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Enrico NazaréAutor da publicação: Enrico Nazaré

Best betting sites UK: April 2021

W e have compared the UK’s betting sites across a number of criteria from sign-up offers to withdrawal to find out which are the best on the market. See our selections for the best UK betting sites below, choose which bookmakers are right for you and claim their new customer offer.

888 sport

Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus

T&Cs apply. New customers only – £10 deposit using promo code "RACING" - First bet must be placed on any market - Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method & withdrawal restrictions apply & Full T&C’s apply

Boylesports

Bet £10 Get £20 in Free Bets

T&Cs apply. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. First bet only. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets bets won't apply. Payment method restrictions. New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. One Free Bet offer per customer, household and IP Address only. 18+. T&Cs apply.

bet365

Up to £100 in Bet Credits

T&Cs apply. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

SportNation

Get £50 In Free Bets

T&Cs apply. New customers only. Place the 5 specified bets to earn Free Bets. Each leg must have minimum odds of 1.8 (4/5). Applies to bets on sport only. Valid once per customer. Free Bet valid for 7 days. Free Bet max winnings is 20x Free Bet stake. Offer valid for 30 days after registration with SportNation.

Unibet

£40 Money Back as Bonus on your First Bet + £10 Casino Bonus

T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware. New customer only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply.

QuinnBet

A No Deposit Free Bet + 50% Cashback on first day Sportsbook losses up to £25 +50 Free Spins on Grand Spinn!

T&Cs apply. 18+. Only new UK customers. To receive the No Deposit Free Bet, you must enter the coupon code BET in the coupon tab at registration and have your account details fully verified. To activate your Sportsbook 50% Back as a Free Bet up to £25 and 50 Free Spins, deposit and bet on any Sportsbook markets of your choice at odds of evens (2.00) or greater. Winnings from No Deposit Offers do not count towards qualifying losses. At least 3 bets (on different selections) must be placed to qualify for 50% back, 2 of which must be 50% in value of the largest bet you place. Customers who deposit using Neteller/Skrill do not qualify for this offer. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware

Grosvenor

Double the Odds

T&Cs apply. New members only. 18+. Existing members do not qualify. Offer applies to sports bets only. A bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token. Max. stake is £10. T&Cs Apply.

Spreadex

Up To £25 In Free Bets

T&Cs apply. Place a £25 fixed odds single bet at min. odds of 1/2. Get 5 X £5 free fixed odds single bets. Free bets applied to account on consecutive days. Full Ts&Cs apply.

Mr Play

Bet £10 Get £15

T&Cs apply. 18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £15 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible. Full T&Cs Apply

Matchbook

0% Commission on All Sports for 30 days

T&Cs apply. 18+. New Customers Only. Sign-up and get 0% commission on all sports for 30 days. Users must Enter Bonus Code ‘COMMFREE’ to avail of the offer. Only open to users who deposit via debit or credit card. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware

Tony Bet

100% Deposit Bonus up to £50

T&Cs apply. 18+. New Customer only. This offer is only available for players who registered on TonyBet on or after 10/02/2019. Enter the bonus code TONY50 when a deposit is made and wager your deposit 10 times on betting markets with odds of at least 1.65 within 30 days. Only the bets which do not exceed the original deposit amount will be included in the turnover requirements. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware

NetBet

£30 Sport & Casino

T&Cs apply. Customers will be awarded £15 in Free Bets and £15 in Free Spins for Casino and Vegas. New customers only, free bets valid for three days. Free Spins valid for 30 days. T&Cs apply.

Top 10 best betting sites 2021

Here are the top 10 best betting sites for April 2021. We review each bookie on a regular basis and update our list accordingly, and you can read our breakdown of more betting sites below.

  1. Paddy Power
  2. 888sport
  3. BoyleSports
  4. Spreadex
  5. QuinnBet
  6. Bet365
  7. Sky Bet
  8. SportNation
  9. William Hill
  10. BetVictor

Betting on the 2021 Cheltenham Festival?

Check out the best Cheltenham betting offers for free bets, risk-free bets and enhanced odds specials.

1. Paddy Power

The self-proclaimed money-back-special king, Paddy Power offers so much more for its players. The welcome bonus is simple and easy to understand, and effectively gives you a free bet on its vast sportsbook. Its rewards scheme for customers is the best on the market, so if you are looking for a long-term bookmaker, Paddy Power is the one for you.

