An Open-Letter To Ladbrokes

This is an open letter sent in by one of our readers David Welburn…

Is Ladbrokes The Worst Bookmaker Ever?

Do you think a bookmaker should be able to take a bet and then change the conditions of the bet afterwards? I certainly don’t but this happened to me recently.

I placed a bet with Ladbrokes at 7/4 and was given it as a Best Odds Guaranteed bet, which means if the starting price is greater than the price taken you will be paid at the starting price.

A little later a horse was taken out of the race which meant there would be a 15p Rule 4 Deduction applied to the race (i.e. 15% taken off any winnings at prices taken before this horse was removed).

The horse I bet on went on to win at a starting price (SP) of 13/8.

Now 13/8 is greater than 7/4 with a 15p rule 4 deduction applied, so I should have got paid at 13/8; but I didn’t – I got paid at 7/4 with a 15p rule 4 deduction applied.

I phoned them up to query this, and at first they said it was because a horse had been taken out of the race. I said I knew about that, but I still should have got the SP of 13/8 as I took a Best Odds Guaranteed Price, and the horse that was taken out was removed earlier in the day – not withdrawn at the time of the race (which means the rule 4 would not be applied to the SP, but only to prices taken before the horse was taken out).

I was then told that it was because the traders had decided that I was no longer entitled to best odds guaranteed prices and that this restriction (together with a restriction on all other bonuses and offers) had been applied to my account.

I said that was fine, but I didn’t know this before I placed the bet. I was certainly not informed of this, so I should get the bet settled according to the terms of the bet when I placed it – i.e. best odds guaranteed. I was simply told that the trader’s decision was final and that was it.

I then asked if I could take it further and appeal to someone higher up to reverse this decision, as again, I did not know of this restriction when I placed the bet.

They said someone would call me on Monday about it. But no-one did.

I sent an e-mail to them about it, explaining all the details, and I simply got the reply that this restriction had been applied to my account.

I e-mailed them three further times about it, explaining what had happened and that surely I was entitled to have the bet settled according to the terms that I was actually given for this bet, even if restrictions were to apply in the future.

Each time I just got the same reply, and I was told that there was no-one higher up that I could take the matter up with.

So they simply refused to pay, even though it was only an extra £16.50, which to a big company like Ladbrokes is irrelevant.

Personally I think this behaviour is deplorable, especially considering the status of this company. What do you think? Should a bookmaker be able to change the conditions of your bet, once it is placed and accepted, like this, or should they stick to the original terms of the bet and pay you accordingly? I’d love to hear your views.

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Eddie Lloyd

I have been a professional gambler for 3 years now and spend all my days searching for "value" within Horse Racing. I'm also a keen musician and love travelling around the world.


  1. They are a law unto themselves, I’ve had my account restricted with Ladbrokes too, without hardly having a bet. Bookmakers never seem to give you a reason why your account has been restricted or banned, like we are supposed to guess. It is time there was a change, I personally think they should be forced to take a bet if they are a bookmaker. What is the point of being a bookmaker if you are not going to take bets, or are going to cherry pick. Their licence should be revoked for this practice. In short they don’t want savvy punters.

    1. big handicaps at ascot the big 19 runner sprint on Saturday the worst of all, every bookie in Belfast paid 5 places at a quarter the odds, Ladbrokes the worst and most devious bookie, that ever existed, only paid 4 places, until a couple of minutes before the off, then it was announced Ladbrokes are now paying on 5 places, I was told that after I left the shop.

  2. Unfortunately I am not surprised.

    I have worked for Ladbrokes in the past and resigned because of poor/bad business practices.

    Legally I do not believe they can change the conditions of the bet after the event – they must be held to account. With your permission I would like to highlight this case on my website?

    Best Regards

    Paul Moon
    The Racing Horse

    1. But they haven’t changed the conditions of the bet!

      7/4 early BOG price taken on a horse that wins at 13/8, 7/4 is the BOG price and is the price used for the pay out according to the bookmakers BOG terms and conditions, therefore the bet has been accepted and settled to the best price available which is exactly what BOG promises

      The issue is the rule 4 means the 13/8 winning price pays more than the 7/4 bog price because of a smaller deduction, and that’s one of the quirks of BOG betting, but settling the bet that way would be best return guaranteed not BOG, and I don’t know of any bookie offering that!

      The fact that they are now saying his account is restricted with regards to BOG and bonuses is wrong on so many levels, and typical of bookies (Stan James restricted my account because they didn’t THINK it would be profitable to them) but in this case Ladbrokes have settled the bet to BOG which are the terms under which the bet was taken and haven’t done anything wrong with regards to bet settlement, a rule 4 is a rule 4 and the bookies friend, and we all know that

      1. Look at Ladbrokes BOG rules >> “In the event of a Rule 4, we pay you at the bigger odds, after the Rule 4 deduction has been applied.”

