regards to what happens when a betting site, or indeed any company, goes out of business. Over the years a number of bookmakers have folded and each has been slightly different, with customers being treated differently. As such, there is a certain to be a degree of uncertainty and ultimately the outcome will range from customers not losing a single penny, to customers losing everything they had in their betting account at the time.

In the past rival sites have stepped in and saved the troubled company at the last minute, either taking it over, or alternatively taking the customers over and honouring their bets and withdrawals. This is rare, however, and the more likely scenario is that you will have to fight for your money.

As soon as you suspect something is amiss it can be a good idea to try and withdraw your balance. If there are delays then chase the site up regularly. Usually they will have some funds available and are more likely to pay a customer who is hassling them than one who is just patiently waiting. Even once it has been confirmed that the bookie is in major trouble, this same approach is recommended and is best used alongside the various other options, including trying to obtain your money via the small claims court and contacting the UK Gambling Commission (assuming the bookmaker is licensed by the Gambling Commission).

Recent changes to the law mean that UK-licensed bookmakers must ring-fence their customers’ funds. This in itself is no guarantee that they will be able to pay everything they owe but has helped a little bit, whilst some bookies go further and state in their T and C whether customers’ funds are protected in the case of insolvency. If in doubt you can check this latter fact with a bookie (ideally before registering) including asking what level of cover they offer and how they will carry it through in practice.

Ultimately once a bookmaker is officially insolvent you will need to go through the official bodies and whether you get your money back or not is something of a lottery, depending on the exact situation of the business.

As said though, whilst we cannot guarantee the financial security of any business, by sticking to the best, most reputable sites around, such as Bet365 and Coral and the others featured here, you massively reduce your risk of losing out because they go out of business.