2. 888sport

It may be more well known for its casino offering, but 888sport has a sportsbook that is one of the fastest-improving online from a player perspective, with an incredible amount to offer in terms of sports and markets. This includes some great odds on some of the biggest and more niche events. The welcome bonus is strong and 888sport has made it easy for users to claim and its website is just as easy to navigate. It also has a great offering of promotions for existing players.

3. BoyleSports

BoyleSports has been an underrated sportsbook among bettors over the years but recently it has really started to up its game. Its welcome offer is satisfactory and the BoyleSports sportsbook offers a select amount of sports and markets that anyone who wants to bet on a regular basis would want.

4. Spreadex

Spreadex is the second bookmaker on our list that offers a sportsbook and exchange, both of which are very good for new customers. The layout makes it clear when you are on the sportsbook or exchange, and the website is well laid out to make it clear what events are in-play, popular coming events and the more niche markets. The welcome offer also means a good amount of free bets are available, but you must remember that your losses can exceed the deposit.

5. QuinnBet

QuinnBet is a family-run Irish bookmaker that launched its online sportsbook in 2017, which means some punters may not have had the pleasure of using this platform. Although smaller than some of its rivals on this best betting sites list, QuinnBet holds its own with a great sign-up offer, good promotions and more than enough markets for the casual bettor.

6. bet365

Most experienced bettors will have at least heard of bet365 as the company has millions of customers worldwide. It has one of the best sign-up offers on the market which is extremely generous and simple to claim, with the minimum deposit one of the lowest on the market. The sports markets bet365 offers to customers are second to none, and it is known for offering prices on many leagues and sports other bookmakers do not have. bet365 is also one of the best bookmakers for withdrawal with its times varying from as little as a day. As such, it is one of the best at gaining the trust of their customers.

7. Sky Bet

Sky Bet should be in everyone’s arsenal of bookies with its great website and app for all players. The welcome offer is simple and allows new customers to see the thousands of sports and markets on offer, with football and horse racing particularly impressive. The platforms are easy to navigate, including the great in-play offering. Live-streaming is available on a vast number of sports, mainly UK and Irish horse racing, but also includes some big football leagues. You can also take advantage of the free-to-play games such as ITV7s and Super 6.

8. SportNation

A bookmaker that definitely should be considered by all bettors is SportNation, which has shown itself to be a great alternative to more well-known high-street names. Its welcome offer is on the lower end of the scale in terms of free bets compared with some rivals, but the SportNation Rewards system more than makes up for it, with free bets or withdrawable cash up for grabs every week.

9. William Hill

A brand with heritage, William Hill is one of the best on the market and has been for a number of years, having built a website and app that is very popular. Every market is easy to find, while its horse racing section is one of the best on the market when looking at the major events and festivals over the year. Hill’s also has a very competitive welcome offer.

10. BetVictor

BetVictor has been in the industry since 1946 and continues to be a pioneer with its online offering. It is one of the most trustworthy bookmakers on the internet and has a record of great customer service. The welcome offer is great and gives the user exactly what they need to discover the great sports available on BetVictor’s easy-to-use website and mobile offerings.

11. Unibet

Unibet sometimes goes under the radar in terms of being one of the best betting sites, but its welcome offer alone should be enough to show it’s a real competitor. The sportsbook is extensive and rivals many competitors while the experience for desktop and mobile make it a perfect online bookmaker for any bettors, with the price boosts one of its selling points.

12. Grosvenor

Grosvenor is known for its high-street casinos but its sportsbook has often flown under the radar, having a unique sign-up offer that sets it apart. The interface is well thought-out and simple and the easy deposit and withdrawal are pluses, but it may be a betting site more suited to a casual player, or someone who wants to also play on the Grosvenor casino.

13. 32Red

32Red is one of the only bookmakers to offer a sign-up offer for in-play betting, which already sets it apart from the crowd. It has plenty of sports markets to choose from on nicely laid-out website and mobile versions, and also has a live-streaming platform that helps when betting in-play.

14. STS

STS is relatively unknown in the UK as it is a Polish operator but has a decent sportsbook offering. The site is not as good as well-rounded of the more established UK bookies and the wagering requirements on its welcome offer should be looked at before signing up, but if you like football then all the markets are there for you. There’s also a good offering for tennis and niche sports that are popular around Europe such as basketball and ice hockey.

