February 29, 2024

Ante-post punters face disappointment once again as 188Bet discontinues operations in Britain and Ireland, causing their long-term bets to be voided. Following in the footsteps of Betbright, who voided ante-post bets upon closure, the Gambling Commission has failed to intervene, allowing such practices to persist.

Adding to the disappointment, 188Bet claims to be solvent, allowing customers to withdraw their funds until August 30th. However, despite this, longer-term bets will still be voided, leaving punters questioning the company’s decision-making process.

But what justification can there be for voiding longer-term bets if the company is still solvent and trading in other countries? Surely some sort of cashout offer should be made at the very least?

I have asked the Gambling Commission for comment and will post any response on this page. In the meantime, the best advice as ever is to be very careful who you bet with and bear in mind this kind of thing can happen, when considering offers that seem too good to be true.

Brian Chappell of Justice For Punters told me: “It’s really good to see that customer funds are safe, unlike in other cases, but it would appear that the Gambling Commission following the recent BetBright closure has set a standard whereby bookmakers despite being solvent can renege on bets, which is a poor precedent for a regulator to set.”

As ever, horse racing is very exposed to bad news about bookmakers. Races which now need a new sponsor include the Chester Cup and the Solario, while our champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa was also sponsored by 188Bet last year.

Turning to Tuesday’s action, my focus is on Hexham, where the 5-2 appeals about Glinger Flame (3.40). Nicky Richards’s charge has landed on a very fair mark for his handicap debut, which he is allowed to make after just two runs over hurdles, having been placed both times.

He was third in a big field at Ayr in late January, form which has a solid look. The winner was fourth in a hot handicap at Newbury on Saturday, while the runner-up has since won on his handicap debut. Brian Hughes rides Glinger Flame for the first time.

In the Hexham opener, Captain CJ (2.10) looks the way to go at 5-4. He has the best form available in this novice hurdle and this looks a more straightforward opportunity than he has been getting in Ireland. He is a rare British runner for Dermot McLoughlin, who sent the 13-year-old Vic’s Canvas over to be third in a Grand National.

At Hereford, I’m interested in 3-1 about Lerichi Belle (3.30) in a race that has been shorn of its favourite, Tigeralley having become a non-runner. She’s still a maiden but has shown ability and has now slipped to an attractive mark, two stones below the rating of her full brother at Jack Barber’s yard. The mare has joined Ian Williams, who has given her a wind operation and whipped off the hood she usually wore. It would be no surprise to see her take a step forward on her most recent form.