Geoff Banks is an independent bookmaker. He took over the business from his father, who would lay a fair bet and was, by all accounts, a decent bloke. One would therefore expect Geoff Jnr to operate in much the same vein, especially given how big his mouth is when it comes to self adulation.
Bookmakers generally make no secret of the fact that they will restrict punters if they follow certain betting patterns. What this really means is that you will be shown the door if you look like you know what you are doing. So, back at prices that are too generous and you should expect to be restricted. Prey on pricing mistakes and you can expect the same treatment. It doesn’t matter if these bets win or lose; if you demonstrate even the slightest appreciation for value, you will be disposed of as a meaningful customer. Is it fair? No. But at least most bookmakers openly admit to doing it.
After reading some of Geoff’s statements about his business practices, we were encouraged and deciced to see if he was true to his word, or was all mouth and no trousers. Assuming that Geoff was being truthful, his operation could be the Holy Grail for those punters wanting to get on – at fair prices – without being restricted to peanuts. The following statements from Geoff gave us some real hope:
“Recreational gamblerts (sic) -WIN OR LOSE – won’t get their bets restricted by me, at least that’s policy and I accept it’s possible we make analysis mistakes. But since we give our customers no less than a month to determine their style of play normally, that’s why we get less complaints”
“If we do close or restrict- we try to explain our thinking. We don’t just close with no explanation”
“As for the £1 offers (and I’ve had them myself from 365 and so forth) they’re disrespectful to anyone, professional or amateur.”
I do know we lay a very fair bet- and do our best to give customers a good spin of the wheel.”
Fantastic. Our horse racing enthusiast therefore decided to open an account and experience this for himself, depositing £150 and having £100 on a 7/1 shot and £50 on a 20/1 shot. Neither price was out of line, with the Betfair Exchange price (bookmakers monitor punters’ bets to make sure that they are not being arbed) being higher on both horses before and after commission. The 7/1 shot duly obliged; normally this would cause a slight sense of trepidation about the future operation of the account, as winners usually spell bad news for those wanting to avoid restriction but – given Geoff’s words above – there was no cause for alarm, as the account would be given a shelf life of a full month prior to being scrutinised.
The limit on the next bet was about £2 on a 10/1 shot. Yes, £20 take out. Thinking that this must be a mistake, or that maybe Geoff already had a huge liability on this horse and so couldn’t take any more, another selection was made on a different race. £20 win again. Hmmm. Bets on football and golf were then attempted, with the result being the same. A bet of £10 on a 40/1 shot in the golf was reoffered at 49p maximum stake. All very strange and entirely at odds with Geoff’s bravado above.
The punter then telephoned through to Geoff’s traders to see what was going on. He was told that his business was no longer welcome unless he wanted to have £2 here and there. When the trader was asked why, he was told that a reason was not required and that he should send ID documents in should he want to be paid his winnings.
All of which site rather uncomfortably with Geoff’s posturing above. The supposed minimum of a month to ascertain betting style transpired to be about half an hour. There was no explanation given as to why and Geoff does not lay a very fair bet or give customers a “good spin of the wheel” at all. As for the £1 offers being disrespectful; I’m not sure what one would class 49p as.
So is Geoff Banks the lamest bookie going? Arguably. For odds, limits and speed of restriction on accounts, his operation is not a great deal worse than most bookies. What does set him apart is the volume of complete lies that emanate from his mouth. Open an account here and expect an experience fairly similar to most other books, just with a lot more mouthing off from the owner.