Sportsbooks prey on guys like you and me everyday. They use their marketing tactics, bonus offers and slick software to entice new players to sign up. The more punters they have placing bets on their site, the more money they stand to make.
Some books do this legitimately. They offer honest and fair lines, uphold their end on the promotions they offer and pay their players quickly and without hassle. These are the books you want to be signed up to.
Then there are the scum, the rogue betting sites and sportsbook scams – the bottom of the online sports betting barrel. These guys aren’t legit. They’ll do everything in their power to squeeze every cent out of you. They’ll shift lines to unfair proportions, retroactively change terms and take your deposits, even if they know they can’t – or won’t – pay you back. These are the books you want to avoid.
That’s easier said than done, though. I like to think of scam sportsbooks kind of like new drugs. Someone has to be the guinea pig. The one that finds out what the side affects are or if the drug is lethal. The sports betting industry is a lot like that. You don’t know the bad books from the good until you or your buddies are ripped off for every penny you have.
But there is hope. There are signs to look for that will give you an idea of what books are worth continuing to place wagers at, and the ones you should withdraw (if possible) and run away from, as if they were carriers of the bubonic plague.
The Biggest Scams in Online Sports Betting History
Those signs come from studying the past. From knowing what scam sportsbooks the industry has already had the pleasure – err, nausea – of dealing with. By understanding how these books scammed your peers in the past, you’ll be able to spot trends and/or patterns in up and coming scam books, enabling you to get away before things get nasty.
The following are some of the biggest scams in online sportsbook history.
- 7 Red Sports – 7RedSports is guilty by association, for denying their involvement with fellow scammers, and sister sites, EzStreetSports and BetIslands.
- BetCascade – BetCascade is an interesting case because at one point they used to have solid ratings and reputation. But now… they owe tens of thousands to players.
- BetIslands – The BetIslands scam just goes to show that you can’t trust supposed industry ‘watchdogs.’ Read this article and I guarantee you’ll think twice about taking anything SBR says at face value.
- BetUS – BetUS is a gross example of a scam sportsbook that is still in business. Somehow they manage to get new signups and deposits, even though the information is out there that they’ll do anything in their power to never pay their players.
- EZ Sports Betting – This is a now out-of-business book. They’re known for operating tens (possibly hundreds) of scam books and sites with the sole intention of stealing money from their players.
- EzStreetSports – EzStreet is the scum sister site of BetIslands and 7 Red. They share the same building, phone numbers and staff, and evidently the same ethics and morals, too. They’re known for being the ‘plan b’ for BetIslands, having the nerve to offer BI customers their balances, but only if they made a deposit first.
- GetWin – GetWin is known for leaning on their terms and conditions, accusing players of being betting syndicates or professionals, and then voiding their winnings. However, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority got the last laugh in one case, showing you how trigger happy GetWin was/is.
- JazzSports – JazzSports is a Costa Rica based scam-book. They’re known for being slow with payments, if they chose to pay their players at all. Hell – they’re known for not paying their own employees. Now what does that tell you?
- Oddsmaker – Oddsmaker is another sham that’s still in business today. In this article you’ll learn that they don’t draw the line at scamming players; operators (business owners) are game, too. It’s calculated that they owe at least $250,000, although I think that’s on the small side since they’ve been scamming players for years.
- Sportsbook.com – Another screwed up book that’s still in business. They’re known for retroactively changing their terms so that they can avoid paying players their winnings or bonus money.
These are some of the most publicized scams – there are plenty of others. If you know of one we’d like to hear about it. Feel free to ship us an email with the details.
What Scam Sportsbooks Have in Common
From reading the scams above you’ll notice that these bottom feeders have several things in common. Knowing what they are will help you to spot scams faster in the future.
- Slow Pay or No Pay – These books either don’t pay their players, or take weeks/months in doing so.
- Retroactive Terms – Sportsbooks will go back to their terms and conditions and change them to favor them over the player. Then they’ll point to those terms to the player to justify why the player isn’t getting paid (100%).
- Term Technicalities – The book will look for any loophole, no matter the size, in attempt to escape paying a player their winnings. Even if it’s made up. For example, most books have a clause on professional betting or syndicates. However, those player types are subjective – enough so that books can use them against you.
- Huge Promotions – Many books have huge promotions in terms of bonuses, future bets, etc. If that’s all they have going for them, beware – they’re probably not a book worth betting at.
- Fancy Websites – One thing you’ll notice is that nearly all scam books have shiny websites with awesome backends.
- Unreasonable Ratings – When a review portal decides to boost the rating of a sportsbook from, say, a D to an A, in the span of a couple of months – beware. Most books that are bad from the beginning don’t get better. Those that do have A or B ratings took months/years to get there.
Some of these commonalities don’t 100% mean the book is bad, like fancy websites or big promotions, for example. But when you couple them with slow pays, retro terms or boosted ratings, not too far away is (usually) a scam.
How to Find a Reputable Sportsbook
I wanted to end this page with some tips for how to find a solid, reputable sportsbook. So lets start with what you shouldn’t do.
I would avoid review sites, or at least use them with caution. For many of them, their word is influenced by dollar signs. SBR is a great example of this – they knew BetIslands was connected to 7 Red and EzStreet, but lied about it. They knew at least 4-6 weeks in advance that BetIslands was going to tank, but encouraged them to take deposits anyway. And for what? What did they get out of it?
Between $1-$2 million. Apparently, that’s what their integrity is worth.
SBR is a large company, too. They likely bring in 7-8 figures in revenue every year, so 1 or 2 million isn’t as significant to them as it may be to you or me. I point that out because if they can be bought for that amount, how much do you think it’ll take to buy out a smaller (review) site you come across? $10,000? $25,000? You never know. So take their recommendations with a grain of salt.
What I recommend doing instead is creating a group of guys that bet on sports (online) regularly. The idea here is that you have a group of maybe 4-5 guys that you can pass tips back and forth with, specifically for where to bet and what books to avoid.
Combine this with a forum or two, and maybe one website that has yet to steer you wrong (like ours), and I think you’ll avoid the rogue bookmakers and other train wrecks most of the time. Instead you’ll end up at books that are honest with their players and pay on time.
Those are the books we like to play at. Those are the books you should prefer to play at, too.