'Consultation over the Gambling Introductory Offer Loopholes board' blog discussion

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  • chompie
    chompie Forumite Posts: 2,405
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    Just to illustrate the importance of this part of MSE i predict this will become the most viewed/commented on thread in this blog section* (a part of MSE i for one have never seen)

    *with exception of the stickies...
    Where the !!!! has the Shrug gone! :confused: just doesn't cut it... :huh::think::huh: and these don't come close
  • jamesd
    jamesd Forumite Posts: 25,833
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    Complete lack of risk isn't obtainable in many of the activities discussed on this site so I do wonder whether you're setting your target threshold a little too tightly when trying to avoid risk and seeking safety with this board.

    If you have the technical capability to offer a poll where only those who have been a member with a significant number of posts can participate it might be useful to poll those using the forums about whether and by how much they have made or lost money, net, discounting any betting that was deliberately not risk free, due to this board. I suspect that the money made will far exceed any money lost.

    When regular posters disagree about risk my first inclination is to ask those who are claiming that there is risk to explain what the risk is and the potential loss if it materialises. This may involve assuming that there is risk while the uncertainty is clarified.

    I note with some concern the mention of competitor possibly making malicious reports as an anti-competitive activity.

    Gambling predation is a risk but I don't think that there is any significant amount of intentional predation on the board.

    It also seems to potentially be of benefit to discuss the specific areas where your team does and does not have problems with assessing risk. It seems likely that there are areas which are sufficiently transparent and understandable to be handled even if some areas cause difficulty.

    Making the board visible only to registered users would solve some problems, for it would reduce the visibility to those who dislike betting on religious or other grounds. That may reduce the incidence of bogus reports. I have some reservations because lack of search discoverability may assist any competitors who have been seeking to reduce the visibility of a popular competitor.

    When I think of your own reputational risk I consider alternative situations where you've experienced potential risk:

    1. Fixing or not decisions on utilities: near to the core of your reputation with high reputational risk if you're featured in adverse coverage based on your suggestions and recommendations in this area.
    2. Savings institutions: this is near to the core of your reputation and errors or adverse publicity in this general area could significantly harm your reputation because of the proximity to what you and your trademark are known for.
    3. Presence of content from you in publications that incur adverse publicity for themselves based on the actions of their journalists: while your articles are topical, you're not perceived as an expert on media ethics and criminal actions by journalists so this is quite distant from the core of your reputation and brand, so the risk is substantially lower.

    When I try to place this board in context I conclude that it's not something that is close to the core of your brand and that even if there was to be quite a serious problem it would not have anything like the potential to harm your reputation as your core activities.

    In general I'm not concerned about this board but recognise that you might not want to be associated with betting even if it's not supposed to be gambling but just uses the tools of gambling.

    If you decide to go with a shutting down approach, it would be helpful to seek an alternative home for those who are interested in the topic to assist the community in moving in an intact way. One possible option is the board at stoozing.com where there's already lots of joint participation of forum members here and there and where complexity of offers is unlikely to be an issue. Add a six month transition period to verify that things bed down well with a migration and that could successfully reduce your reputational risk. To be particularly friendly you might have a redirect that takes people there, either indefinitely or for a set time. I suspect that the stoozing and other money-making community aspects there would interact well with the matched betting community members here.
  • antonia1
    antonia1 Forumite Posts: 596
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    Martin, I used the GIOL board for a couple of months, made around £500, then gave up because it was getting the rules were too complicated and risks too high.

    There are a few issues here:
    • Gambling is addictive, and is the cause of quite a few forumites debt problems in the first place
    • The GIOL board is getting too complicated - even when a suspicious post is referred to the board guide it is difficult to find if it breaks your rules
    • While a lot of money can be made from matched betting etc, a lot of money can also be lost

    I think there are similarities between this and payday loan companies. For some people, in some circumstances, payday loans are very helpful and the correct decision. But you do not have a forum board discussing how to use them effectively as it is too difficult to control the content.

    So I say - close the board down, useful to some people, but the risk is too high to others.
    :A If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right. William Shatner

    CC1 [STRIKE] £9400 [/STRIKE] £9300
    CC2 [STRIKE] £800 [/STRIKE] £750
    OD [STRIKE] £1350 [/STRIKE] £1150
  • woodcroft
    woodcroft Forumite Posts: 447
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    edited 20 February 2012 at 3:26PM
    It would be a travesty if GIOL were shelved. It embodies the whole ethos of MSE. Find loopholes, exploit them, make money. The easiest, legitimately tax free money you'll ever create out of thin air. (With a bit of common sense of course).

    Like others who have posted and perhaps found their way here from other parts of the site, GIOL has immeasurably helped my situation and future. Given the dire economic situation 'out there' I hope that the 'MSE endorsement' remains to help out other folks who were also suffering from sudden loss or reduction in income and/or massive increases in outgoings.

    I think the warnings are bold enough and the moderation tight enough as it is.


    I think even the bookies would mourn the board's departure. Where else does their new business come from?

    Done right, nobody loses. Keep It.


    ETA You need a poll. These are the options
    * I tried GIOL and lost money
    * I tried GIOL and made some money
    * I tried GIOL and made a lot of money
    * I haven't tried GIOL yet, but think I will!
  • JezR
    JezR Forumite Posts: 1,697
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    The whole name of the board is wrong. Its declared purpose has nothing to do with gambling, as it is about using available consumer offers in a manner to have a secure return. In that regard it is no different to taking advantage of any special offer in another business sector.

    It should be named more in line with other boards, stressing the risk free cash element. If necessary there should be a strict and applied cut-off to eliminate even high +EV offers.

    The board currently offers information and a community skilled in extracting this return without a gambling undertone or background to it. Much of the information (but not all) may be available elsewhere, but as part of gambling sites.

