WHILE most bookies are rubbing their hands at the prospect of coining it in at Cheltenham, one bookie didn't even make it to the starting line as Irish firm BetBright announced yesterday that they “have ceased offering betting services to customers on a permanent basis”
The news didn't come as much of a surprise to those within the industry, however, it has left punters potentially out of pocket, especially those who have placed ante-post bets with the firm, which have now been declared void.
Two years ago BetBright were among the most aggressive bookies during the Cheltenham Festival, trying to hoover up new customers with attractive sign-up offers but they've been gradually winding down their acquisition strategy as things have headed south for holding company Dedsert (Ireland) Limited.
Yesterday, 888.com scooped up the technology behind the site, but not BetBright's customers, leaving punters to count the cost of potentially lucrative ante-post bets on Cheltenham, the Grand National and season-long football bets.
Why did BetBright cease trading?
It appears that BetBright simply couldn't make their business profitable in the highly competitive UK betting market. They invested a reported £60m in the business since 2013 and targeted some high profile sponsorships in that time, including the BetBright Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and a multi-million pound shirt sponsorship of Nottingham Forest, but they failed to make the desired impact.
Strategic Gambling Consultancy, Regulus commented that “the brand’s demise could be due in part to tax rises in the UK and Ireland, as well as an underlying market slowdown affecting its early-stage growth projections.”
888.com have paid just £15m for certain assets of the business, signalling a huge loss for those involved.
I have ante-post bets with BetBright, what will happen to them?
Frustratingly for punters, it appears that new owners, 888.com will not be responsible for any outstanding bets that have been placed at BetBright. Instead, any ante-posts will be declared void and the stake returned to customers' betting accounts.
Similarly, those with long-term accumulators will have their bets settled as winning bets with any legs of the bet still to run being declared void.
Punters have been quick to register their anger with the Gambling Commission where a spokesman said
We have received a number of complaints about this matter and are making further inquiries.
How do I get my money back from BetBright?
As of yesterday (5th March) you have 30 days to withdraw any outstanding funds you have in your BetBright account. Don't delay! If you have a BetBright account get your money out now, they will not send your money to you so you need to withdraw.
The Last Word
Once again punters are left with the short end of the stick. BetBright have been able to slip into oblivion, taking back some cash from selling the techonology, but leaving no arrangement in place to honour bets that have been placed in good faith.
To do so a week before the biggest betting event of the year, on which many punters will be sitting on ante-post bets, leaves a particularly bad taste in the mouth.