How many times in life might someone be in a situation where they are placing a bet on behalf of someone else? Perhaps you’re going to the bookmakers to place a wager on the outcome of the Grand National and someone asks you to do one for them, too. Maybe they don’t have an online betting account, so they’ve asked you to put a bet on a football match for them.
There are numerous reasons why it might happen, but the reality is that you’re not allowed to do it and if a bookmaker knew that you were then they could reject the bet or void it. The only time that someone else can give you money for you to bet with is if it is a gift and they’re happy for you to collect any winnings. It might seem strange, but it’s the way the rules on betting with other people’s money works.
If you want to read about the rules around allowing someone else to use your betting account see our dedicated page.
What The Rules Say
The rules on betting with other people’s money essentially say that it isn’t allowed. Whether they ask you to do it or not, you can’t place a bet with money given to you by someone else, presuming that that person wants to collect any possible winnings. Bookmakers and casinos and any other licensed establishments will all follow the same rules, so your bet will be turned down if they know you’re doing it.
It might seem ridiculous, but it’s simply the way the laws are around gambling. The reason for it is that companies are legally required to be able to say exactly where money that they accept is coming from, so they need to take this into account when accepting wagers. They have no way of knowing whether the money you’ve accepted to place a bet has come from an illegal or criminal element, so they can’t accept it.
In fact, in the past this route has been used a lot to launder money. In the days when fixed odds betting terminals had stakes up to £100 per bet it was common for criminals to hand out £1000 at a time to punters in cash and ask them to wager them on roulette with a 95% pay out rate, ensuring that (on average) they got back 95% of the money in clean cash with a receipt from a bookmaker.
Whether it be money from a minor or from someone who is not present in the casino at that time, say, those responsible have to prevent such bets being placed. It’s not that you’d get in trouble for trying to stick a tenner on horse for your dad when the Grand National comes around, it’s just that the bookmaker would be forced to refuse the bet if they knew that that’s what you were doing when you tried to place it.
It Still Happens
Of course, just because something isn’t allowed doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. The reason we’ve used the Grand National example is because that’s the race that even people that don’t like horse racing tend to place a bet on. As a consequence, families will often place their bets together, or offices will run sweepstakes where everyone pays in and a chosen person then puts the bets on at the bookies.
The modern era of betting has made it even more prevalent. The simple truth is that numerous older members of society either don’t know how to place a bet online or else don’t trust it as a system, so younger people will place a bet for them. It’s not exactly unheard of for that sort of thing to happen and it’s also virtually impossible for bookmakers or online casinos to stop it from happening.
When It Can Happen Legally
Just because it’s not allowed in a simple sense doesn’t mean that there aren’t more complicated ways of placing bets with other people’s money that are totally legal. Anyone involved in a betting syndicate, for example, will be placing bets with someone else’s money on a regular basis and in an entirely legal fashion. Of course, betting syndicates have to be organised and can’t just be formed on the spot….
Another example of a way of betting with someone else’s money is via pools betting. Everyone clubbing their money together on a wager is what happens in those circumstances, so it’s perfectly legal. There’s also the circumstance in which someone gifts you some money that you then place a bet with. As long as that person isn’t expecting any sort of return, this is totally acceptable.
Why It’s Not Allowed
We’ve already touched on why betting with someone else’s money isn’t allowed, with the key factor being that bookmakers and casinos have to be able to track where money that they accept has come from. If they are unable to explain where large sums of money have been paid from then they could be fined or punished by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission over money laundering rules.
That isn’t the only reason, though. Bookmakers aren’t stupid and will do whatever they can to protect themselves from being abused. Bonus abuse is one such example, such as when those that bet frequently using someone else’s name in order to receive welcome bonuses that new customers get but those that have been betting for a long time don’t. Because new accounts need to be verified, they have to belong to real people.
It’s why bookies usually have small print in place to say that two people living at the same address can’t receive a bonus or offer. It’s stop someone from using an account set up in their wife, husband or teenager’s name to carry on receiving bonuses that they’ve already been given. The rules are in place to prevent crimes, but stopping people abusing the bonuses is also an added benefit for the bookmakers.
The idea of money laundering will always be seen as the main one that a bookie wants to stop from happening, though. The majority of people betting with low stakes will be able to do so with little, if any, concern. The moment that bigger stakes are involved, however, there is likely to be increased scrutiny with the need to explain where the money has come from, so as to ensure that it’s all legal and above board.
Because a bet is the forming of a contract between you and a betting company, it needs to be you providing the cash that is the basis of said contract. It’s also why the likes of logging into someone else’s betting account and placing a wager for them is seen as such a no-no. It is a fraudulent action that most companies will come down on hard if it is discovered, more so than betting for someone else with your own account.
The truth is that the vast majority of bets placed for other people are done so for entirely fair and understandable reasons, even if they’re not acceptable in the eyes of the betting companies. Yet it is banned in its entirely because of the tiny percentage of people placing such bets for nefarious reasons. It’s vital that bookmakers and casinos ensure that they’re not being used for criminal means, so the majority must pay the price.
The final thing to say on the matter is that you can also benefit from not allowing someone else to place a bet on your behalf. Imagine, for example, that you’ve asked someone to place a big bet on a horse race for you on a wager with long odds. The horse that you’ve bet on wins, so you’re owed a lot of money but the person you gave the money to isn’t willing to give it to you. What recourse do you have in such a situation?
You could, obviously, go to the police and explain the situation, but as soon as it becomes known that the bet was placed by someone else, the betting company is likely to make it void. The other person could also completely deny that the money used to place the bet was yours, instead insisting that it’s theirs. That is exactly the sort of situation that you want to avoid finding yourself in, so not allowing someone else to bet for you is the safest way of doing so.