    The purpose of the site is 'saving you money on anything & everything by finding the best deals and beating the system'.
    Having this board hosted here should be seen as a credit to this site as a whole, not as some tolerated aberration. If the latter is the case then it should be relocated somewhere else but a legal opportunity for risk-free money making would be being missed.
  • darloscot
    darloscot Forumite Posts: 2,832 Forumite
    Read one of the earler posts about reputational risk. I recently finished a fixed deal on my energy deal for home. I read the advice that this site gave out, and it clearly stated that the time was right to switch and fix going forward. This I did. 2 months later all the enrgy companies cut their tariffs and I would have been far better off if I had stayed on the standard tarriff that I had been left on. In fact, following this sites advice (and this was site official advice, not forums) will probably cost me a 3 figure sum over the next 18 months.

    But such is life, you can't win all the time - unless you follow the rules of matched betting. There are plenty of places on this site that gives advice with the best intentions that will overall save you money, but in some areas may cost you money. The same is true on GIOL. You need to understand the offer, and that is generally not difficult, and then follow the rules strictly. If you cannot get your head around how these offers work then don't touch them. That advice is clear. Same as for an offset mortgage. For many it is by far the best option, but if you can't understand them, or can't control your finances, then take another option. You need to be able to recoginse you limitations.

    Many on this site will have problems controlling their finances and be in deep financial peril, that will be why they are here. But for many other they are here to maximise how far their income goes, even if they are in reasonable control of their finances to start with. Don't eliminate this opportunity for many people on the grounds of percieved risk, unless you will also shut down all the other forums that carry any risk associated with people's lack of self discipline, as that is far and away the main risk linked to matched betting.
  • NMB
    NMB Forumite Posts: 157 Forumite
    chompie wrote: »
    And that's the thing isn't it, there are people who are simply worried about this site's effect on their gain.

    This "if a loophole is exposed to the masses then it may be closed" mentality is responsible for many a spam marking...


    When the weekly emailgoes out offering, for example, cheap sunglasses or free cinema tickets, the mse team check to make sure the supplier can cope with demand.

    Nobody checks to see if random bookmaker can cope with the demand from GIOL when their sign up is put on here.
  • SomethingWitty_2
    SomethingWitty_2 Forumite Posts: 69
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    edited 20 February 2012 at 3:49PM
    (Long post -key bits in bold!)

    I would be very sorry to see this board go.

    I had always overlooked its existence for many years, then started reading up on it. I took into account all the warnings and spent some time learning matched betting.

    I am new to it, and have only made a few hundred pounds from "Sub" offers and "reloads" so far, (I do this "casually" and do not see myself making thousands) but I think the advice the board provides has been useful and after spending time learning the process it now feels very simple to me. The brilliant support and advice of those on here goes a long way towards that and losing it would be a mistake. I would turn to other boards which frankly I would not expect to be as well policed as here. In other words, thanks to MSE's community, I have made money because of advice provided in a friendly, helpful environment, which I was then free to act on as I wished.

    I realise that though these offers are risk free, it is my responsibility if it goes wrong, and it is obvious to me that nothing posted on the board is endorsed by MSE. I find it hard to understand how anyone could make the mistake of thinking otherwise. In other words, worrying that someone might think that Martin personally endorses putting £3 grand on some crazy three way dutch is a great idea is no reason to shut this board down. The current warnings are sufficient.

    The only real issues with the GIOL board are as follows:

    Firstly, there is a seriously large amount of advice on here in the form of FAQs, "Start Here" threads, etc. Much of this is out of date, easy to miss, and or perhaps unnecessarily difficult to plough through. I think we need a top down review/consolidation/simplifcation of all this advice, to be replaced by a couple of up to date how tos and the questions thread, indexed properly. It is very difficult for newbies to get into this without missing some important bit of advice buried somewhere. Now, that "missing bit" of advice is unlikely to cost them any money but the time is right to review and consolidate all the sticky threads - they are simply too long and inevitably people will not read them all or trust them, especially if there is out of date information on there.

    Secondly, some of the offers are complex. Now, foolishly perhaps, my first offer was a refund-on-lose. But even I got my head around this very quickly - thanks to the people on this board. But I think some of the Arbs etc are not what this board was meant to be about. I think we should stick to the Sub offers (intorductory) and simple matches - no three way dutching, funny arbs etc on the main GIOL board . If we are desperate to keep those offers we can have them in a sub board with even more obvious warnings. This would perhaps solve the majority of the problem as it dissuades people from trying anything too complicated or requiring too large a float before getting used to the basics, and would hide the more advanced stuff from the Newbies.

    Thirdly, keeping the board visible to registered users only, would make us more accountable, whilst removing outsider criticism. I would rather it was open to all, but if Martin thinks this would solve the problem, I am willing to accept it.

    Finally, appointing more dedicated GIOL moderators from our ranks would also be a big help. If the problem according to Martin is difficulty in moderation - then dedicated GIOL moderators would help.

    I am probably betraying a serious lack of knowledge of matched betting in the above very long post. Personally, I have kept away from anything I do not understand, and I have not lost anything as a result. I would love to learn to do the more difficult stuff, and I think MSE's forum is a good place to do that. I think the above steps would be a reasonable compromise in helping me to make risk free cash whilst protecting those Martin is worried about.
  • Anonmouse
    Anonmouse Forumite Posts: 276 Forumite
    Martin, if you are considering closing this board and you have not even tried this out for yourself and neither have any of your team - then shame on you.

    Test it, review it then make a decision.
  • Up over a grand and a half in about a year and a half thanks to GIOL. Although I would happily find offers myself if I had to, the forum is quite a good laugh and central resource. It is quite sad that we would need to shut it down to protect people from their own stupidity.
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