How Safe is Your Money With Bookmakers?: Understanding Dormant Accounts and Customer Fund Segregation

Updated: 5570 Betting

Learn about the risks of dormant betting accounts and the importance of customer fund segregation in online bookmakers to protect your money.

Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Money Left in your betting Accounts is at Danger

We dig deep to provide information on where should be taking action and considering the bookmaker you have funds deposited with

Depending on which online bookmaker accounts you hold, your money may not be as safe and secure as you might think.

Hold on tight as we reveal which bookmakers do not protect your money and could even be taking it away quite legally through their terms and conditions if you don't bet often enough

  • Do you know what happens to any money you have in an account with a bookmaker if they go bust? 
  • Do you know if it is protected?
  • Do you know how many online bookmaker accounts you have?
  • Did you know there are charges for not using your account?
If You Answer No to Any of these Question.....

You need to read this article and find out how secure your money is with your online bookmaker account

What is this Article About?

This article discusses the importance of customer fund segregation in online bookmakers and how it protects customers' funds. The UK Gambling Commission has set guidelines for customer fund segregation, requiring online bookmakers to hold customers' funds in a separate account that is ring-fenced from the bookmaker's funds.

The article also highlights different levels of protection for customer funds and which bookmakers offer the highest level of protection. It also warns about many bookmakers' dormant account charges and how they can eat away at customers' balances. The article suggests checking accounts regularly and withdrawing any money not being used.

Many online betting companies charge admin fees for inactive accounts, which can eat away at sums of money left in the account. This is a common issue for customers who may not use their accounts for consecutive months or forget about their accounts altogether.

To avoid these fees and ensure customer protection, it's important to know the time limits for inactive accounts and the betting activity required to keep accounts active. Most online bookmakers charge dormancy fees after 12 months and provide a further month notice period of charges to be applied.

It's important to read the terms and conditions of your online betting account to know how long the period of inactivity is before dormancy fees kick in. If you want to keep your account active but don't want to bet on anything, some bookmakers allow you to keep your account active by logging in and accessing your account.

In addition to admin fees, dormant accounts can also pose a risk to customer protection. If an online betting company goes bankrupt, customers may lose any funds left in their dormant accounts as they may not be considered customer funds due to the inactivity period.

To avoid these risks and fees, it's important to keep track of any online betting accounts you have and ensure they are active. Regularly logging in and accessing your account can help you avoid dormancy fees and protect your funds.

With all this in mind, let's get to the nuts and bolts of how safe your money is with your online bookmaker.

What is Customer Fund Segregation?

Customer funds segregation in online bookmakers refers to separating customers' deposited funds from the bookmaker's operational funds. This ensures that customers' funds are protected and can be returned to them in case of the bookmaker's insolvency or bankruptcy.

In other words, when customers deposit funds into their online betting account, they are held in a separate bank account, distinct from the bookmaker's operating funds. This separation helps safeguard customers' funds and prevent them from being used for purposes other than their intended use, which is to place bets on sporting events or other types of gambling.

The UK Gambling Commission has set out guidelines for customer fund segregation that all licensed online bookmakers in the UK must adhere to. These guidelines require online bookmakers to hold customers' funds in a separate account that is ring-fenced from the bookmaker's funds. Additionally, the bookmaker must conduct regular audits to ensure customer funds are properly segregated and safeguarded.

Customer Funds Segregation Levels

All remote operators in the gambling industry who hold customer funds must inform customers how and where their money is held and what level of protection is given in the event of insolvency. This applies to online gambling and betting companies, some of which, keep customer funds in accounts separate from their business accounts. However, if these funds are not protected, they may form part of the business's assets in the event of insolvency, providing no protection for customers.

Not protected - Segregation of customer funds

All remote operators who hold customer funds must meet this minimum requirement. Customer funds must be segregated, but if they are not protected, they will be considered part of the business's assets in the case of insolvency. Bank accounts, investment accounts, and other accounts may be included in these segregated accounts. However, they do not offer any form of protection in insolvency.

Medium protection

Medium security measures comprise of Quistclose accounts, insurance arrangements, or similar alternatives. These measures involve keeping customer funds in accounts distinct from the business's accounts and ensuring that assets are distributed to customers in case of insolvency. Nevertheless, it must be noted that there is no absolute assurance of fund protection in such situations.

