Not many people will have considered selling their online betting account, why would you want to in the first place? Is this even possible? Will sportsbooks allow you to just go ahead and transfer an account that is in your name to someone else, as well as any existing bets and balance?
Well, the short answer to this is it is not illegal as such but the terms and conditions of all betting sites state that they will not allow an account to be transferred. This is partly to allow them to adhere to rules around knowing their customer and preventing gambling to be used as a means of crime and partly because they know that it is a strategy used by successful gamblers.
In effect people who consistently win will find they have their betting account suspended or restricted. This is perfectly legal for the bookies to do, they are private businesses and they are allowed to chose who they accept bets from and who they offer their promotions to. Most people who buy betting accounts are not buying an account with a balance and existing bets, rather they are simply buying account in another name. Some gamblers who do things like court siding (see later if you don’t know what that is) will often buy accounts from students and other people willing to sell. This is simply to trick the bookies into allowing them to place bigger bets on things they themselves are restricted from.
Ultimately whether this is right or wrong depends on how you view bookies but ultimately you are not allowed to buy or sell a betting account and if you are caught doing so you will end up with that account closed and winnings forfeited most likely.
Speaking in general, it is not specifically illegal to have someone else use your betting account. Some people have a person in their employ who manages their betting account for them, which is not very different from simply utilising a tipping service that you pay for. Through these services, bets are placed on your behalf. There is no law in place that restricts you from using such a service, despite the fact that the betting account itself is in your name.
That being said, most bookmakers state in their terms and conditions that only the account holder may place bets using their account. And as it happens, these companies employ people to keep a track on any suspicious “professional” betting patterns that could be occurring on an account. Utilising both human “traders” and various advanced algorithms, they can pick up on activity that may be detrimental to their own profit margins. Should they come to the conclusion that one or more accounts are being professionally managed, then action will likely be taken, such as stake limits being imposed or bets being refused, for example.
Just using the terms and conditions from one operators website, this is how it is phrased:
“You are responsible at all times for any activity on your Account. You must ensure that other people (and in particular children or other vulnerable people) are not able to access your Account. You must ensure your password is sufficiently secure and is not available to, or easily guessed by, anyone else.”
This directly relates to the sale or transfer of your betting account, because in the end, if you pass it on to someone else, they are effectively using your details to bet and you are not responsible then for the activity on your account. This goes against the terms and conditions that you theoretically should read, and that you agree to after you sign up for an account with your details. Passing your account on to somebody else effectively counteracts these rules.
It all boils down to the fact that when you place a bet with a bookmaker you are entering into a personal contract, if you pass that bet on to someone else or allow someone else to place that bet you are in effect voiding that contract. Due to this, you cannot sell your wagers, place bets on behalf of someone else, bet with another person’s money or utilise insider information to place a bet in the first place.
In the same vein, you cannot transfer your account across to someone else or sell it to them because the personal account that you have is for your use only.
Why Would Would You Want To?
People Who Try To Trick The Bookies
Many of the reasons betting accounts are actually sold are nefarious. People who want to place bets but conceal their identity can do so by giving cash to someone else to place a bet in a shop for them. Indeed this does happen and was especially common in the past before online betting. When gambling online, however, you can’t just rock up with cash and place a bet, these companies need to know who you are, your age, your location and residency status, etc. Therefore, those that can’t gamble by normal means try to buy betting accounts in the name of other people to fool the bookies into thinking they are someone else.
Most ‘professional’ gamblers will have been successful and by that very nature they will have had all of their online betting accounts limited, they will also be known to local shops. These are the people that try to buy most of the accounts and they tend to target students or low income individuals to do so, giving them a monetary incentive to do so. Bookmaker software and traders can and do detect these fraudulent accounts eventually and limit them, therefore, these ‘professionals’ buy tens, hundreds or thousands of accounts on a rolling basis to get around this.
Courtsiding is an example of a practice where the people involved buy betting accounts. Courtsiding is a process of placing a bet after the outcome of a market is known but before the bookmaker knows it. It is most common in tennis, hence its name, and involves someone watching at the court who will give information to someone else over the phone about the result of a point before it becomes official. This allows the person at home to place an in-play bet knowing what the actual result will be. This is not technically illegal but it is most definitely against the terms and conditions of the bookie.
Courtsiding works because the result is not official, and therefore recorded by the bookmaker, until the umpire pushes a button on their chair to confirm it, which may be several seconds after the actual point has been decided. Those that practice courtsiding will look for slow umpires and will travel the world to find matches and events.
More Genuine Reasons
Not all the reasons why someone would want to buy or sell an account are dodgy, especially for selling an account. Let’s say that you have placed a series of ante-post wagers (futures) at your favourite online sportsbook. However, a few weeks or months down the line prior to these futures being settled, you find that you have come into some money difficulties. The only way that you can think of obtaining some money in a quick time span is to sell your betting account and the ante-post bets along with it. Essentially, in this scenario, someone would buy your account from you by paying you an amount generally less than what you have staked. This way, the account becomes theirs, they take on the risk of the bets and you get a monetary payout.
