Canbet customers still awaiting payment

Online bookmakers Canbet and the UK Gambling Commission have come under the spotlight as punters worldwide are left wondering if their bets will ever pay off.

Customers in the UK, India, Canada and eastern Europe have been unable to access at least £300,000 held in frozen Canbet accounts since late last year, despite numerous complaints to their regulators the Gambling Commission.

Peter Lord, one of Canbet's Australian -based directors, told ABC Australia that there are no plans to revive Canbet's website, which is currently offline, and that the company are making an "all-out effort" to liquidate the necessary assets to pay their customers.

The Gambling Commission's website stated on 21 February that Canbet were looking into selling assets to raise the cash needed, although the regulators told Gambling Insider today that there are yet to be any developments regarding the case.

Despite being based in Australia Canbet are licensed in the UK ̶ a jurisdiction which doesn't require the firm to keep punters' funds separate from other revenue.

The problems date as far back as September last year, at which point online forums were already inundated with complaints about Canbet, Private Eye reports.

Canbet blamed a malfunction in their partially automated bonus offers for the cash flow problem. While offers that matched bets dollar for dollar were drawing the punters in, an IT glitch was offering bonuses that far outweighed deposits.

In a statement made on their website in January, Canbet announced they would take no further bets or deposits and promised "any unsettled bets will be honoured" once a solution had been found.

But punters have been left feeling ripped off and helpless and many have turned to legal action against the firm.

In a statement to ABC, the Gambling Commission said: "We may decide to take no further action, give the licensee advice as to their conduct or a warning, add, remove or vary a condition of their licence, revoke a licence or impose a financial penalty."

The Commission take a similar stance on their website, making no certain indications of how they will proceed.

One thing they do make clear is that a "significant gap exists between the level of protection that customers assume they might receive" and the "actual level of protection afforded".

Emma Rumney

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