High protection

The highest level of protection involves having trustworthy and autonomous accounts. Customer funds are kept in an official trust account that is legally and practically distinct from the company's operations. An impartial trustee or external auditor verifies and oversees the account's controls.

Bookmakers Customer Fund Segregation Levels

So now we know what levels of protection are available for our funds deposited in our online bookmaker accounts, let's look at who has what level of protection as per the terms and conditions on their websites. 

Bookmakers With High Customer Fund Segregation Protection

These are the betting sites featured that have the highest available protection, with funds segregated and safeguarded in the event of the business going down.

Betting Site Protection Level Info URL
Ladbrokes High https://help.ladbrokes.com/en/general-information/account/inactive/why-charge-inactivity-fees
Paddy Power High https://www.paddypower.com/en/aboutUs/Terms.and.Conditions/#inactiv
Sportingbet High https://help.sportingbet.com/en/general-information/legal-matters/general-terms-and-conditions/general-uk-and-row
Betfair High https://www.betfair.com/aboutUs/Terms.and.Conditions/#govnlaw
BetVictor High https://www.betvictor.com/en-gb/pages/terms-conditions/uk-terms-and-conditions/full-terms?
BWin High https://help.bwin.com/en/general-information/legal-matters/general-terms-and-conditions/general-uk-and-row
Coral High https://help.coral.co.uk/en/general-information/legal-matters/terms-and-conditions
Betway High https://p.betway.com/irl/policies/terms/
Matchbook High https://www.matchbook.com/page/rules_and_regulations/terms-and-conditions/
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Bookmakers With Medium Customer Fund Segregation Protection

With medium protection, customer funds are held separately from business interests, but they do not give perfect assurance of their safety in the event of insolvency.

Betting Site Protection Level Info URL
William Hill Medium https://williamhill-lang.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6719
bet365 Medium https://help.bet365.com/en/terms-and-conditions
Sporting Index Medium https://www.sportingindex.com/account-operating-rules
BetDaq Medium https://betdaq.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb/articles/360016868119-Terms-and-Conditions
Boylesports Medium https://www.boylesports.com/Home/TermsAndConditions
888Sport Medium https://www.888sport.com/security-and-privacy/user-agreement/
Unibet Medium https://www.unibet.co.uk/general-info/terms#section-20
10Bet Medium https://www.10bet.co.uk/promotions/sports/terms-and-conditions/
NetBet Medium https://casino.netbet.co.uk/help/terms-and-conditions/terms-conditions
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Bookmakers With No Customer Fund Segregation Protection

And finally, the section we can be somewhat wary of - these funds are held separately from the business, but offer the lowest minimum form of security for your funds in the event of a business going down. 

Betting Site Protection Level Info URL
BetFred Not Protected https://www.betfred.com/tandcs
TonyBet Not Protected https://tonybet.co.uk/en/betting-regulation
MrPlay Not Protected https://uk.mrplay.com/sitemap/
Betiton Not Protected https://www.betiton.com/info/terms/
Fanteam Not Protected https://www.fanteam.com/page/terms-conditions
BetDukes Not Protected https://betdukes.casino-pp.net/?lang=en#/lobby
Bettarget Not Protected https://www.bettarget.com/#/
Fitzdares Not Protected https://bet.fitzdares.com/terms-and-conditions/
Theonlinecasino Not Protected https://play.theonlinecasino.co.uk/
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Does Your Online Bookmaker Look After Your Money?

You may be surprised that some of the more significant brand bookmakers with the greatest number of customer accounts appear in the table above and have less protection for your funds than smaller brands in the higher protection levels. 

It should be pointed out that this is not a single reason not to trust them, but you have to take a view - BetFred, for example, is a very big and strong business that has been around since 1967 and will soon be coming up for its 60th birthday. There can be a level of assurance, but the official protection level can be noted.

What happens if my Bookie Goes 'Bust'?

piggybank

There is no case whereby the protection offered to a customer's funds is the same across every operating bookmaker.

There is a set of guidelines that each betting operator has to adhere to gain a license to operate from the UK gambling commission but this does not ensure 100% safety of your funds or a big win.

There are three levels of ratings given to protection of customer funds by the gambling commission on the following basis, and something you may want to consider.

Online Bookmaker Dormant Account Charges

dormant account

Did you know that bookmakers can take some or all of the money sitting in your account if you do not access it for a period of time?