15. Mr. Play

Mr. Play is another bookmaker of which a lot of bettors may be unaware, but is great for those looking for a solid welcome offer, a great selection of sports and satisfactory odds. You can bet on everything from football and horse racing to floorball and futsal on the easy-to-use website and app.

16. NetBet

NetBet is known for its casino but it also offers a great sportsbook for those looking for an alternative to the established bookmakers. There you will find an excellent welcome offer, as well as promotions on accumulators including boosts and refunds, plus free bets every week.

How do we select the UK’s best betting sites?

There are numerous options when looking for the best betting sites in the UK with the industry well known for giving punters incredible choice. The downside is that customers can often get lost in how many UK online bookmakers there are and need help in sifting through to find the best out there.

That’s where we come in; to help you know which is the best betting site for you to sign up to for your specific needs. We have signed up, deposited and bet with every bookmaker on our list to ensure we are well placed to advise you on the best betting sites in the UK.

We evaluate all the bookmakers according to the same criteria below:

Sign-up bonus and free bets

A major aspect of a punter’s decision to join a sports betting site is the value of its sign-up offer. Bookies are constantly updating and competing with each other to get new customers and so there are a lot of excellent sign-up offers out there, such as William Hill’s or Paddy Power’s.

We look at how much you get in bookmakers’ free bets and then a number of different factors that differentiate them. These include important factors such as wagering requirements, how long your free bets are valid for and how long it takes for them to be rewarded.

Wagering requirements can often catch out even the most experienced bettors, and our best betting sites all have easy-to-understand wagering requirements to trigger the free bet, such as bet365 and Betfair. There can also be wagering requirements on withdrawal, although the vast majority on our list do not have any.

Usually, bookmakers will give you seven days to use your free bets once they have been awarded to your account, but this can differ with some bookies. Free bets are usually given to you instantly after making either a qualifying deposit or qualifying bet. However, some are paid out after your qualifying bet is settled. You may also be given the free bets from betting sites in different bundles, such as two £10 bets or four £5 bets.

Sign-up process

The user experience on any top betting site starts with the sign-up process. A simple and easy way to enter your details and get set up with an account is integral to being one of the best betting sites as it will give you a good idea on how the rest of the website will function and whether it will be a good experience for you. We take a look at how long a bookie’s sign-up process takes, how many details they ask from you, how easy the information is to give to the bookies.

Sports markets

The main reason for people to sign up to a betting site is to place their bets on the sports of their choice, so we look at the variety of betting markets each bookie provides.

Both experienced bettors and the casual punter will often look at the betting markets as a main factor when picking a betting site and some offer markets others don’t. All of our bookmakers offer markets on the major sports that the majority of users will be looking for, including football, horse racing, golf, tennis and boxing.

The difference lies in some of the more niche leagues and sports, with an example being bet365 with their football markets and William Hill’s excellent TV and Specials markets for election betting or reality shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and the Eurovision Song Contest, which set them apart from their competitors.

Loyalty promotions and rewards

Once you’ve signed up to your new betting site and claimed the welcome offer, you will then need to know what you can expect in terms of promotions and rewards with the site's offers.

Some bookmakers will have their free bets clubs such as Betway. You qualify for the bet club by betting a required sum each week with the bookie to receive free bets each week.

There are also free-to-play games on many of the online betting sites, including 888sports Up For 8, Paddy Power’s Beat The Drop and Grosvenor Sport’s Million Pound Picks. These games have varying levels of difficulty and prize money.

Money-back specials, where you place a bet and get your money back in free bets if it loses, early payouts and odds boosts are all promotions bookmakers will have on our list, such as Paddy Power, Betfred and BetVictor. Best odds guaranteed is one that a lot of punters, especially in horse racing, will be looking for and the majority of the bookmakers on our list provide this.

Deposit/withdrawal

Bookmakers will have their own deposit and withdrawal systems and we judge the best on a number of criteria. We are looking for the online betting sites with the lowest deposits which can be done the quickest and with the most varied payment methods, including eWallets and PayPal.

Bookmakers also need to have the simplest way for punters to be able to withdraw their money. The variables here include how long you have to wait for your withdrawal to reach your account, which is usually five working days, and who has the lowest withdrawal amount.

