On the face of it, the legalities around betting with money that is not yours do not seem to be overly complex. Because, after all, strictly speaking you cannot bet on behalf of someone even if they give you licence to. The bookmakers and casinos, if aware, will reject any wagers made with money given to you to bet on their behalf even if you have complete and total permission to do so.
Why? Because they are legally required to verify where money comes from and that the person betting can legally do so. If you bet on behalf of someone else it could be with criminal or fraudulent money or for a minor or someone not in the country at the time. All of which they are legally obliged to prevent, so that means even if the intentions are innocent it is not allowed to place a bet for someone else.
But that does not mean it doesn’t happen. People have forever been placing bets on the Grand National on behalf of family and friends, for example. In the modern era, technology redundant wannabe bettors who wish to place a wager but lack the online account or know how to do so, may ask a more digitally competent acquaintance to do so. These are, of course, all minor bets meaning the bookies’ risk is minimal. In cases such as these, bets can and will go on as usual – but strictly it is not allowed.
Why Can’t You Bet For Someone Else?
There are legal ways around betting with other people’s money, such as pools betting or through a syndicate. As social betting continues to grow, so too will methods such as these.
One of the reasons you can’t bet for someone else is the industry will naturally protect itself against bonus abuse where people who bet frequently use the names of others to jump on the welcome bonuses that bookies provide. But each new account needs verification and, in many cases, betting companies will not even allow more than one person from a single household to receive the free bets on offer. That doesn’t mean people don’t ask others to sign up to an account to get these offers but the actual money comes from the bonus abuser.
The rules are there to largely prevent crime and abuse and so it is unlikely you will be penalised for placing a small bet for someone else. Where you could really end up in hot water is if you place bets for minors, that may sound like a stupid thing to do and it is but there are many families out there that will let their kids or their friends to bet on the National through them. This is absolutely illegal and although you are unlikely to be caught if you are it is a serious issue.
Even if you go to a bookmaker shop and bet with cash from someone else it is technically not allowed. Again, you are unlikely to run into many issues with this with low stakes but higher stakes will flag you up and you will need to prove your source of funds. The same is true online if you make a large or uncharacteristic deposit you will be asked to prove where it came from. These rules are to prevent money laundering and betting using credit or stolen funds. If the funds came from someone else and you lie about that fact and are caught you will be banned from the site and possibly face criminal charges, as well as losing stakes and winnings.
When you place any bet you are in effect entering into a contract with a betting company, basically ‘I promise to pay you X and you promise to pay me X if the prediction comes true’. As it is you entering into a contract it needs to be you that supplies the funds to back it up, if those funds belong to someone else then you have contravened the terms and conditions of that contract that you signed up to when you joined a site.
The one exception is if the money is given to you as a gift, you may need to prove that fact, but if the money is a gift and it was given to you legally (gift amounts are taxable over certain thresholds) then you can use that money to bet with, as it is your money once given to you.
Reasons Why People Bet For Others
The two most common reasons for people placing bets for others is because 1 – they don’t have an online account and want to place a one off bet or 2 – they have a friend or family member abroad that asks them to place a bet for them.
Both of these are not allowed but to a degree accepted on a low level basis. Where it becomes difficult is if this is a redcurrant pattern or if the stakes are big.
Other reasons include people being in hospital, not having an internet connection and phoning a friend to bet for them and not having a bank account and needing someone to place a bet online for them.
What is categorically a no no is logging in to someone else account and betting for them. This is fraudulent in the eyes of the betting companies terms and the law, even if you have permission to do so. Betting for someone else from your own account may be tolerated to a degree but accessing someone else’s account to bet is strictly forbidden. After all it could be a child betting on your behalf, which raises all sorts of issues.
While 99% of bets places for someone other than yourself are done with innocent intentions there is a 1% that use this avenue to exploit betting companies, either to launder money or to get around bans that they have on their own accounts. It may seem unfair that these rules are largely in place to stop that 1% but at the same time it is important that gambling is not used for crime as that would destroy confidence in the whole industry, which ultimately would restrict your freedoms as a punter.