Time to put an end to Reverse Withdrawals

The practice of reverse withdrawals is a tactic intended to delay taking back winnings with the sole intention of having it used to gamble again.

During the years of experience that some of our panel and portal members have endured under the choking haze of our disordered gambling, we often used the reverse withdrawal functions to make things even worse for us. Our Chair Alex recalls once (amongst numerous examples) gambling all day and feeling a sense of ‘getting away’ with causing himself financial turmoil for the months ahead, by withdrawing a sum of £5000, only to return the next day to see the withdrawal pending, resulting in him using the reverse withdrawal function, causing the entire sum to be gambled within just a few hours and then exhausting other financial streams available to him to gamble yet even more. Needless to say, the consequences of this episode caused great financial hardship and extreme depression and despair.

Quite simply, the reverse withdrawal function is a form of gambling on credit, which is forbidden under current legislation. Companies cannot for example, offer you credit to gamble, nor can credit cards be used (in effect from 14 April 2020) to gamble with. So surely it makes sense to end this practice immediately. A non-disordered gambler is far more likely to use the function than a non-disordered gambler (logic-based, we won’t be calling for a study into this that will tell us the obvious because that might take a year and too much harm will be caused whilst we wait for it). What reason is there for having this function other than to lure people back to spending their often metaphorical ‘winnings’? Surely a non-disordered gambler would have the funds available to gamble when he/she chooses to?

It’s very simple to deposit into online gambling accounts, as it is to open an account in the first place. It can literally take under a minute to open a new account and deposit funds. Yet it can normally take days to receive withdrawals. Furthermore, the reverse withdrawal function increases this delay, clearly for the sole purpose of hoping customers will change their minds and use their ‘winnings’ to gamble with.

We know that Sky Bet have ceased with allowing this practice, why therefore don’t all the other UKGC companies follow? There’s no point in waiting for the Gambling Commission to enforce this, we know they choose not to listen or engage with us and individual consumers via a non-existent complaint process along with other prominent voices, such as Justice For Punters. We call upon all UKGC companies to end the practice and stop dragging your feet until faced with the inevitable negative headlines in the press or a politely worded letter from the UKGC to ask you to consider stopping the practice.

With the focus on what the industry is doing, more so than ever right now, why does it take for us to ask for you to do the right thing? Why doesn’t the industry start taking proactive measures rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen? We’ve said from day one that we will engage with anyone and we’ve stayed true to that. The problem is, it’s been nothing but silence from the industry, other than to issue a statement to their members as a direct consequence of some of the points we and others have been raising recently.