Gambling firm Betway have admitted to offering free £5 wagers to customers in exchange for leaving a review on Trustpilot, one of the UK’s largest online review sites. The £5 offer has resulted in a surge of 5 star reviews.

Under Trustpilot’s rules, a company can offer an incentive for leaving a review, but they can’t influence whether the review is positive or negative. Betway were keen to stress that they operated within these guidelines, and that customers were free to leave positive or negative reviews as they saw fit.

False reviews

The offer has been running since 2017. Analysis by The Times found that Betway received 8 five-star reviews on Trustpilot in June 2016 – a figure that jumped up to 565 reviews in August.

A number of the 5 star reviews were either very short or contained nothing but gibberish, and 40 reportedly contained the word “username” – as customers were instructed to include their Betway username in the review.

Credibility lost

In an interview with the times, Labour MP Tom Watson said : “The credibility of any industry depends on a culture of integrity and trust. When it comes to the gambling industry, this has too often been in short supply. Incentivising customers through sham bonuses is bad enough, but when coupled with encouraging false reviews, all credibility is lost.”

A spokesperson for Betway said: “Like many companies we encourage customers to leave reviews and in accordance with Trustpilot’s guidelines we sometimes offer incentives. These incentives are offered for both positive and negative reviews.”

“We work closely with Trustpilot to challenge fake reviews or incorrect information, although it is Trustpilot’s responsibility to monitor and remove fake reviews; or those which don’t make sense.”

“A spokesman for Trustpilot said: “We have looked at how Betway runs its incentive and have no evidence to suggest that Betway is using incentives to request only positive reviews. Their invitation templates currently fall in line with our guidelines.”