Before we get started, we have to share a universal truth. Betting is hard. You have to invest a lot of time doing research on every single bet you place and spend hours upon hours watching countless sports matches. Every punter who respects his bankroll follows this betting routine and he rarely regrets his decision. Betting is hard, but the rewards you reap from this struggle make it worth it. This is why there are few things more frustrating than having to deal with sportsbooks that do not respect the time and effort you put into every single bet and try to scam you the first chance they get. Following popular demand, we have deemed it necessary to show you how you can avoid betting scams and stay away from cheating bookmakers.
6 common betting scam signs
- Extravagant bonuses. If a sportsbook offers a sign up bonus that seems too good to be true, chances are that it’s trying to lure in unsuspected punters.
- Frequent changes on the terms of service. This is usually done to avoid awarding bonuses or winnings.
- Withdrawal delays. If you see this happening way too often for no reason, then it’s best you avoid this bookie.
- Winnings not awarded. Many scam bookmakers have done so in the past, usually for laughable reasons.
- Constantly under maintenance. Although not a crystal-clear sign of a fraud sportsbook, this is usually how they try to limit suspicion before they close shop.
- Poorly regulated. Not all betting sites are regulated within strict authorities. It’s best to stay away from such bookmakers.
How you can avoid getting scammed
There are basically four ways of doing this. The first one involves choosing a betting site that is correctly regulated. The most respected iGaming authorities include the MGA, GLA and the UKGC. You can easily see where a bookie is regulated, by checking its licensing authority, found at the bottom of their start page.
Secondly, you have to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior. For example, a bookmaker might try to contact you on your phone or e-mail and offer a lucrative sign up offer or promotion. If you have previously shared you personal information with this operator, then you probably shouldn’t worry. However, many cheating sportsbooks use illegal ways to obtain your contact information (phishing, email address harvesting etc.) and may try to lure you into making a deposit.
Furthermore, make sure to read what other players have to say about a specific sportsbook. Do they recommend him or have they shared a negative experience? You can either check our players review page, or visit one of the many sports betting forums.
Lastly, check how an operator is rated on the various sportsbook review websites. If a bookie is constantly receiving bad ratings, you should view it as a clear sign of a scam operator. Keep in mind however, that certain betting sites have only recently been launched and may not have been adequately reviewed. You can find detailed reviews and player comments on our bookmakers rating page.
If you happen to encounter any of the following signs, you can either contact your country’s licensing authority, the sportsbook’s regulator or submit a complaint through our website.
Betting scams from the past
Futurebet has a long history of scamming players ever since they made their entrance in the US market in 1998. They have managed to claim more than one million dollars from bettors, through various fraud sportsbooks like iGaming Software (IGS), Steel Head Games, New Wave Marketing, JP Gateway, Gametech Solutions and the notorious Oddsmaker. Their most common tactic includes freezing accounts in order to avoid payouts.
Up until 2006 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, Sportsbook.ag was operated by Sportingbet and was considered one of the most respected sportsbooks within the US borders. However, following the mass exodus of USA betting sites, Sportingbet decided to sell the domain name of Sportsbook.ag to a new brand called Jazette Enterprises Limited. Jazette obtained an Antigua licence and capitalized on the former reputation of Sportsbook.ag, in order to scam players. Although many bettors have kept placing their wagers on them to this day, around 220.000$ in winnings have reportedly been lost during the past 11 years.
The World Sports Exchange (WSEX) was once considered one of the most respected betting exchanges in the world. However, similarly to many other sport betting and poker operators, they were indicted during the Black Friday in 1998. This led to one of the founders, Jay Cohen, being sentenced to 21 months of prison in 2002, after being charged with violations to the 1961 Wire Act. One of the conditions of his parole, was to cut any affiliations with WSEX, nonetheless, in 2004 he moved to Antigua and began managing WSEX once again. Following the 2006 UIGEA, Cohen decided to transform WSEX to a low commission poker platform. Things did not go as planned and in 2008, the first complaints about frozen payments were made. According to 2017 estimations, WSEX owes as much as 650.000$ to their players.