Mobile betting and desktop experience

Most punters now bet via their mobiles so we take into account how each online betting site runs on phones and tablets. The app and website must both be clearly laid out, easy to navigate and should not have any complicated features that slow down the user journey, with bet365 the best in our opinion.

We are looking for the top sports being at the top of the page, with the in-play and next up sporting events to be clearly visible when you’re on their main page. Navigation to each market should be simple and each function, such as cash out, should be clear for the user to see.

This will also include live streaming of sports, with a lot of bookmakers offering the service but with different requirements. Some ask you to place a minimum bet on the event while some may be free to stream, with all our betting sites above having some form of live streaming.

Online bookmaker security

A legitimate worry for anyone looking for an online betting site will be how regulated the site is, which is why every bookmaker on our list is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. We have also personally looked at and bet with all of the operators you see on our website, as we ensure they are the safest for users to bet with.

Some are also commissioned by gambling commissions around the world, and we have the significant terms and conditions below each of the operators, and you can read the full terms and conditions on their individual sign-up pages once you click through.

Best betting sites for football

Football is the most popular sport to bet on in the UK and a lot of punters looking for a new betting site will want to know the bookie they’ve chosen has a great football offering,

When looking for the best betting sites for football, you should look out for the same features that we have pointed out above.

You want a good sign up offer, a wide range of leagues and competitions as well as one with the most markets to help you make your bet.

How to choose the best betting site for you

Different players will want different things when looking for an online betting site, and you should take into account all of the above points when making your selections.

You should be aware that you are not limited to having just one online bookmaker account, and if more than one online betting site ticks the boxes for you, then you can use both of them.

Qui est Denise Coates, la patronne du site de paris Bet365, payée un demi-milliard d’euros en 2020 ?

Denise Coates n’est pas un nom connu du grand public. Pourtant, cette Britannique de 53 ans est à la tête d’une des plus grandes sociétés de jeux en ligne au monde : Bet365. Fondée au début des 2000, l’entreprise a bénéficié de la popularité croissante des paris sportifs en ligne pour s’imposer dans un milieu très concurrentiel.

Basée à Stoke-on-Trent, en Angleterre, Bet365 a enregistré un chiffre d’affaires de 2,8 milliards de livres l’an passé (environ 3,29 milliards d’euros), soit une baisse de 8 % par rapport à l’année précédente, la pandémie de Covid-19 ayant mis au ralenti les compétitions et les paris sportifs.

Malgré une année difficile pour les paris en ligne à cause du ralentissement des compétitions sportives, Denise Coates, elle, a plus gagné que l’année précédente.

Elle a empoché 421 millions de livres sterling (497 millions d’euros) en salaire l’an passé, et même 469 millions de livres en tout avec les dividendes, soit 551 millions d’euros environ, rapporte la BBC. Le salaire perçu en mars 2020 par Denise Coates « était supérieur de plus de 50 % à la somme de 277 millions de livres (266 millions d’euros) qu’elle a perçue en 2019 », selon la BBC.

Des chiffres rГ©vГ©lГ©s il y a quelques jours et qui fait beaucoup de bruit (et des jaloux) au Royaume-Uni avec une question qui revient rГ©guliГЁrement : un tel salaire est-il justifiГ© ?

Tout ce que l’on peut dire sans se tromper, c’est que ce montant représente un salaire mensuel d’environ 41 millions d’euros, soit plus de 1,361 million d’euros par jour ! « Le groupe s’assure que la rémunération de tous les employés est appropriée et juste, et reflète l’apport et la contribution de l’individu à l’entreprise ainsi que la performance globale du groupe », a expliqué la direction de Bet365 dans un communiqué.

Bien évidemment, un tel salaire en fait l’une de cheffes d’entreprise les mieux payées du monde. Cela renforce également son statut de femme la plus riche du Royaume-Uni, et elle figure parmi les plus grandes fortunes de ce monde. Selon l’agence de presse américaine Bloomberg, la femme d’affaires aurait amassé 1,5 milliard de dollars au cours de la dernière décennie (environ 1,3 milliard d’euros). Avec une fortune estimée à 10,3 milliards de dollars, elle occupe la 219 e place dans le classement des milliardaires de la planète établi par Bloomberg, bien loin derrière la Française Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, 67 ans, femme la plus riche du monde avec 76 milliards de dollars.

