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AG EXCLUSIVE: Canbet customers lost and angry as saga drags on

Fri, May 2, 12:37pm by Brad McGrath

CanBetA GLOBAL online betting firm, which is believed to owe Australian customers in excess of a million dollars, has shut up shop and “can’t be contacted”.

Gamblers from Australia, UK, India, Eastern Europe and Canada have been unable to access thousands of dollars in winnings since late last year.

The company in question, Canbet, said in December the issue was due to a computer glitch and promised to pay customers as soon as it could.

But angry punters, with over $20,000 owed to them, have contacted AustralianGambling with complaints about the company, which is licenced with the UK Gambling Commission.

One tally at an online forum has Canbet owing customers over AUD $1 million.

Justin B from Tamworth, said he is owed over €150, and is unable to contact the troubled bookmaker via their website, which has been taken down, or email and no longer has any faith that he will get his money back.

“I am not owed much, but it would be a good night out for us,” he said.

“When I couldn’t get my money out I had no idea why.

“They have just shut it down and have taken the money – I don’t know how they can get away with it.”

Canbet’s parent company Interactive Gaming and Sports Group is based in Melbourne, but despite constant attempts by AustralianGambling to contact them our calls and emails were not returned.

The last public comment from Canbet, was in January from Australian Director Peter Lord, who told the ABC that the company “was working on a solution” to pay customers the money they were owed”.

The UK Gambling Commission released an update on April 15 which said that Canbet had failed to receive additional funding from its Australian parent company.

The report said that Canbet is “now looking to sell assets within the company to raise the cash needed to pay their creditors.”

But Shannon C, from Melbourne, said he has his doubts that he will ever see the AUD $5,000 he is owed by Canbet.

He said the alarm bells began ringing for him when he requested a withdrawal in December and couldn’t access his money.

“I’m obviously not happy about it,” he said.

“I’m not a wealthy man and losing that type of money hurts a lot.

“I just don’t know what I can do about it and don’t know who to contact.”

Canbet is also accused of taking unauthorised wagers on a range of sports including horse racing, across three states in Australia.

Racing Victoria and Racing Queensland have both confirmed that Canbet was never approved to bet on racing in their states.

But the fact that Canbet is based off-shore means that the company is unlikely to ever face any charges from its indiscretions in Australia.

Canbet is just one of the latest in a long line of scandals surrounding online betting with one disgruntled customer describing Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act as a “joke”.

“At the moment there are not really any laws protecting Australians from being ripped off,” Tim S, from Sydney, said.

Tim S agreed that Australia needs to work closely with countries that provide major betting licences, like the UK, and come up with a solution to protect punters from putting money into companies like Canbet.

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