difficulties of dealing with some foreign online bookmakers
is amply illustrated in the following rather long
but amusing e-mail thread. I now bet almost exclusively
through Australian owned bookmakers, though some are
original problem arose because one of our AFL clients
noticed that Sportsinteraction.com, a large online
bookie based in Canada, had put up grossly inaccurate
prices on two AFL Football matches. Smartgambler clients
immediately hit them with thousands of dollars worth
of bets which soon triggered their internal stop-loss
system and their computer stopped accepting bets.
I soon received the following e-mail.
e-mails in blue, mine in black.)
From: Sports Interaction
Sent: Wednesday, 18 September 2002 11:05 PM
Subject: Incorrect moneyline on AFL
Due to a clerical error the incorrect moneyline was
available on the Brisbane v Port Adelaide game. In line
with our stated policy on clerical errors we have voided
all bets placed at the incorrect line and all stakes
have been credited back to client's accounts. We wish
to aplogise for any inconvenience this may have caused
and if you have any questions please do hesitate to
Sent: Wednesday, 18 September 2002 11:38 PM
To: Sports Interaction
Subject: RE: Incorrect moneyline on AFL
Fair enough, your rules state that this may happen in
the event of a mistake. However, because of that mistake
at your end, myself and quite a number of my company's
AFL football clients have incurred wasted transaction
and currency costs.
May I respectfullly suggest that in order not to alienate
quite a number of good Australian clients who
use your service, that you compensate us either by covering
the aforementioned charges or giving us some other sort
of compensation such as a free bet?
Given that you're giving away a lot of money in 10%
account seedings to attract clients in a competitive
market, it would be very shortsighted to lose a whole
group of clients over a relatively small amount of money.
can get the people involved to document to your satisfaction
the transaction expenses incurred if that would help.
I trust you will see that that it is in your own interests
to maintain a good reputation, as word travels fast
on the internet and whole sites are devoted to analyses
of which online bookmakers are honest, responsible
and clean up their own messes.
Please make sure that a person in an appropriate level
of seniority within your company is notified of this
matter and inform me of your decision as soon as possible.
Managing Director OZmium Pty Ltd
response, so I sent another e-mail.
Please confirm receipt of the following e-mail (below)
to which I have received no reply as yet. This is
an important matter which has cost myself and other
clients of yours (and mine) money. I would appreciate
your urgent attention and an indication that the matter
is under review.
From: Sports Interaction
Sent: Tuesday, 24 September 2002 2:37 PM
To: Guy West
Subject: Re: Follow up e-mail
apologies for any inconveniences. We are working hard
to insure that this dies not happen again. However we
cannot be held responsible for any bets that "could
have" been placed.
contact us if you have any other questions.
appreciate your quick response to my last e-mail but
it doesn't really address the issues raised.
not a matter of bets that 'could have' been placed,
indeed I don't even know what you are referring to with
try and make my points more clearly.
A number of Australian clients of yours have made large
credit card deposits in order to bet on two Australian
Rules Football results where the odds offered seemed
good to us. These credit card deposits attract a 4%
charge plus I am hearing there is also a further charge
at our end for the conversion into $US from $AUD. In
my case my deposit of AUD$4,600 has appeared on my account
as a debit of AUD $4,777.27c, a transaction cost of
one of your odds setters made a mistake, the bets that
these deposits were used for were cancelled (by you)
before the event. No problem, fair enough. However,
what is not fair is if you do not allow these credit
card deposits to be reversed, with the costs borne not
by us but by you.
pointed out previously, it would be ridiculous for you
to on the one hand to attract clients by giving 10%
new account seedings and on the other hand lose those
same clients permanently by failing to cover a much
smaller percentage charge that was your own fault.
understand that your job is probably to 'get rid' of
client problems as efficiently as possible, but I make
the point again that this is a matter that should be
brought to the attention of a senior person within your
company, the sort of person who made the decision to
offer a 10% new account seeding in the first place.
this stage I have rung my credit card company and challenged
the transaction, which means the amount will be reversed
while the matter is under investigation. Other clients
have told me they are taking the same action.
if our concerns are not dealt with seriously at an appropriate
level of authority, I will be publishing all correspondence
pertaining to this matter as well as a precis of what
has occurred on my company's two prominent internet
sites that attract a demographic of online gamblers
who will draw their own conclusions about the matter.
your business reputation is everything and to just say,
'Sorry, we stuffed up and cost you all money, but it
won't happen again', is just not good enough.
You haven't explained how a deposit of AUD$4,600 in
one hit came to be accepted, when your daily transaction
limit is way below this figure by your own admission.
I am not asking for any kind of action on this, but
it would give me greater confidence in the competence
of your group if it was clearly explained what went
hope I have clarified the seriousness of my concerns
and that your next response will address them in a suitably
this point I rise up a rung in the hierarchy and hear
from a new person.
