It seems every morning I could write about how disgusting the bookmaking industry is. I wish it wasn’t as it makes my life so much harder.
Lets start with Puntingpal shall we. This was a new Vanuatu based bookmaker owned by John Dow jnr who entered the Australian market. They pay no Australian taxes, pay the racing body no money and have a tiny tax rate in Vanuatu. Now as a punter, I am not concerned by this, my concern is will they take a bet. By paying no taxes, they have an even bigger margin to play with and should be happy with as many clients as possible. Their website states “We hope to be able to provide a new service to all of our customers that is unrivalled throughout the bookmaking fraternity. Clients are no longer just a number like they are with the corporate bookies. You are all our number one priority and we will strive to make your punting experience enjoyable.“. They may HOPE for something, but that doesn’t make it real. I hope that this bookie goes under very soon (this may come true).
I was told about the website from a friend and joined up (there is no join button on the website, you need to call or email them to create an account), I took up the signup offer of $500 for $500 and on the weekend they seemed desperate for money and offered a $1,000 for $1,000 to all clients (never a good sign). I off course availed myself of this offer. The first week I was a member they took my AFL bets in full, I believe one was for $5,000. The next week they took half the bet amount and this past week they would only take $1,000 bets (they took more just before the game started). As I don’t trust a bookie based in Vanuatu, I always make sure to withdraw at the end of the week. This morning I woke to an email that said “We are writing to inform you of our decision to suspend all activity on your account…free bets have been cancelled. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.“.
To see how difficult it is to create a bookmaking company in Vanuatu I called the Vanuatu licensing review and audit department and asked what I would need to do to open a bookmaker. They were very happy to walk me through the process and it is quite simple. I would pay 0.1% tax on fixed odds bets, 2.5% on gross monthly earnings and a $35,000 application fee with a $30,000 yearly fee. That’s it. $65,000 to get started and they seemed very willing to get me signed up. It seems anyone can start a sportsbook. If anyone is keen for this it would not be hard to create a sportsbook that would rival any Australian bookmaker and if a shoddy operator like Betstar can get bought for $25million then this seems an easy way to make a lot of money.
Anyway, what I would suggest you do is take Puntingpals sign up offer, take up any bonus offers, but never ever bet for any other reason other to take the bonus money. If you currently have an account, withdraw immediately and only deposit if they offer a bonus. These bookmakers need to learn that if they can’t offer a fair service then we the public will not stand for it.
I’m sure they will get an influx of customers from this post as the site was relatively unknown before. They do offer 1.95 odds on AFL lines, your account will only last a few weeks, but take what you can. Another despicable book. One day we might see a fair operator join the Australian market, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
EDIT: within minutes of posting this article I had numerous readers email me with other dodgy things this bookmaker has done, taking free bets away, taking fixed odds away and the usual crap from rogue bookmakers. I would say don’t risk any money here.