Toutefois, à l’échelle du Royaume-Uni, Denise Coates est la seule femme, parmi 17 milliardaires britanniques, à figurer dans le classement Bloomberg. On y retrouve notamment Richard Branson, le fondateur du groupe Virgin, et Joe Lewis, propriétaire du club de football Tottenham.

Bet365 boss Denise Coates' pay may exceed ВЈ1bn in four years

Cheffe d’entreprise très jeune

Comment Denise Coates a-t-elle ainsi fait fortune ? Après avoir obtenu un diplôme en économétrie (une branche des sciences économiques dont l’objectif est d’écrire et tester les modèles économiques) à l’Université de Sheffield en Angleterre, la jeune femme s’est formée pour devenir comptable et a repris une petite chaîne de magasins de paris que son père possédait. C’est comme cela qu’elle s’initie au jeu.

À 22 ans, elle en devient la directrice générale et s’évertue à développer la petite entreprise qui deviendra plus tard Bet365. En 2000, elle prend conscience des bouleversements engendrés par internet et la possibilité de réaliser des affaires partout dans le monde.

À l’époque, il existe des centaines de sites de jeux et paris en ligne mais limités à une seule catégorie de sport ou de jeu. C’est en inventant de nouvelles règles, en créant de nouvelles opportunités et en faisant connaître Bet365 auprès d’un plus grand nombre de joueurs, que Denis Coates va bouleverser cet univers très concurrentiel.

La bascule s’opère en 2000 lorsqu’elle décide de monter sa propre plateforme de paris qui permet alors de miser sur n’importe quel sport à tout moment de la journée. La success story était enclenchée…

Bet365 boss’s £421m pay for 2020 takes earnings over £1bn in four years

Bet365 boss’s £421m pay for 2020 takes earnings over £1bn in four years

Bumper package for Denise Coates comes as gambling firm reports fall in revenue

The boss of gambling website Bet365, Denise Coates, was paid nearly half a billion pounds in salary and dividends last year, as the latest in a string of record-breaking awards took her total pay since 2016 to nearly £1.3bn.

After an unusual delay in filing its accounts at Companies House, Bet365 revealed that its highest-paid director, understood to be Coates as chief executive, received £421m – or £48,000 every hour of every day throughout the 12-month period. In its accounts, the company said its pay arrangements were “appropriate and fair”.

Bet365 also paid a dividend of £95m, signalling a separate windfall of around £45m for Coates, who owns more than half of the empire she built out of her father Peter’s Stoke-on-Trent bookmaking business.

The deal is just the latest bumper package for Coates, who – together with Peter and her brother John – ranked 16th in last year’s Sunday Times rich list with a fortune of £7bn.

It is also likely to cement the family’s position as the UK’s largest taxpayers, contributing more than £500m a year when factoring in Bet365’s corporation tax.

But critics of excess pay and the gambling industry alike said it was hard to justify the scale of the rewards on offer to Coates.

“Of course rich people pay more tax, they have grossly disproportionate incomes,” said Luke Hildyard, the director of the High Pay Centre.

“What’s relevant is how much money they have after tax and in her case it’s more than anyone can spend in multiple lifetimes,” he said.

“It’s appallingly inefficient for single individuals to hoard wealth in this way when fairer systems of taxation could mean the wealth is instead used to support better public services or raise living standards for low- and middle-income earners.”

Coates paid herself £323m in 2019, including salary and dividends on her stake of more than 50% in the firm, based in Stoke-on-Trent. The pay packet, then a record for a UK chief executive, took her income over three years to £817m.

The new enhanced deal takes her pay and dividends since 2016 to nearly £1.3bn.

The Scottish National party MP Ronnie Cowan, a vocal advocate of tougher gambling regulation, acknowledged Coates’ hard work and success but added: “When the industry is creating so much harm in the community, when it is the most deprived areas that see the most damage and when the industry is in denial in regard to the damage it does, then salaries of this magnitude will always draw criticism.”

Bet365 reported an 8% fall in revenue to £2.81bn for the 52-week period ending 29 March 2020, partly due to the cancellation of sporting events as the Covid pandemic took hold last year, on top of the lack of a major football tournament during the period.

Operating profit fell by 74% to £194.7m, down from £758.3m in 2019, owing to the reduction in revenue but also as a result of a bumper pay rise for its four directors, only one of whom is not a Coates family member. The combined pay of the quartet leapt from £373m to £529m.

