The practice of proxy betting, in which you place a bet on someone else’s behalf, is not technically illegal, but most betting companies do not allow it. When you sign up to place wagers with a bookmaker, you are effectively agreeing to a contract between yourself and the company that you’re placing your bets with. The fact that the contract is between the person that opened the account and the company that they opened the account with means that you would be breaking the agreement by placing a bet on behalf of someone else, give someone money to bet for you or let someone access your betting account, which are all against the rules.
Of course, proxy bettors have been a useful thing historically, especially for those that can’t place a bet for one reason or another. Those that were physically incapable of getting to a betting shop would ask someone else to do it for them, back in the days before online betting became a thing. In the United States of America, the fact that betting was illegal in some states meant that it was necessary for people to use proxies to place wagers for them, even though it was also illegal to do so there. The question is, what are the rules now?
What Is Proxy Betting?
The definition of ‘proxy’ is ‘the authority to represent someone else’. There is a good chance that you’ll have heard the word before in relation to legal things, given that a proxy is a person legally entitled to act on behalf of someone else. It is possible that you’ll have heard of a proxy server in computing, which is a server application that acts as a go-between for a client that is requesting a resource and the server that is able to provide that resource. That gives you a good indication of what, exactly, a proxy is and how it is defined.
When you then extend that to talking about betting, a proxy bettor is someone who places a bet on behalf of someone else. There are even proxy betting services, wherein you can sign up to a company and they will place bets for you. There is some evidence that such services have been in place since the end of the 1980s, with those that got through the process of placing bets for others usually charging a fee for it. This allows people to make money from betting without actually needing to risk their own money in the process.
What The Rules Say
Bookmakers are pretty strict when it comes to proxy betting. In America, for example, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Permanent Sports Betting Rules state,
“No licensee shall knowingly accept a wager from a person on behalf of any other person. No licensee shall knowingly allow a person to make a wager utilizing the account of another person.”
In other words, you can’t place bets on someone else’s behalf and nor can you allow someone else to place wagers on your behalf, else you’ll be breaking the rules of your contract.
One UK-based operator says the following:
“We will not accept wagers from prohibited sports pools participants. Prohibited sports pool participants means any individual who is prohibited pursuant to any self-exclusion or casino exclusion list, any individual whose participation may undermine the integrity of the wagering or the sports event or for other good causes, including but not limited to, any individual placing a wager as an agent or a proxy.”
That is to say, anyone placing a bet on someone else’s behalf is prohibited just as anyone placing a bet when excluded would be.
What Happens In Practice?
The reality for bookmakers is that they want your money. The simply fact as that the world of betting is set up to ensure that bookies will make money in the long-run. As a result, they don’t really mind who it is that is placing bets as it will almost certainly see them make money. That being said, they still have to pay lip service to their terms and conditions, so they will clamp down on proxy betting if it is being done obviously. You need to be aware that it is against the terms and conditions of your bookmaker to either place proxy bets or use a proxy to place yours.
Whilst it isn’t illegal, so you won’t get into trouble with the police for doing it, it may result in your betting account being shut down. This will likely not just be with the company that you placed proxy bets with but also any associated companies. In other words, if you placed proxy bets with Betfair and got discovered, there is a good chance that your Betfair account will be shut down as well as any accounts that you hold with their sister companies like Paddy Power, which obviously isn’t ideal if you have the accounts for a reason.
Even The Bookies Can Get Punished
On the third of March 2022, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement ordered DraftKings to pay a penalty of $150,000 for breaching their rules around proxy betting. A VIP customer was allowed to place proxy bets from the company’s suite at the Florida Super Bowl in 2020, according to the New Jersey state regulator. The report into the matter suggested that the operator found ways for the bettor to get around the rules a number of times after it had been discovered that they were breaking the proxy betting rules.
It wasn’t the first time that DraftKings had breached proxy betting rules, having also done so in 2019. On that occasion, the customer in question, Eric Stevens, had has knee surgery that stopped him from being able to travel, so he sent a proxy to placing as much as $50,000 worth of bets on his behalf. Stevens claimed that he had a verbal agreement with Johnny Avello, the Sportsbook Director for DraftKings, but the company denies that any such agreement was in place, stating it to be a ‘patently false’ assertion.
At the time of writing, it is difficult to find any evidence of a British firm that has been fined in such a way for the same sort of practice. That being said, it is possible that this is because it is against the terms and conditions of the bookmakers themselves, as opposed to being something that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is all that interested in clamping down on. The important thing to remember is that if you are discovered to be either using a proxy to place your bets or else acting as a proxy for another person, you could get your account shutdown as a result.