Or perhaps you hold an account at a UK bookmaker that has some active bets and futures in existence on it. Yet you have taken a job offer that requires you to live abroad where the sportsbook is not available. What do you do? Well, this might be the situation where you choose to sell your sports betting account and all of its open bets alongside. Naturally, you won’t be able to benefit from the wager outcomes if you aren’t living in the UK anymore, so the best way to go about things and recoup some of the money from the wagers is to sell the account to someone else.
Of course, these are definitely hypothetical situations, and in either case, selling an account would not be a possibility. Or at least, it would be an illegal activity as relating to a sportsbook’s terms and conditions. Yet it hasn’t always been the case that betting contracts have been legally enforceable.
Prior to the UK Gambling Act 2005, gamblers were not covered in any way legislation-wise. Once this became active though, gambling debts became enforceable, ensuring that anyone who had placed a bet and won received their rightful money from a betting company. The written law within that act also stopped people from actively being able to sell accounts or bets to someone else, deeming them to be contracts that are effectively broken if such activity occurs.
But You Can Sell Contracts In Other Industries
Some people may look at the impossibility of selling betting accounts and wagers as being abnormal. This is especially true when you compare it with other industries. For example, if you hold a personal property contract, then you can transfer ownership of this – also known as conveyancing. The buyer and seller must be happy with the contract itself, naturally, and both sides sign to say that they concur on this.
Or let’s say that you have bought a car but have had to do so on finance, but you no longer want the car. Despite this, you are still contracted to make payments every month at the agreed price set up originally. Yet if you can find a person who is willing to take both the car and continue making those finance payments each month, there is nothing to stop you from proceeding with selling the contract to that person. In that instance, they will become the owner of the contract, the car and the person responsible for continuing to pay off the financial loan.
Indeed, in finance you can buy and sell almost anything. Think of the sub-prime mortgage market that created the 2008 financial crash, in effect mortgages being divided up and sold off as investments when these had been granted with huge risk and many people were going to default on them. If you can get away with doing things like this why can’t you sell something as simple as a betting account. After all, you’re getting a payment for it, someone else is taking it on and then getting to benefit from the payouts after the two of you agreeing on a sale price. Why is this something that cannot take place?
Well, there are various issues with selling or transferring your account into someone else’s name. Not only is it going against the terms and conditions of an online sportsbook, but there is a strong possibility of disputes over winning amounts. Let’s say that you have 15 future bets in play, and you sell the account and the bets to your friend for £500. Those futures then end up scoring big and your friend ends up benefitting from receiving £3,000 in winnings. You’ve just lost out on £2,500 as a result of selling it to them. There is little that you can do to stop the odds of an event changing, and if these become better as time goes by, you’re likely to be on the thin end.
Of course, those types of disputes between people are quite innocent when you compare it with the potential for money laundering. Betting companies legally have to prevent such activity, and it is therefore strictly promoted within a site’s terms and conditions that only the account holder can use an account and bet through it. Being the new owner of someone else’s account already violates this term, but if you try to deposit money from an account or even from the original owner’s account, it’s going to flag up a red card. The Gambling Commission has a huge battle on its hands against fraud and money laundering as it is, and to try and make life easier in this aspect, rules are set in place that restrict the sale and/or transfer of betting accounts between people.
This has not stopped some people from trying though, and even in the open. In 2018, a user going by the name of Capouer utilised an online forum to state that he/she was selling betting accounts at Bet365, Ladbrokes, Betfair and so on. These, the user stated, were fully verified with Skrill and Neteller and held VIP status. Documents could be attached for the account and email addresses, with options available for players from Spain, Norway, Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom. Another replied on the same thread, known as BABABAST, who said he/she was willing to buy accounts. They went on to state that they were more interested in buying identity documents with Skrill verified and email credentials. That person then went on to leave an email address contact for selling accounts.
The original user was banned a couple of months later for providing a scam service. Naturally, some people may want to sell their betting account for genuine purposes, but this is not something that the betting companies can risk. Money laundering and fraud are so common in many industries, and gambling is one of the sectors that this can be rife in. Therefore, the terms and conditions of an online bookmaker will continue to uphold its dedication to helping reduce the risk of this.
The moment that an online bookmaker allows a person to sell their account to someone else, they have no idea who is now using the account, where the money is coming from, who it is going to and so on. Essentially, they’re breaking the terms laid out within their gambling licence from the Gambling Commission. In this respect, a sports betting brand will sooner just close your account if they suspect any fraudulent activity on it than risk losing their own official licence.
Gambling companies will always be watched very closely by the Commission, and this is why betting brands have an obligation to identify the person placing bets and receiving winnings from them. They do not have the relative information if you transfer your account on to someone else. And it would generally be the buyer who comes off worse in this respect if they are found to be using an account that is not in their name.