The company, which also owns Stoke City football club, will not publish results covering most of the pandemic period for at least another nine months, but it is likely to have done extremely well given the increase in online gambling seen at rival companies.

Coates has become Britain’s best-paid woman while building the Bet365 empire after recognising the power of internet gambling early on and pioneering hugely popular in-play bets on football, which has overtaken horse racing in popularity among gamblers.

She took the company from a small operation housed in a portable building in a Stoke car park to a globe-straddling multibillion-pound empire in the process.

Bet365 has repeatedly declined to give a breakdown of the geographical spread of its business, despite past allegations of offering bets in China, where it is illegal to do so.

In its accounts, Bet365 said disclosing regional income would be “severely prejudicial” to the group.

The company said it had donated £85m to the Denise Coates Foundation, supporting causes such as the Douglas Macmillan Hospice and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The foundation’s page on the Charity Commission website offers no indication of whether any money goes to problem gambling treatment but Bet365 said it had made advances in protecting vulnerable people via its early risk detection system.

Coates said: “On behalf of the board I am pleased to report that the group continued to make considerable progress during the period, particularly in the priority area of safer gambling, where significant investment and developments have been made.

“The period also saw the initial impact of Covid-19, with sport at all levels halted across the world. I am delighted with how the group responded and adapted to these challenging circumstances.”

João deixou-se agarrar pelo jogo e acabou a achar que tinha sido "mesmo burro"

João deixou-se agarrar pelo jogo e acabou a achar que tinha sido

Agora que o jogo online está legislado em Portugal, o Observador conta a história de João, que arriscou, perdeu quase tudo e acabou a pedir ajuda aos Jogadores Anónimos.

A nova lei do jogo online entra em vigor a 28 de junho

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Este artigo foi publicado originalmente a 4/5/2015 e republicado a 25/5/2016 quando foi atribuída a primeira licença para apostas desportivas na internet.

Tinha 18 anos quando começou a ir com 12 ou 13 amigos para o Casino do Estoril. Era pela brincadeira, mas o dinheiro que ganhava agarrou-o, a ele e a mais três. No início só lá ia às sextas-feiras, depois começou a ir às sextas e sábados, até que chegou a ir grande parte da semana. Fez o que nunca sonharia fazer: estar à porta do casino às 15h, à espera que abrisse. Perto dos 40 anos, largou essa vida para entrar no mundo virtual, no jogo online. Pediu vários empréstimos de quatro mil euros, apostava aos milhares, chegou a ganhar 46 mil euros em cinco dias e mal dormia. Vendeu uma empresa por 14 mil euros e enfiou o dinheiro no jogo. Pediu um empréstimo de 20 mil euros através da conta do pai e metade do dinheiro seguiu o mesmo destino. O jogo e a vida já se baralhavam, embora nunca tenha faltado nada em casa, garante.

A mulher sabia que ele jogava, mas nunca soube a dimensão e o volume das apostas. Ainda hoje não sabe. Ela aconselhou-o a entrar nos Jogadores Anónimos, mas ele não quis saber. João nem se lembra sequer de ter tido essa conversa. Em 2014, decidiu que precisava de ajuda e inscreveu-se finalmente no grupo. Mais: entregou os cartões de crédito à mulher. “Fui mesmo burro”, diz, sem pudor. Esta é a história de João, um homem casado, com uma filha, que temeu perder tudo. Hoje diz saber o valor do dinheiro e sente-se senhor do seu destino.

A nova lei, que dá as boas-vindas ao jogo online em Portugal, foi publicada dia 29 de abril em Diário da República. Veja aqui o Explicador que o Observador preparou sobre o tema.

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“Há três anos que jogava no jogo online, mas metia pouco — eram 70, 80, 100 euros por mês. Quando recebia [o ordenado], metia lá dinheiro. Ia jogando. Quando perdia, só voltava a meter dinheiro no mês seguinte”, conta João ao Observador, num canto do terminal fluvial do Cais do Sodré. Existem vários sites online e cada um tem as suas regras, mas funcionam todos mais ou menos da mesma forma: cria-se uma conta, transfere-se dinheiro (o mínimo em alguns é 15 euros) e está-se apto a apostar. As casas de apostas ficam com uma percentagem dos lucros, algo que também acontece na hora de retirar o dinheiro da conta para o transferir para o mundo real.

