Are Coral Bookmakers Acting Illegally?

January 7, 2016

Are Corals Acting Illegally? Coral Bookmakers and the Freedom of Information Act

Restricted accounts are a common subject of discussion among punters. At Bettingemporium.com we have several thousand members and we often get support emails asking questions on this subject. One of our registered users (let’s call him Mr P), not a professional and someone who likes to bet on a variety of popular sports, opened an account with Corals. He ran the account for over a year, not winning or losing much. Then immediately after a withdrawal, the first in several months, his maximum bet was set at £5 on anything. From all objectiveness it would appear that the withdrawal triggered the restriction. I would assume that Coral have something in place to look at accounts with withdrawals over a certain amount. I believe this particular withdrawal was around £2,000.

Bookmakers are always telling us there are two sides to the restricted account discussion. However punters have yet to hear the ‘other’ side as bookmakers won’t come forward to put their ‘other side’ arguments. In fact as this article will come to show they actually don’t like sharing much information even when they (in my opinion) legally have to.

Neil Channing did a great podcast on account restrictions here: PODCAST

So Mr P wrote to Corals asking about his account restrictions. He made it clear that he was making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and that he was entitled to know what information was held on him by Coral under the Data Protection Act. They chose to ignore this in their replies. He even quoted their own terms and conditions that say that you can obtain a copy of personal information and it will be provided within 40 days. The latest communication from Mr P to Coral on this matter dated September 8th 2015 was completely ignored by Corals and never replied to.

My question is are Coral entitled to stonewall someone like this? I would appreciate any comments on the forum here or by email to me at info@joebeevers.com. If there are any FOIA experts or lawyers out there who can help please let me know what you think. Please tell us are Coral Bookmakers breaking the law?

Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can be found here

…and this is how the communications went:


From: Mr P to help@coral.co.uk Aug 16 2015

Hi there,

For some reason the maximum bet that I can have on my Coral account following my recent withdrawal is £5 on anything – even Premiership football games on TV.

Can you please tell me why and can you fix this for me please?

Kind regards,

Mr P


Coral reply to Mr P Aug 26, 2015
Dear Mr P,

Thank you for contacting Coral Customer Support.

Please be advised that our Trading Department have the right to refuse, restrict or alter any bets that they see fit, without giving a reason to the customer.

This can be seen within the Terms and Conditions of our website, which I have included below:

17. REFUSAL OF BETS

17.1 We reserve the right to refuse any bet that is submitted to us, without giving a reason.

17.2 If we are willing to accept a part of a bet, or accept a bet but at different odds or terms, we will always propose a revised bet which you can then decide to accept or decline. There will always be a limited time within which you must make this decision and if you do not respond in time the bet will not be placed.

I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

Should you require any further assistance on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Support Team on 0800 44 00 11 or via Live Chat between 07:00 – 23:30.

Kind Regards,

Kirsty

Coral Customer Support


 

26th Aug from Mr P to Coral

Dear Coral,

FAO the manager of your customer services department.

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Thank you for yet again another standard response quoting your terms and conditions. You are ignoring my request simply sending general emails. You may be entitled, according to your terms and conditions, to ‘refuse, restrict or alter any bets that they see fit’ but you can not ignore your obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act. The Data Protection Act gives the right to find out what information organisations store about individuals. The FOIA gives me the right to access information that you hold on me.

I would also point out that the line in your t&c that you refer to relates to restricting individual bets. You have restricted my account. There is a difference to wanting to limit a liability or restrict a wager and what you are doing here. You are being disingenuous ignoring that.

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and if I do not receive a satisfactory response within 21 days it may be necessary to report your organisation to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

I realise that this is a decision taken by someone in your company. I want to know exactly the reasons why, specifically relating to my account. You need to share this information with me, it is my legal right.

Please tell me why you have specifically restricted my account and are effectively refusing to take any bets from me.

Please can you forward to me all the data, notes (internal or otherwise) and information that you hold on me and my account?

Kind regards,

Mr P


From Coral to Mr P Sep 3, 2015
Dear Mr P,

Thank you for contacting Coral Customer Support.

Unfortunately, as previously stated this is a decision taken by our trading team purely based on a business decision and as such we are under no obligation to provide any further information to you.
I do apologise if you feel aggrieved however, we are under no legal obligation to provide you with a reason for our decision.

Should you require any further assistance regarding this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Support Team on 0800 44 00 11 or Live Chat (available Monday-Sunday 7:00am – 12:00am).

Kind Regards,

Adam
Coral Customer Support


From Mr P to Coral Sep 8, 2015

Dear Adam at Coral Customer Support,

I have requested you to refer this to your manager. I have made it clear that this is a request under the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act and I do not accept it when you say:

“we are under no obligation to provide any further information to you.”

Furthermore your own terms and conditions privacy policy section 5.1 reads as follows:

“5 – ACCESS TO PERSONAL INFORMATION
obtain a copy of Your Personal Information held by us following completion of the appropriate forms. We are entitled by law to make an administrative charge (payable by cheque or bank transfer) for providing such information. Your Personal Information will be provided within 40 days of the appropriate request and payment.”

Please provide a copy of all my personal information, notes internal and otherwise, and any data that you hold on me. The FOI Act details that you should do this within 20 days and my original request is now over 20 days old.

Regards,

Mr P


The above email dated September 8th was never replied to by Corals.

ends