Home What If A Bookmaker Goes Bankrupt?

What If A Bookmaker Goes Bankrupt?

What To Do If A Betting Site Or A Casino Goes Bankrupt?

BankruptIt is very difficult that gambling companies go bursts as they usually are simply acquired, or they do merge with stronger brands. The reason is that the competition is very strong and accounts are just too valuable assets to get them lost.
In addition to that UK licensed operators are required to keep customer deposits in ring-fenced accounts so that bets and funds are kept protected from the main company account.

Having said that, the betting industry is very competitive and sometimes especially new entrants might fail. Deposits in betting accounts are not protected by the UK government like bank deposits are so if a betting company do go burst you risk to lose your money and ultimately it depends what is the protection that the betting site has opted for your funds.

In this section, we will look at how betting companies are protecting your money and what can happen if a UK licensed operator will go burst.

UK Betting Sites Deposit Protection

The Gambling Commission has different levels of protection in regards to customer deposits. Keep reading, and you will find that those are split into Basic, Medium and High protection.

Statistically Betting Sites And Casinos Rarely Go Bankrupt

Even if there have been some sporadic cases of bookmaker going bankrupt, this is not happening frequently for some reasons. First of all betting sites are run professionally, and they are well managed, so it is more likely that a company in difficulties will merge with another player rather than go bankrupt.

Businesses in the UK are also required to report their profits and losses regularly. This means that it is nearly impossible that a betting company will go bust overnight. There will be profit warnings so that you have time to decide what to do. Accounts are typically suspended in advance when those kinds of situations arise.

Gambling Companies Must Follow the Law

Gambling CommissionUK Betting sites need to follow the Gambling Commission regulations that are set up under the Gambling Act of 2005. Those rules, in addition to protecting vulnerable and prevent crimes, do also dictate principles and require that a company is financially stable to obtain and retain a license. The Gambling Commission also ask all the licensees to hold customer cash on separate accounts for further security. If you want to know, more details go over our dedicated UK gambling license page.

The Gambling Commission also make sure that anyone who just went bankrupt with a gambling company will not be allowed to open a new one immediately.

How Betting Companies Protect Your Money

As mentioned the UK legislation imposes that gambling companies will keep customers money in separate bank accounts to those that are used to run the business. The law doesn’t protect the funds in the same way as when those are held by a financial institution, like a bank. So if a betting company do go bankrupt, you risk losing your money, and this will depend on the level of protection the operator has opted for.

The law requires that gambling businesses will tell what level of protection you are going to have on your betting account. You can find this information in the terms and conditions when you sign up for a new account.

For this reason, it is crucial that you never hold more money that you need in a betting site.

The good news is that on this page we will show you what the level of protection for customer deposits is for all the betting sites that we list here at BestBettingSites.Online.

UK Betting Sites Protection Levels Customer Deposits

protection moneyThere are three levels of protection: high, medium and basic for customers deposits. We have researched and listed the protection levels from the UK best-betting sites. It is quite surprising that the majority of betting sites only have basic protection with just a few of them that have opted for the high level.

High-Level Protection

In this case, all the cash that is in customers accounts is held in a separate company to the gambling entity. Since legally that money is different from the main business, customers should receive it in full in case of bankruptcy.

If you are planning to make large deposits or keep lots of cash in your account for a long time, you should pick one of those betting sites that have the best level of deposit protection.

Paddy Power

Medium Level Protection

In this case, there is an insurance to protect accounts where customers funds are. In this case, you will get paid out by a third party if the company will close the business. There is no guarantee you will receive 100% of your money back this still offers decent protection. If you have a rather small amount in your betting account that you are going to keep for a long time, this is the type of security that will do for you.

888 Sports

Basic Level Protection

Your money does not have additional protection if a betting company will fail. Customers funds are still kept in separate accounts, but if the company goes bust, those will be legally considered part of the business.
This means that administrations will probably use that money to pay critical creditors first and customers will unlikely see your money back. The main benefit of the basic level of protection is that a company cannot reach and spend customers money to run the business. It is impressive to see how many of the big betting sites only have basic protection though.

Red Zone Sports
Sport Nation
William Hill

Credit Cards Protection

Credit CardsIf you have used a credit card to make a deposit to a betting site, you might be covered if the company will go bankrupt. So you might be able to get money back (at least some) through your card provider.
Not many are using credit cards to deposit into betting accounts as they do carry high fees, but in this case, it might come convenient. Even if you have deposited through a debit card, you should still attempt to get a refund from your bank although will be rather unlikely.

What Happens To Your Cash If A Betting Site Goes Bankrupt?

As mentioned the funds will be held in separate accounts. Depending on the level of protection the betting site has opted in you might or might not receive your money back.

Live Bets

Any bet that has been placed but hasn’t yet settled will be considered as a deposit fund. The money should be paid back with the deposits. The Ante-post bets, however, are at higher risk and if you know the betting site is on trouble, it is probably best to cash them out and run.


