Sportsbooks licensed by the UK Gambling Commission have long been shielded from much of the public distrust toward online bookmakers. These organizations billed themselves as operating in rock-solid jurisdictions, or as Canbet Sportsbook put it on their website, the "strictest and most regulated wagering environment".
This is of no comfort to the players currently owed over $800,000.
The true figure owed to Canbet Sportsbook clients figures to be somewhere in the eight figure range, that is if we believe Canbet's own reports over the years to have near a quarter million players, epsecially when considering that less than 1% of bettors usually seek out gaming portals to post on their betting activity and that Canbet has been in business since 1995. Nearly 200 players have filed complaints with Sportsbook Review and posted their feedback on the SBR Forum message board.
So, who is really to blame for Canbet's shocking collapse? Is it Co-Directors Peter Lord and Graeme White, the UK Gambling Commission, or both?
There is plenty of blame to go around. Canbet will have you believe that the fingers should be pointed at third party technical companies, who allegedly allowed thousands of bonuses to be credited to players who didn't deserve them, and allowed the withdrawal of winnings which should have been losses. It might sound complicated, and that's because it's hard to believe. SBR investigators spent hours discussing the Canbet downfall with Co-Director Peter Lord via telephone. Lord claimed that for many months Canbet believed to be winning while it was losing. Payout after payout was allegedly made by players who did not meet their wagering requirements. It is a tough sell that a sportsbook in business since '95 has no clue what its true financials are.
Setting aside speculation, there is no dispute to the fact that Canbet Sportsbook users began submitting payout complaints in October 2013. The UK Gambling Commission by all accounts did nothing to stem the flow of those complaints, certainly not by holding Canbet's feet to the fire or bringing into question their gaming licence. It was not until 31 December 2013 that Canbet finally stopped accepting deposits, when even Peter Lord could not assure the public that all would be OK.
What happens now?
Canbet has claimed that financial advisors are undertaking the process of an asset sale - in other words, Canbet Sportsbook is on the market. Standing in the way of an acquisition would be the fact that a majority of Canbet's user base likely have accounts with many of the reputable bookmakers who would be able to take on such debt. SBR will keep readers posted on news of a potential sale.
As for the UK Gambling Commission, a statement was released today on their website recapping Canbet stringing them along into believing additional capital would be raised by shareholders to take care of their payment obligations. That never happened of course, and had already been stated by Canbet themselves in their open letter to players dated nine days ago.
SBR asks players who are owed by Canbet Sportsbook to document their outstanding balance for the record in the event that an acquisition does happen.
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