Ladbrokes have imposed fees of $3 on ‘inactive’ players. This earned them the nickname ‘vultures’. This fee may put pressure on recovering addicts to start betting again.
Registered users who haven’t used the Ladbrokes website in the past 14 months have all received emails.
According to the email’s contents, Ladbrokes would deduct $3 from each user’s account.
Ladbrokes claims that this charge is due to ‘operating costs’. This means they have to keep accounts open, which according to them, isn’t free. They also promised to refund the money to recurring customers.
Chris Brown, a sports producer, shared a sample of the email’s contents on Twitter. After seeing it, many people thought of it as ‘diabolical’.
People on other social media also gave their responses. They’ve named Ladbrokes as ‘disgusting vultures’.
Chris from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, claims: ‘It’s not sending the right message. There’s a whole ‘gamble aware’ campaign, and this goes completely against it.
‘If you are someone who’s struggled with gambling and you haven’t logged into your account for a year and know you have $20 in there, you’re immediately going to want to log in and either withdraw it or spend more.
‘It needs to be investigated.’
According to the email, users could “claim back” $3. They could do that by contacting Ladbrokes Customer Services.
Ladbrokes also responded to one tweet. They said: ‘Hey, thanks for your message. These fees are calculated as the operating cost of having your account kept open whilst it remains inactive, and only your gaming account balance will be charged.
‘If you’d like to talk about this in more detail, then please send us a DM.’
Chris, 36, called this move ‘nonsense’ on Twitter after checking his emails yesterday.
He added: ‘[I read] that my account’s been inactive and as of [Thursday] I’ll be [charged] a $3 monthly inactivity fee. That’s not right.’
‘I don’t think I had any money in my account anyway, but if I did, I presume they’d just take $3 a month out until it goes.
‘They responded to my tweet to say it was to cover their operating costs. They said “while your account remains inactive it’s for the operating costs of keeping the account open”.
‘I don’t think anywhere else does that. If I don’t do my online shopping, I don’t think they’ll start charging me for not doing my online shopping.’
In a sign of protest, Chris and many others on social media have now deactivated their accounts.
Entain, a sports-betting and gaming group that owns Ladbrokes, came forth. They said they would refund all affected by the $3 fee.
Gambling guidelines note that the charge is part of a standard practice.
A representative of the organization also spoke up. They said: ‘Our principle objective is to repatriate money sitting in dormant inactive accounts to the customer and to close that account down if it is no longer active.
‘If the customer at any stage of the process makes contact and requests the reimbursement of the dormancy fees, we will make that repayment in full.
Ladbrokes email in full:
‘Following our prior communications, we’re updating you that your account is now being treated as inactive as it hasn’t been used for 14 months.
‘As of today, a $3 monthly inactivity fee is now in effect, which will continue until your balance reaches zero.
‘Please note that fees have been deducted from your Ladbrokes account balance can be claimed back by contacting our Customer Service team.
‘Once you’re reclaimed them, you can withdraw your balance as you have in the past.
‘If your balance is less than $5 or your last known payment method has expired, you’ll need to make a deposit and then withdraw that amount plus your remaining balance.
‘We may be required to reverify your personal details before you are able to deposit or withdraw; this will be notified to you upon account login, and instructions will be provided.
‘If you have any questions or further queries about your account, please contact us.’