Sent: Thursday, 26 September 2002 12:15 AM
Subject: 4% Credit Card Fee
off I would like to address the wager issue, your wagers
were voided due to incorrect lines being posted. Now
if you would have read our rules and regulations you
would have come across the following statement :
Sports Interaction cannot be held responsible for any
typing or human errors in posting odds other than the
odds intended. In the event that this occurs, Sports
Interaction reserves the right to either void any affected
bets or to correct the error and settle the affected
bets at the correct odds. "
far as I'm concerned this immediately clears up the
wager issue as you agreed to these rules and regulations
upon opening your account.
the 4% fee your were charged on your credit card deposit.
This 4% fee has been applied to all our clients who
use their credit card to fund their accounts, this has
been in effect since day 1 of our web site. Regardless
of how you use the funds in your account or what you
wager on the 4% fee will always apply to all credit
card deposit except your initial deposit. This 4% fee
has never been hiding from our clients and has always
been in plain view on the credit card deposit section
of the deposit page.
agree that it is unfortunate that your wagers did not
stand however I do not see any argument here? You funded
your account using your credit card and were charged
the 4% processing fee, you then placed wagers on incorrect
lines which were then voided and your entire stake returned
to your balance. You now have the option to withdrawal
those funds or continue wagering, it's that simple.
If you request a withdrawal and do happen to lose funds
due to the exchange rate you can simply fax me over
a copy of the deposit receipt showing the exact amount
you received and we will compensate your account the
difference without question, we have always offered
this to clients who do not use USD to wager.
Hopefully this e-mail will set the record straight between
yourself and SIA, if you have any further questions
or comments please do not hesitate to contact us.
Ryan. Sports Interaction
Thanks for your attempt at a more meaningful engagement
with the issues I raised. However, you still missed
the point a bit, though not totally, like Amanda.
There is no wager issue to address. In my e-mail I
referred to the voiding of the wagers with the words,
'fair enough'. I most certainly did read your conditions
before opening an account and whilst I don't necessarily
agree with your approach to the question of errors
(note that if punters make mistakes it's their bad
luck) I accept that those were the rules I agreed
to in opening the account.
My point is that I only made the deposit to specifically
bet on the incorrect lines you had provided. In the
event I was not even able to place the full deposit
as bets (because your stop-loss system activated and
the computer stopped accepting bets), but that was
I cannot leave $4,600 sitting idle in my account,
as credit card charges are around 16% per annum over
here. Therefore, like many of your clients presumably,
I only deposit when I have bets I want to make. I
will now have to withdraw the money, having lost at
least $177, because of a mistake made at your end.
Your rules for voided bets should obviously encompass
the situation I have just described and the client
should not be penalised for your mistake. The transaction
should simply be reversed as in the case of an error.
I run an internet company and I know that this can
be done as we accept credit card transactions over
the internet. We have had to do it ourselves on occasion.
I know you may disagree with my argument. Fair enough.
At least your company is finally trying to engage
with the issues raised and argue your case. I will
not proceed to publish the correspondence to date
on my internet sites (at this point) because that
intention was out of anger at being summarily dismissed
by some functionary who did not appear to have the
intelligence to understand perfectly clearly articulated
points. (I may share it with my betting associates
However, since you hold one opinion and I (and several
other of your clients) hold another, it seems fair
to let an independent umpire decide. To this end we
have contested the transactions on the grounds that
the service that we made the deposit to procure was
specifically those bets that were cancelled. Since
the service was not provided the transaction should
be voided, same as the bets.
I'd be surprised if this was not upheld by the credit
card companies concerned, but if it is not I will
accept the umpires decision.
I note you have not addressed two other points I made,
so I will make them again.
1/ Isn't it counterproductive to be giving 10% new
account seedings to entice people to open new accounts,
then losing those same customers over a 4% fee which
you know was your own fault?
It just makes no commercial sense. Someone like me
is now sitting there with AUD $460 of your money in
my account as a bonus to get me on board. What are
the chances that I am going to turn over my $4,600,
take the $460 then leave, never to be seen again?
If I feel that I am talking to a brick wall then you'd
have to consider the chances pretty good, as clients
of bookmakers have to trust them and it's a very competitive
What are the chances that other clients are going
to do the same thing? I am the Managing Director of
an internet company and I cannot believe that you
can run a successful business that way in the long
2/ No-one has explained to me how I was able to deposit
AUD $4,600 in one hit when it clearly states on your
site that the limit for daily credit card deposits
is way below that. I am not claiming I should not
be responsible for my own decision, I intended to
bet that amount and it was not a rush of blood to
my head, but it worries me and it should worry you
that there seems to be competency problems with your
When there is money at stake, as in your line of business,
this is a major issue. It may even be a statutory
issue for an online bookmaker to exceed daily credit
card deposit limits.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a vexatious litigant...Australia
has mercifully not gone quite so far down that track
yet, but I do want intelligent, complete and reasonable
answers to my questions and not some, 'tell him anything
to make him go away' nonsense.
Perhaps you could apply the normal method of responding
to e-mail points and insert your replies in the body
of the text in a different colour or something. That
would avoid the tendency shown to date of partially
responding to one point and overlooking all the others.
Thank you in anticipation.
matter dragged on for another 3 months before I finally
lost patience and contacted the Kahnawake Gaming Commission
this stage I finally rose to a sufficient level of
managerial competence within the organisation and
was informed that they had made a 'mistake'.
matter was then resolved in less than 24 hours.
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