Dormant account charges are present with almost all bookmakers. In my experience, knowing hundreds of punters and experienced ones at that, very few people realise that within the terms and conditions of your account, your funds can be whittled away all the time you are not using it.

In some cases, the full balance will be removed for 'safe-keeping' and available upon request; in others, the fees can be claimed back. This all relies on receiving this communication from the betting site and/or reading the terms and conditions of the betting site account you hold.

Small Balances Disappear Because of Charges

Have you ever logged into an old account where you were sure there were funds but found your balance at £0.00?

You may also not be aware that if you have money sitting in a dormant bookmaker account, it may not be there anymore. A little-known management fee tucked away in the terms and conditions of many bookmakers eats away at those pennies and pounds you left behind.

What are Dormant Account Charges with Bookmakers?

Most bookmakers (Check the table below for complete details) will start chipping away at your balance should you not access your account for a period of 12 months.

Charges may be applied instantly, or more often, with a month's notice of attempting to contact you to say your account has been placed in a dormant state and that charge will begin to be applied from the 13 months period.

Charges can range from as little as £2 a month up to £10 a month, or a percentage of the balance, whichever is greater. The percentage deduction never seems to go above 5%, but if you have more than £200 sat in an account, that can be significant.

Online Bookmakers with No Dormant Account Fees

This list of bookmakers have no dormant account fees, or we were unable to find details on their website

Betting Site Dormant Account Fees Y/N More Info
Paddy Power No https://www.paddypower.com/en/aboutUs/Terms.and.Conditions/#inactiv
Betfair No https://www.betfair.com/aboutUs/Betfair.Charges/
Sporting Index No  
BetVictor** No https://www.betvictor.com/en-gb/pages/terms-conditions/uk-terms-and-conditions/full-terms?
BetFred*** No https://www.betfred.com/tandcs
Boylesports No https://www.boylesports.com/Home/TermsAndConditions
888Sport**** No https://www.888sport.com/security-and-privacy/user-agreement-nonuk/
Spreadex No  
Grosvenor Sport No https://www.grosvenorcasinos.com/static/termsandconditions?404;https://rnkg02aapu8v4kprod__f3cd:80/static
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Online Bookmaker Dormant Account Time Line and Charges

These online bookmakers have displayed and offer the following information and charges in regards dormant accounts, the timeline for charges to begin and how much is applied.

Betting Site Dormant Account Fees Y/N Dormant Period Charges More Info
Ladbrokes Yes 13 Months £3 per month https://help.ladbrokes.com/en/general-information/legal-matters/terms-and-conditions
William Hill Yes 13 Months + 30 Days Greater of £3 or 5% of Account Balance https://www.williamhill.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6719
Sportingbet Yes 13 Months £3 per month https://help.sportingbet.com/en/general-information/account/inactive?search=Inactive
bet365* Yes 13 Months £2 per month  
BetDaq Yes 12 Months Yes, Fee amount unavailable https://betdaq.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb/articles/360016868119-Terms-and-Conditions
BWin Yes 13 Months £3 per month https://help.bwin.com/en/general-information/legal-matters/general-terms-and-conditions/general-uk-and-row#Inactive_Account_Fees_and_Abandonment_of
Coral Yes 13 Months £3 per month https://help.coral.co.uk/en/general-information/legal-matters/terms-and-conditions
Unibet Yes 12 Months 5% of the value of the balance or £5. https://www.unibet.co.uk/general-info/terms#section-20
10Bet Yes 12 Months £5 per Month https://www.10bet.co.uk/payment-methods/
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  • *bet365 will try to contact you before making charges
  • **BetVictor will make your account 'dormant' after 396 days and try to contact you. If there is no activity for 5 years, any funds may be donated to the GambleAware charity
  • ***BetFred Your rights to your balance are not affected
  • ****888Sport Your balance will be removed, but you will have full access

The information in the table above was collected and collated and is correct at the time of writing as of 18/05/2023


So, with this information in mind, it may be worth considering just how many online betting accounts there are in Great Britain and how much money is held within these accounts.

Chances are, you have an account with a balance that you may have forgotten about or do not use very often, if at all.

How many online betting accounts are there and how much money is held in them

Get ready, this may shock you!

£900,000,000 held in 30million Betting Site Accounts

Is any of that money yours? is it Safe?