“Em março de 2014 tive sorte: ganhei 46 mil euros em cinco dias. Fiquei a pensar que era fácil. A minha mulher sabia que eu jogava, mas inventei que tinha saído uma parte na raspadinha.” A seguir decidiu transferir o dinheiro da casa de apostas para a sua conta. Eram quase 45 mil euros e o site bet365, diz, bloqueou-lhe a conta. “Não posso apostar lá mais. Não me deixavam apostar mais de 12, 13 euros. Ou seja, enquanto andava a apostar 2.000 euros estava tudo bem, quando souberam que tirei o dinheiro…”, desabafa, indignado, como quem ainda não ultrapassou aquela mágoa.

As apostas de João eram maioritariamente no futebol. A estratégia era aventureira, difícil: apostar, durante um jogo, na equipa que estava a perder, acreditando que ia dar a volta ao jogo. “Há pessoas que estão a ver o jogo e analisam. Eu apostava pela estatística que o site me dava. Pelos remates, ataques, só com isso, sem conhecer sequer as equipas. Podiam ser do Japão, China…”

Durante os tais cinco dias gloriosos em que ganhou 46 mil euros, João mal dormiu. “Estava quase sempre com o telemóvel na mão. O telefone tinha de ser carregado cinco vezes por dia, ou às vezes tinha de estar sempre ligado à corrente.” Mas o facto de ver a sua conta ser bloqueada não lhe devolveu o sono, pois a seguir abriu uma outra na Betfair, outra casa de apostas online. Em dois dias chegou aos 20 mil euros – “fui perdendo até aos quatro mil e retirei”.

Mas o susto, esse maldito mensageiro que não tem por hábito bater à porta, chegaria. “Assustei-me passados sete dias [de ter ganho os 46 mil euros], porque as nossas apostas estão no histórico. Assustei-me com o valor, com o volume de apostas que fiz. Apostei 155 mil euros, e nesses cinco dias ganhei qualquer coisa como 200 mil euros, resultando daí os tais 46 mil euros.”

“Ainda hoje a minha mulher não sabe o valor das minhas apostas”

“Ainda hoje a minha mulher não sabe o valor das minhas apostas”

O dinheiro não tinha valor para ele. Tinha sede de jogar, estava cego, queria correr atrás do risco, da adrenalina, do prazer pelo incerto ou, quem sabe, de fazer de um qualquer Deus e prever o futuro. “Esta vida nunca me trouxe problemas. Ganhava x [de salário], pagava as despesas e colocava uma parte para o jogo. Às vezes não chegava e ia buscar mais um bocado. A minha mulher ainda hoje não sabe o volume das minhas apostas.”

E uma folha de excel, um recanto na memória ou uma gaveta por fechar com o número redondo que já perdeu, existe? Não. “Sinceramente não quero saber disso. O ano passado falei com a minha mulher e decidi que tinha de pedir ajuda. A questão é que ela pensava que eu ia ao casino gastar 50 ou 100 euros, que já era muito para ela. Mas eu gastava 1.000, 2.000…”

O jogo, diz, “é uma ilusão”. Para ganhar argumentos e uma teoria mais robusta sobre como chegou a este ponto, João agarra-se ao passado para explicar o presente. “Nunca pensei ir para a porta do casino às 15h, como se via tanta gente fazer. E, depois, dizia que lá ia uma ou duas horas e acabava por ficar 12. Quando abriu o casino de Lisboa, por exemplo, eu chegava a sair do Estoril às 20 para as três para vir a acelerar porque este fechava às quatro… aquilo não tem vantagem nenhuma.”

A certeza que agora se cola às palavras na recriminação ao passado serve também para refletir sobre a nova lei do jogo online. “Não muda nada para as pessoas. Eu acho que é só para impostos. E, depois, ou os prémios ficam mais baixos ou quando pagam retiram uma parte automaticamente para os impostos. Mas também já vi que haverá sites que vão suportar esse valor…”

Quando se toca na ferida, devagarinho, usando a palavra “viciado”, João não se encolhe, mas faz uma finta à Maradona e segue por outro lado. “Vai fazer um ano que estou nos Jogadores Anónimos. Até entrar achava que estava tudo bem. O meu medo foi não conseguir apostar só dez euros. Pensei que tinha de desligar disto. Agora teria de apostar algo como 500, 600, 1.000 euros.” Este agora ex-jogador de jogo online fala com desprendimento e sem reservas sobre essas reuniões que frequenta em Carcavelos, onde 20, 30 pessoas se encontram para falar de tudo, não só de jogo. Com algum peso na voz, João recorda um rapaz que por lá passou, mas pouco tempo. “Tem 23 anos e já jogava há dois. Falei um bocado com ele e ele contou-me que deixou de sair com a namorada e que não largava o computador. Às vezes nem jantava. Deixou de aparecer”, conta.

