Thursday 16 February 2017

And the by-election loser is... Ladbrokes

A few more bits of Stoke Central 'by-election spotting', for those not yet tired of it all.

I read a slightly worrying report that Labour has registered mostly 2,500 student voters at the local university. Worrying, because it evokes past media stories about dodgy 'ballot stuffing' in elections around the UK, which for some strange reason always seems to favour the Labour Party. But I don't see why any students should be getting postal votes en masse at this time of year, since the university is not on holiday, so presumably there's less risk with the postal votes at least.

Assuming that 20% of those 2,500 students can be bothered to get out of bed and slog a mile up the hill on a main road to vote, and assuming they vote the way they've been indoctrinated, that's perhaps 300 extra votes for Labour. Plus another 150 for the Greens, and perhaps 50 votes from lads dragged along by their Green-y girlfriend and 'aving a laff by striking their cross for the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Bettingpro reports "There has been a sudden swing in the betting towards Labour retaining the seat", based on a small flurry of bets placed today. I also heard you can now get a silly 50/1 on a Conservative victory in Stoke. I've never bet before in my life, but on a whim I tried a quick sign up with Ladbrokes online, just to put a very speculative £10 on. I chose their "PayPal Quick Registration" option and thought I primed the account with an initial £20. Apparently...

"PayPal Quick Registration lets you sign up without needing to enter all of your information, this means you can open an account, place a bet and get your free bonus in a matter of minutes. This is currently provided by Coral and Ladbrokes."

But no, rather than "Quick" it appears to have been a complete failure. PayPal appeared to send the £20 and the balance updated... but then obviously it must have failed — in that there was no PayPal email, no site login details displayed, and not even a response to my enquiry sent to Ladbrokes' Helpdesk service. No sign of it on my PayPal dashboard, either. Oh well, they've lost me as a potential account holder. Probably just as well, since when I later clicked on the PayPal information button on Payment Methods at I got this warning...

If they can't even keep their own site security certificates up-to-date, on a PayPal button, I wouldn't feel secure placing a bet with them anyway. If and when the PayPal £20 deposit payment does eventually show up, I'll be asking for an instant refund.

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