According to the Gambling Commission latest figures, there are over 30 million online betting accounts currently active in Great Britain between October 2018-September 2019

Within those accounts are over £900,000,000 of players' funds. yes, You have read that right. It is Over 900 million pounds!

money vault

We know that there will accounts with very small amounts in some and conversely others with huge amounts, but this figure includes money sitting in accounts that could be subject to management fees, if you do not access them often enough.

This could be time to start checking your accounts to see if you have any money that you should withdraw if you are not going to use the account regularly.

Summary

As you have read, there is a huge amount of money currently held in bookmaker accounts, some of which is safe in the event of a business collapsing, or you not logging in for a length of time. In other cases, that money, YOUR MONEY, could be at risk.

We hope that more online betting sites can make the effort to gain the High protection status outlined by the GC, and keep your funds as safe as possible. In any case, check your bookmaker's full terms conditions and how they safeguard your money and use the information above to make a considered decision next time you open an account and don't just make a choice based on the free bets available.

safe money

Quick Read FAQ's

FAQ

How Safe is Your Money with Bookmakers FAQ's

  • What is customer fund segregation in online bookmakers?

    Customer fund segregation in online bookmakers refers to separating customers' deposited funds from the bookmaker's operational funds to protect customers' funds in case of the bookmaker's insolvency or bankruptcy.

  • What are the guidelines set out by the UK Gambling Commission for customer fund segregation?

    The UK Gambling Commission has set guidelines for customer fund segregation that all licensed online bookmakers in the UK must adhere to, which require online bookmakers to hold customers' funds in a separate account that is ring-fenced from the bookmaker's funds.

  • What are the different levels of protection for customer funds?

    The different levels of protection for customer funds are not protected, medium protection, and high protection.

  • Which online bookmakers offer high customer fund segregation protection?

    The biggest brand-named bookmakers offering high protection of customer funds are:

    • Ladbrokes
    • Paddy Power
    • Sportingbet
    • Betfair
    • BetVictor**
    • BWin
    • Coral
    • Betway
    • Matchbook
    • Smarkets
    • Parimatch
    • SBK
    • Talksportbet
    • Hollywood Bets

  • What are dormant account charges in online bookmakers?

    Dormant account charges are fees charged by bookmakers if an account has not been accessed for a certain period of time.

  • What is the consequence of not using an online bookmaker account for a long time?

    The consequence of not using an online bookmaker account for a long time is that customers may be charged dormant account fees, which can eat away at their balances.

  • How much money is held in online betting accounts in Great Britain?

    According to the Gambling Commission's latest figures, over 30 million online betting accounts are active in Great Britain, with over £900,000,000 of players' funds held within those accounts.

  • How can customers avoid dormant account fees?

    Customers can avoid dormant account fees by ensuring they are active and log in, make a wager with the account, or leave a zero balance when they think they will be dormant for a length of time.

Who Wrote This Article?

This article was originally published in 2020, but undertook a complete rewrite as of May 2023 -  Taking several days of research and fact-checking by Nigel Skinner, who undertook the painstaking task of scanning and reading the terms and conditions of every bookmaker featured. Nigel has a wealth of experience in the bookmaker industry having worked for William Hill, and here at OLBG completing dozens of bookmaker reviews since 2007 - The article was then edited and published by Steve Madgwick who coincidentally has also worked for William Hill, and has been here at OLBG writing hundreds of reviews before becoming our Editor-In-Chief.

Nigel Skinner

Nigel Skinner

Blog content manager

Nigel is one of OLBG's senior editors with 19 years of industry experience. Today he specialises in researching and writing about the betting angles to political and mainstream news stories and being the OLBG in-house expert on 'next football manager' betting markets.

Specialist Subjects🔬📚

⚽️👨‍💼 Nigel is an Arsenal fan first and foremost but has an unrivalled knowledge of English football managers at every level. Meticulously putting together our Next Manager articles, Nigel can quite possibly name you every manager of every club in the land, not to mention a pretty good eye for predicting replacements when changes happen. 

📈📊📉 A long-time exchange trader and spread betting fan, Nigel is our go-to for advice on the subjects and uses them daily in his own betting activity. 

🗳️💼 Finally, Nigel loves his politics and [some would say] has an unhealthy interest in the day-to-day events in the UK's political landscape, contributing to all our Political betting content and new pieces.

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