“Só fiz mal a mim”, assegura. “Nunca falhou nada em casa, mas podia ter outras coisas. Vejo ali pessoas, nos Jogadores Anónimos (JA), que me fazem pensar. Uns já estão bem, outros ainda não, mas há histórias de quem lá chegou com quatro euros no bolso para o mês inteiro e sem nada para comer — houve um que passou um mês a comer esparguete com atum. O meu caso não foi esse — eu tenho duas casas, dois carros e uma mota –, por isso às vezes devem pensar que sou maluco quando me ponho lá a falar.”

Esse grupo de ajuda já havia sido mencionado pela sua mulher, há três anos. Três anos. Mas ele não ouviu, não quis ouvir, não estava capaz de ouvir. A única melodia que entrava nos ouvidos de João era o som mágico do cifrão a bater no fundo da conta, ou a falhar o alvo. Agora, foi por ele. “Houve lá um dos JA a perguntar se já fiz o quarto passo — quanto gastei? –, mas não vou fazer isso. Uma coisa é certa: uma das duas casas que tenho estava paga de certeza. Fiz empréstimos às Cofidis, Cetelems, etc. Aquilo acabava-se de pagar e pedia outro. À Cofidis pedi quatro vezes 4.000 euros. Não foi para comer, foi para o jogo. Ainda devo 25.000 em empréstimos…”

João chegou até a pedir 20 mil euros através da conta do pai, porque ele usufruía de um juro mais baixo. “Metade foi para o jogo. Vendi uma empresa por 14 mil euros, foi tudo para o jogo. Acabava tudo por ir para lá. Só a minha mulher é que mexe na conta agora: entreguei-lhe os cartões e tenho um recarregável. Quando é necessário, ligo-lhe e ela mete 50 euros.”

“Os jogadores acabam por destruir muita coisa. Não só o dinheiro, mas também a família.”

Resignado, vencido, diz que o jogo é “mesmo sorte”, e que é preciso saber parar. Uma amiga que trabalha no casino contou-lhe uma história que empresta solidez a esta teoria, que coloca os ventos da sorte no centro do mundo. “Dois chineses, lado a lado, estavam a jogar ao Ponto e Banca. Um apostava 10.000 no ponto e saiu 31 vezes seguidas. O outro apostava três, quatro, cinco mil euros na banca, na esperança de virar. Ele perdeu uns 140 mil e o outro ganhou 300 mil. É sorte. Mas é como ela diz: ‘ele vai lá meter tudo outra vez’.”

O maior aliado, garante, foi a sua mulher. “Ela detesta jogo, é muito poupada. Por minha causa, então, tem pavores de jogo. Os jogadores acabam por destruir muita coisa, não só o dinheiro, mas também a família. Hoje percebo isso. Há dez meses não ligava a nada disso”, afiança. E, talvez por isso mesmo, por toda a luta que tem vivido, por toda a ajuda que tem recebido, levou a mal um pedido da mulher. “Pediu-me para ligar para aqueles números 808 para um concurso da televisão para ganhar 200 mil euros. Perguntei se estava a brincar comigo, porque aquilo era jogar! Antes teria perguntado quantas vezes queria que ligasse…”

Apesar de tudo, João tem ganho esta batalha e dá a voz para alertar as pessoas. Talvez sinta esta necessidade de abrir os olhos a outros que possam entrar no labirinto sem retorno que o jogo pode transformar-se. A seguir à conversa com o Observador, João tinha agendada uma outra com um aluno universitário, para o ajudar num trabalho. Agora tem mais sossego e a harmonia familiar toca noutro tom. “Agora ficamos a ver televisão à noite, já não tenho de ir para o computador. Agora papo as novelas todas”, diz, com um sorriso de quem quer ter o seu fado na palma da mão.



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