    1. This is coming up a lot and the punter does know 7/4 is greater than 13/8! His point is that he would have got paid out more on 13/8 than the original price less reduction. I sympathise but feel that the t&cs will cover this as he is actually looking for best settlement figures.

      1. Look at Ladbrokes BOG rules >> “In the event of a Rule 4, we pay you at the bigger odds, after the Rule 4 deduction has been applied.”

  3. Personally I would take this to the Gambling Commission or the Association of British Bookmakers.

  4. Well done for putting this up on the RA website. The biggest frustration that I have had with bookie behaviour in the past has been my lack of any voice. A couple of years ago I had a long run-in with 10Bet who simply refused to allow withdrawal of funds from my account, without any suggestion that I had ‘misbehaved’.

    Within my little experience, Sportsbook Review is the site that I reference for complaints against bookies (and to check which are the most honest!). I see that they have Ladbrokes highly rated as ‘A’. It might be worth feeding your experience to them. Also Ladbrokes is a public company quoted on the FTSE250. Maybe more of us should buy a handful of shares and raise our voices as owners of the business.

    Bookies know punters are unlikely to turn to the law to try to recover a small unpaid bet. I feel, like Wendy, that bookmakers should not be so free to accept bets only from losing accounts while at the same time pretending some concern about the gambling addictions that they feed and encourage. I don’t expect to go into the Co-op to buy food and be turned away without any reason. Why should bookies be able to behave like this?

  5. This tells me one thing “STAY AWAY FROM BOOKMAKERS” and go for the value with betting exchanges ! I live in Australia and we have seen a large spike in British bookmakers entering the Australian market is this because they are struggling in the UK up against the betting exchanges
    Unfortunately our government only allows one betting exchange here and that is Befair and the government has tried to isolate Betfair by forcing them to operate from the state of Tasmania it would be better for Betfair to operate from Sydney or Melbourne but our crappy government is money hungry just like the Bookmakers .

  6. Boylesports did almost exactly the same to me the only difference was there was no “rule 4” they just paid out a 5/1 BOG winner at 3/1 and told me I was no longer entitled to BOG or any other bonuses plus further bets may be “restricted” what does that mean ? I put on £25 and they only pay me out to a Tenner ? I took my complaint to IBAS …. a complete waste of time !!

  7. I do sympathize with your readers as I’ve been having trouble with bookmakers for over 20 years, just a couple of examples over ascot week, had a big ew double with paddy power @bog prices taken 12’s & 20’s one won the other placed,.. sp prices bigger did they pay me @bog NO, had a patent with boyles same scenario.
    looks to me these bookies just not happy paying what we should be getting, why say we will pay bog when they clearly won’t, I feel this needs to be addressed throughout the industry we wouldn’t stand for this sort of behaviour with any other retailer would we?

  8. The bookmakers are more than happy to see the money going into the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, or other things where they have a very good margin. Yes, they have to make a profit, but why accept bets from some punters, and not all? They must be forced to accept an amount, say £25 or £50.

    I don’t think I have a single bookie offering me BOG, and quite frankly, in the main, I have given up on the horses.

    The petition is at…

    They need 3000 signatures, and are only 176 short as I write this. Everyone, please sign this, the voices must be heard.

  9. My advice would be to write to Which? Magazine with this. I don’t recall them doing an investigation on bookmakers and it might be a cause they will take up. Worth a try.

  10. I had a bet 3 days on the trot with Bet victor best odds guaranteed all 3 won at bigger odds I received an e- mail from them telling me I was no longer allowed best odds I closed my account

    1. I had this happen with Boylesports, I had barely placed a bet and I was banned from taking their BOG offers any more and restricted to something like £1.80 – how ridiculous. Then Ladbrokes followed suit within a few days, I can only suppose they use the same tracking software or share their information gathering practices. No reason given by either of them. I was also told I wasn’t allowed any free bets, and when I checked I hadn’t ever had any free bets to start with.

  11. Hi,

    This was posted by one of our readers but not published for some reason –

    I’ve just been done by ladbrokes placed a £10 bet on simple verse last night at 6-1 with them, which drifted to 14-1 they only paid the 6-1 saying that bog only applies after 9am on the day of racing so much for bog i hope everyone knows about these ts & cs i didnt and its cost me £80, gutted, regards colin.

  12. i have had my bets restricted at ladbrokes website so i closed my account and i now bet in their shop over the counter and i have not had any problems at all ? so i think it is down to some ******* in the website office trying to bump up his commission by restricting winning accounts ? and of course they will not reply either ?

  13. Ladbroke is the most unhelpful bookmakers on the planet .they want your money and don’t care about the bread and butter punters . I hope corals will screw them like they screwed me .

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