If the company accounts have been frozen so will be any withdrawals. Due to timing, those withdrawing to eWallet might have a better chance to receive their money. An excellent way to check if a betting company is having problems is the time they take to process withdrawals: if those are becoming slower, this is undoubtedly an alarm bell.

In-Play Bets

It is very unlikely that the bookmaker or casino will go bankrupt while your bet is still in play: this might happen only if you are betting for example on a 5 days cricket match. Usually, tough your bets will be covered until the exact time that the trading ceased. How much you will get back from the operator it will depend on the level of protection that they have, as we have seen.

Are New Betting Sites Riskier?

NewSurely new brands are at higher risk of failure as they don’t have the same financial solidity and experience of historical bookmakers. , however, new betting sites have a different business model from the big operators, to ensure their exposure is not too high and they are always able to pay bets. New betting sites also have lower costs compared with the biggest companies in the industry: lots of them are even running on white labels which means that they are using software and odds from the third party to avoid massive charges. In this situation, the funds will be protected by the licensed operator, and you should generally receive your money back if they go bankrupt.

To enter the betting industry nowadays, you would need to invest six or even seven figures, and this means that most companies will be set up robustly even if they are small so that they can make the most of the investment.

Betting Companies in Administration

When a company goes in administration, the administrators’ job will be to try and sell the company to third parties who will hopefully cover the creditors, and this means you stand a great chance of receiving your money.

If the administrators are not successful, then the company will start paying down the creditors based on priorities. It is a good idea to write to administrators asking for your money: you might not get everything, but you stand a chance to get some.

The administration is pretty rare in the betting industry as those companies that are not doing well are typically bought out before they reach that stage.

Investors in Betting Businesses

If you are investing in betting businesses, your funds are at risk like in any other private company. If you believe a company is not doing well and it is about to fail, it is best to try and get the investment out.

Generally, though the betting industry is one of the best for investors as it has very high returns and low margins especially online.

Why Betting Sites Close Down?

going-out-of-business-signAs you might expect betting sites and casinos prefer losing punters to the winning ones. In the UK and Ireland, bookmakers do not have an obligation to take bets off punters, and for this reason, they can restrict and even suspend those customers that are consistently winning against the house. After all, they are private businesses and are there to make a profit.

In theory, a betting site might find themselves with a significant proportion of successful punters for different reasons, and this could lead to over-exposure. In this situation, a betting company that might already have issues could well go bust.

Online casino, on the other hand, won’t have to worry about the variability of human skills that can drive heavy losses. Online games are played with a random number generator, and payout rates are already decided with virtual games run by the third party. Also, most companies have insurance against huge wins when those happen, so the likelihood of an online site going bust is minimal.

Illegal Practice & Accounting

Similarly to other industries, it is possible that unscrupulous agents at any level could decide to steal and miss-report until the company goes bust. If this is the situation, there will be a court case, and many creditors will ask for their money back. You might get some of your money back, but it is likely that it won’t be quick.

Fines Due To Money Laundering & Failure To Protect Vulnerable People

The Gambling Commission and the ASA can heavily fine companies that are failing to protect vulnerable people, or that will not run the checks to prevent money laundering. Usually, though there are warnings and only the biggest brands are made an example by receiving multi-million fines. The chances of a betting company to go bust due to massive fines is low.


The betting industry is very competitive, and the most prominent brands will try to undermine competitors and try to make them fail. By doing this, they usually drive down the value of the company, and they then come in with a bid to buy it.

Economic Downturn

If a company is already struggling it is possible that a severe financial period could push it to the edge. The reality though is that generally during economic downturns betting companies do well as more people are turning to them hoping to win money to pay off their debts.

Mismanagement & Theft

Usually mismanagement in the betting industry tends to lead to slower failure, and this can be seen well in advance: for example, you might notice ageing website, poor offers, lack of investments and so on. Before the company collapses due to this, you would have already seen it in advance and stopped betting with them.

In the case of high-level theft both internally and externally the company should have enough insurance to cover. Usually, everything is encrypted nowadays so this will be pretty unlikely to happen.

Different Factors

Similarly to most businesses, it is usually a combination of things that lead a company to fail. It is difficult to know what will happen in the future but what you can do is to avoid holding too much cash into a single betting account. If you see that a brand it is struggling you should get out as soon as possible.

What You Should Do If A Bookmaker Starts To Have Problems

Cash SecureThe first alarm bell that a betting site is having problems is that they will be very slow in processing withdrawals. If you are not getting your money back, make sure you contact them regularly and ask about the return of your money.

If they are still operating and you win, and they don’t want to pay, you should instruct a debt collection agent in case they are based in the UK and also provide supporting evidence to the Gambling Commission. If the issue is about a specific bet or payout, you should also involve IBAS.

You can read all the details about why betting sites might refuse to pay and how you can file a complaint against a betting site in our dedicated section.