The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning spring racing punters not to be fooled by sports betting scams in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
According to the competition regulator, it has already received 800 complaints about sports betting scams this year, with almost $3 million reported lost.
“Unfortunately, these figures are likely to rise as the spring racing carnival approaches and punters are more willing to try their luck,” says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
The scams the ACCC has been tailing usually start with an email, phone call or letter out of the blue from someone offering you the ‘opportunity’ to invest in a sports betting syndicate, or to buy a betting software package. Naturally, the sales are limited, and if you don’t take them up now they say you’ll miss the chance. They’ll say it’s an ‘investment opportunity’, with brochures or website showing bogus forecasts of strong profits and high returns.
These projects are possible, the scammers claim, because their sophisticated software is able to predict results based on track, jockey, horse conditions, the weather, or the draw.
Often, the scheme will show you ‘winning’ bets during the trial period, in order to entice you to dip more money in. But the moment you try to secure your earnings, the money will disappear.
And your chances of recourse are slim.
“If you sign up for one of these ‘guaranteed’ betting schemes, odds are you will never see your money again,” Rickard says.
“Fake betting syndicates and betting software are peddled by scammers as legitimate investments, but simply do not deliver.
“Before handing over your money, ask yourself, if someone can accurately predict gambling results, why would they need to sell it to you to make money?”
“Remember that gambling is a game of chance – there is no such thing as a fool-proof bet. If you fall for one of these scams, it won’t be long before your money and the culprits disappear.”
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.