When was the last time you actually read the small print in a document? Unless you’re a solicitor or a sadist, the chances are slim that you’ve ever spent all that much time reading through terms and conditions for anything at all. The problem is, of course, that companies bury all sorts of information into their Ts & Cs, which means that you can sometimes find yourself on the wrong side of a decision with little-to-no recourse. Whilst terms and conditions often contain reams of non-essential information, there are often a few gems in them too that it is really worth looking at before you sign up.
Things like how much you’ll be allowed to withdraw in any given period will be written in the Ts & Cs of a betting site, for example, as will information about the level of deposit protection a betting site offers customers in case it goes bust. Whilst we wouldn’t expect you to plough through thousands upon thousands of words to discern what is useful information and what isn’t, we do recommend giving the terms and conditions of your chosen bookmaker at least a brief scan. Here we’ll outline the information that is worth looking out for when you read through the T&Cs on offer.
A bookmaker’s terms and conditions will regularly make reference to information about your deposits that can be vital to know. One of the most important of all is the level of protection offered to your deposits in the event that a betting company finds itself in financial trouble. Sadly, it is happening far too often that companies are going bust for any number of reasons, so it’s really important that you know what will likely happen to your deposits. It is not a hard and fast rule, of course, but it will at least give you some idea.
There are, as you can read about in more detail elsewhere, three levels of protection offered by betting sites. The first (no protection) is that your money is fair game in the event that a company goes bust, whilst the second (medium protection) says that a minimum amount of protection will be offered. The third (high protection) is the best, but surprisingly few betting companies actually offer it and some of the biggest in the industry actually opt for the lowest level of protection. Regardless of the one offered, the information about it will be contained in the terms.
Another thing that you’ll be able to find out about by reading the terms and conditions of a betting site is how they treat deposits and monies in accounts that have lain dormant for a specific period of time. A punter that doesn’t use their account for, say, a year might well find that their account has a charged issued to it for its maintenance. This could be a sum such as £5 a week, for example, which will continue to be taken until the account is empty. You might be able to reclaim it all, but the information regarding it will be contained in the small print.
Fees are rare these days for deposits but that is not always the case and not true for all methods. It is worth checking the terms to see if there are fees for certain deposits and withdrawals. Often contained in the terms are details of the minimum deposit and withdrawal limits too, these can range from £1 to £20 generally so worth checking if you are someone that deposits and withdraws low amounts.
Whether we like it or not, bookmakers put all sorts of limits onto the accounts of their customers. The likes of how much you can be paid out for winning bets is a key one, with most bookies limiting the maximum amount that you can win in one go. This will usually vary from sport to sport, with the more popular ones, such as football and horse racing, paying out larger sums than the more obscure sports. This is an important thing to know because there’s no point in betting with a stake that would lead to you winning more than you’ll be paid out.
Some sites have win limits per bet and some have overall win limits, e.g. you can only win £100,000 in a given month, for example. While this will not really influence the average punter it is worth bearing in mind if you bet big or a big odds.
Withdrawal limits are common in different circumstances, with bookies limiting how much you can withdraw every day, week or month. The main reason behind such limits is to stop them from having to pay fees to banks on a consistent basis. Some banks charge bookmakers for every single withdrawal they have to make, which can cost them large sums of money when you consider how many customers they’ll have at any given moment. When you consider that many people will then re-deposit some of that money into their account, you can see why a bookie might want to limit it happening.
Withdrawal limits can range from millions to tens of thousands depending on who you bet with. If, for example, you play jackpot games or place really long odds accas consider doing this with a betting site with a high withdrawal limit.
When Things Go Wrong
One of the most important things covered by a bookmaker’s terms and conditions is what happens when something goes wrong. This can mean different things to different people, of course, but learning what to look for in the small print can help you to understand what you’re getting yourself into. Let’s imagine that you’ve placed a hefty bet on a horse race, for example, and your bet has been made void. You might wonder why and be annoyed about it, but the chances are high that a company’s procedures around void bets are explained in their T&Cs.
There have been a number of cases over the years of a punter claiming that a game that they were playing in an online bookmaker’s casino malfunctioned, seeing them lose vast sums of money. Equally, there have been cases where someone has won a large sum of money and the betting company has claimed that their game wasn’t working properly when that happened. In most instances, the body responsible for looking into matters investigated what the company’s terms and conditions said and used that as the basis of its decision.
Other incidents, such as when a person’s account has been limited or suspended, will be explained within the terms. The reasoning as to why an account has been closed, for example, and the way in which the betting company made its decision will usually be explained in the small print. If you wish to complain then you’ll learn how you can do as much by reading through the terms and conditions. Even information such as how your data is secured and whether it is safe or not will often be explained in the words written in smaller letters.
What To Think About
The above gives you an indication of the kinds of things that are contained within a betting company’s terms and conditions, but obviously it is far from conclusive. The best way of reading the T&Cs when you sign up to a betting site, or even after you’ve done so, is to think about what you want to know. An attempt to read the small print from start to finish will almost certainly result in most people falling asleep, so what you want to do is to have a more focussed scan of the words, keeping an eye out for the topic that you’re interested in.
Once you get to the section that tells you about, say, withdrawal limits, the best thing to do is to copy and paste that into a document on your computer. You can then take your time to read through what it says without being distracted by other factors or worrying that the words are too small. Bookmakers are honest in their approach to things and their reasoning behind decisions, but they won’t necessarily advertise what they’re planning, which is why being able to zero in on what you want to read about can be crucial.