Betfred has never been the type to shy away from PR goodwill, even if it means costing them some money. Remember their premature decision to pay out Manchester United backers earlier this year before Manchester City pulled off one of the most dramatic comebacks to win the 2011-2012 EPL title? The UK sportsbook always seem to find a way to turn a bad business decision into a savvy PR maneuver.
All that said, it seems odd that they’ve decided to tow the line on a bet made by 66-year old Linda Aldred for her grandson, Olympic gymnast Sam Oldham to take home a medal for the country. Apparently, Aldred, who couldn’t get an Olympic ticket to see her grandson compete, decided to place a £5 bet on 200/1 odds that her grandson would win a medal at the Olympics.
Aldred made the bet in memory of her late husband Eric – Sam’s grandfather – who she described as a ‘betting man’. “My sister and I thought we would put down a bet together in his memory,” Aldred told the Thanet Times.
“We had never been in a betting shop before. The bet was for Sam to win any medal. As I walked out I said ‘this one is for Eric’ but I considered the bet already lost.”
But then, the improbable happened. Team Great Britain, which hadn’t won a gymnastics medal in 100 years, took home the bronze. Sam Oldham was part of the team and it looked like Linda Aldred had just won a wager-of-a-lifetime amounting to £1,000.
Except that Betfred has refused to pay her, saying that the medal Oldham won came from a team competition and not as an individual medal.
“I was stunned,” Aldred said. “I am really happy Sam won, it is more the principle than the money, but I could have used the winnings to pay for my ticket to see Sam at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.”
The company’s refusal to pay Aldred has caused quite a maelstrom of controversy with people taking to social media to blast Betfred for taking this stance, especially when it looks like Aldred may have proof that nowhere in the ticket she bought specifically said that Oldham had to win an individual media.
In an effort to receive her rightful winnings, Aldred told the Thanet Times that she was taking up the issue with The Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS). A Betfred spokesman has also admitted that the company is currently in discussions with IBAS to come to a “satisfactory conclusion for all concerned.”
The resolution to this issue is pretty simple on our end: pay the lady. Seriously, for a company that never fails to capitalize on a positive PR opportunity, what they’re doing now isn’t worth the negative publicity it’s already gotten from a lot of people. It’s not worth it, fellas. Not worth it at all.
In the bigger scheme of things, paying a 66-year old grandmother of her rightful winnings is, plain and simple, the right thing to do.