Bookmaker Terms & Conditions: As Hard To Read As Nietzsche

The average bettingexpert user is active at over 4 bookmakers. This means that the bettingexpert community accepts bookmaker terms and conditions (T&Cs) quite frequently. In this study, we examine the readability level of 36 bookmaker's T&Cs and estimate how large a percentage of the UK population is likely to understand them.

In order to make this assessment we use the SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook) formula, which is used to assess the readability of a text. The research design follows Luger et al 2013. The table below display the T&C's readability score (which were gathered using the Literatin plugin).

The Findings

As we can see in the table below, our study shows that the average bookmaker T&Cs are 46 book pages long with a required reading level equal to Herman Melville's Moby Dick. This means that the average bookmaker T&Cs are so complicated that at least 43.4% of the English adult population cannot read and understand them.

The longest T&Cs is impressive 160 book pages and belong to BetClic, with Sportingbet just behind with 147 book pages. The shortest is merely 11 pages long and belong to BetVictor.

Even more concerning than the ridiculous length of the T&Cs is the complexity of them. All 36 bookmaker T&Cs have a SMOG value on 15.70 or above, meaning that the readability of their T&C's requires at least a Level 2 or higher. This entails that merely 56.6% of the adult UK population has the necessary reading skills to read these T&Cs. Even worse, 13 bookmakers T&Cs are so complex that only people with a graduate level education can read and understand them. In fact 13 of the 36 bookmaker T&C's in this study require graduate level education with the remaining 23 requiring at least a Level 2. According to charities such as NIACE and the National Literacy Trust, text should be pitched at Level 1 in order to be truly accessible/readable. 

The hardest T&Cs to read were found at Fun88 with a SMOG Score of 23.27. Fun88 is followed by 188 Bet, 12bet, 888Sport, Betfair, Unibet, Skybet, Dafabet, BetVictor, Mansion88, and Betway, which ALL require a graduate level degree in order to understand them. In fact, they are as hard to read as Friedrich Nietszche's philosophic book Beyond Good and Evil. The easiest T&Cs to read belong to Betsson with a SMOG score on 15.7. This is *only* as hard to read as Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

 

Bookmaker T&Cs Words Complex Words Sentences Pages* Smog value Literacy Level As Complex As
Fun88 T&C Link 7342 1264 180 29 23.27 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
188bet T&C Link 5849 1091 168 23 22.69 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
12bet T&C Link 6455 1459 275 26 21.29 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
Betfair T&C Link 20465 3691 718 82 21.08 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
888Sport T&C Link 12062 2125 423 48 20.93 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
Unibet T&C Link 6696 1125 233 27 20.68 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
Skybet T&C Link 4375 726 159 18 20.34 Graduate Level Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good And Evil
Dafabet T&C Link 5976 1206 281 24 19.96 Graduate Level Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince
BetVictor T&C Link 2841 516 132 11 19.42 Graduate Level Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince
Mansion88 T&C Link 7000 1240 342 28 19.01 Graduate Level Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels
BetRedKings T&C Link 11045 2051 597 44 18.72 Graduate Level Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels
Betway T&C Link 5824 1077 316 23 18.68 Graduate Level H.P Lovecraft - The Call Of Ctulhu
Bwin T&C Link 10415 1632 504 42 18.41 Level 2 and above Rip Van Wilke - Sleepy Hollow
Paddy Power T&C Link 10361 1600 495 41 18.40 Level 2 and above Rip Van Wilke - Sleepy Hollow
Bet365 T&C Link 11253 1838 595 46 18.17 Graduate Level H.P Lovecraft - The Call Of Ctulhu
Titanbet T&C Link 8866 1548 510 35 18.08 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Expekt T&C Link 5727 1128 375 23 18.02 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
WilliamHill T&C Link 14866 2387 821 59 17.87 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
YouWin T&C Link 6673 1398 500 27 17.68 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Tipico T&C Link 6563 1248 450 26 17.65 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Betathome T&C Link 6012 1021 380 24 17.49 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Betsafe T&C Link 7389 1183 456 30 17.33 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Partybets T&C Link 10546 1637 633 42 17.32 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Stan James T&C Link 5097 758 306 20 17.12 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
PKR Sports Betting T&C Link 11356 1392 573 45 17.03 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Samvo T&C Link 8057 1465 621 32 16.90 Level 2 and above Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Sportingbet T&C Link 36753 4394 1927 147 16.76 Level 2 and above Herman Melville - Mody Dick
Centrebet T&C Link 23890 3121 1382 96 16.71 Level 2 and above Leo Tolstoy - War And Peace
Betfred T&C Link 15417 2459 1111 62 16.63 Level 2 and above Herman Melville - Moby Dick
BetClic T&C Link 39953 5220 2408 160 16.54 Level 2 and above Leo Tolstoy - War And Peace
Sbobet T&C Link 13467 1749 813 54 16.51 Level 2 and above Herman Melville - Moby Dick
Pinnacle Sports T&C Link 23038 2507 1174 92 16.48 Level 2 and above Herman Melville - Moby Dick
Canbet T&C Link 3668 644 317 15 16.27 Level 2 and above Leo Tolstoy - War And Peace
Betdaq T&C Link 21141 2996 1516 85 16.16 Level 2 and above Leo Tolstoy - War And Peace
Ladbrokes T&C Link 6916 978 513 28 16.02 Level 2 and above Herman Melville - Moby Dick
Betsson T&C Link 8610 1406 801 34 15.70 Level 2 and above Leo Tolstoy - War And Peace
Average   11443 1758 639 46 18.26    
bettingexpert T&C Link 956 146 86 4 15.57 Level 2 and above The Bible (oops!)

* Book pages, average of 250 words per page.

Bettingexpert's terms and conditions are better with regards to readability than each of the bookmakers in this study (15.57), but we still have some work to do ourselves. For these terms are as difficult to read as the Bible (and no, we are not going to go any further down the path of making similarities between bettingexpert and the Bible!)

The Issue

As Luger et al remark in their own analysis, the complexity of T&C's is an issue of inclusiveness and accessibilty, writing:

"The point of consent, where individuals must be sufficiently informed to meaningfully waive rights, is dramatically impoverished if users' understanding is incomplete."

With the ever increasing intensity of criticism directed towards aspects of the betting and gaming industry particularly with regards to the issue of problem gambling, bookmakers are doing themselves no favours by creating T&C's that are beyond the grasp of segments of the population that such critics would regard as most vulnerable.

When you consider the legalities involved not to mention a bookmaker's own fundamental betting rules, composing the T&C's for a bookmaking operation would no doubt be a difficult task. But surely bookmakers can make their T&C's much more customer friendly. When almost half the population does not possess the education required to understand the terms that they are agreeing to, it's a situation that is not only easy game for cynics of the betting and gaming industry but one that even those of us who support the industry should challenge.