IBAS calls for mechanism to allow customers to challenge sports betting data

The BBC had reported on complaints about how bets are settled.
The BBC had reported on complaints about how bets are settled.

The adjudication service has responded amid concerns about how bookmakers settle bets.

UK.- The UK’s Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) has responded after media reports raised concerns about customer complaints regarding how bookmakers settle bets using third-party data services. It’s called for a mechanism to be introduced to allow customers to challenge sports betting data.

A BBC report raised the issue of customers feeling “robbed” after losing bet builder bets allegedly due to inaccurate data supplied to bookmakers. The Gambling Commission has said that its CEO Andrew Rhodes will meet with stakeholders including data providers to discuss the matter.

The article referenced IBAS’s Richard Hayler, who detailed that “nearly 300 people tried to appeal their football data bets”, and that data disputes made up around 15% of their workload.

The IBAS has clarified that disputes around data are often a “matter of fact vs matter of opinion”. It clarified that it believes it is fair to use the data from third-party suppliers to settle bets but that there is a an “imbalance in the fairness of access to the data agencies”.

It said: “At IBAS, we have made no secret of our frustration at this type of betting. There are so many matters of fact on which bets can be placed and settled with confidence. The majority of these football statistical betting markets rely on matters of opinion. From our experience, that makes avoidable disputes inevitable.”

It argued that in such cases, customers should have a way to question data directly with providers. 

It said: “We believe that if bookmakers are able to directly query the decisions of an agency about how events are classified, a mechanism needs to be made available for punters to query those decisions too, recognising the practical challenge of the scale of queries it might generate.”

The IBAS also recommended that data be standardised in an attempt to avoid confusion. It noted that some sports had managed to achieve data uniformity across agencies. It also urged bookmakers in the IBAS resolution scheme to make it clear which data provider they use to settle bets.

It said: “We consider it imperative for everyone to understand what they are betting on when they place a bet. For a number of years, we have encouraged those bookmakers who participate in the IBAS ADR scheme to make it clear where they offer statistical betting markets, which data provider they will use to settle bets.”

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