Betting is complicated, especially for a newbie. Besides researching your wagers, you must pick the right bookmaker. As you may already know, betting scams are a norm in the online gambling scene. Unrealistic bonuses, hindrance of withdrawals and contradictory terms are just some of their standard practices. To ensure betting for beginners is done safely, we will show you how to detect sites that are looking to trick you as well as everything you can do to avoid sports betting scams.
6 common sports betting scams
Without further delay, we will explain the most common online betting scams. Most deceitful sites will follow some or all of these strategies to try and trick players. On the plus side, most are pretty obvious. Unfortunately, though, to be able to detect some, you need to actually open an account and play.
⏩ Extravagant Bonuses: If a sportsbook offers a betting bonus that seems too good to be true, chances are that it has something to hide. This is particularly true for new bookies trying to lure unsuspected punters into signing up.
⏩ Withdrawal Delays: If you see this happening way too often for no reason, you should avoid this bookie. Many sites will claim that your bank or payment method is stalling, but the truth is that they are trying to make you lose what you have won so far. Also, some brands will demand additional documents for a withdrawal above a specific amount to hinder the process further.
⏩ Not Paying Won Wagers: Many scam bookmakers have done so in the past, usually for laughable reasons. A mistake during the live odds update is their go-to excuse. Sometimes they do not even give you a reason; they just void any won wagers.
⏩ Frequent TnCs Updates: This is typically done to avoid awarding bonuses or winnings. Imagine claiming the welcome offer that states you need to rollover the bonus five times before withdrawing. You’ve done that but still cannot cash out the winnings. You visit the Bonuses’ terms once again, where it now states that you must wager the deposit and bonus eight times.
⏩ Constant Maintenance: Although not a crystal-clear sign of fraud, it is how they try to limit suspicion before they close shop. This is way more obvious in the casino section, but ask yourself this. If you have been playing on a certain bookie for a few years, how often was the website down for maintenance?
⏩ Poorly Regulated: Not all betting sites are regulated by strict authorities. If you are worried about losing your money, it's best to stay away from such bookmakers. However, that doesn’t mean that all sites with a Tier 2 license cannot be trusted.
How to steer clear from bet scams
Generally, there are four different ways of doing this. Firstly, if reliability is the most crucial aspect for you, you can choose a strictly regulated site. The most respected iGaming authorities include the MGA, GLA and the UKGC. We are not stating that all Curacao betting sites, for instance, are frauds. However, we always advise caution when playing on them.
Secondly, read what other players have to say about a specific sportsbook. Do they recommend it, or have they shared a negative experience? Nonetheless, do not follow player comments blindly. They are not always honest, plus many players are frustrated about losing money and write bad reviews for sportsbooks they lost in.
Furthermore, to ensure you avoid sports betting scams, we have rated all bookies on our site. Even though we would never host an untrustworthy site, we still give every one of them a grade on reliability. Brands with strong operating licenses with many years of experience and are part of big gambling groups tend to do better in that regard. Click here for all the latest online bookmaker ratings.
Finally, building your experience will help you read the worrisome signs and make informed decisions. You should always 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 promotion. If you have previously shared your 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.
How do I report a betting scam
In case you fall victim to fraud, the first thing you should do is not blame yourself. This has happened to even the most experienced of players. Even though you might fail in getting your money back, you can try a few different approaches:
Notify the gambling authority: Every bookmaker runs under a specific operating license. The UKGC, the MGA and Curacao are some of the most common ones. You can find the information at the bottom of the bookmaker’s home page. Visit the authority’s official website and file a complaint with them directly.
Customer protection agencies: They will evaluate your claims and handle all cases on your behalf. Essentially, they are an intermediate between you, the bookie and the licensing authority. If they find out your complaint is valid, there is a good chance you will be reimbursed.
Warn other players: Unfortunately, more often than not, you will not be able to be vindicated. This is understandably frustrating; however, you have the chance to alarm other users about sports betting scams you have encountered. Besides leaving comments on forums, you can visit our bookmaker player ratings page and write your story.
Notable online betting scams of the past
To make sure you understand what we are talking about better, it’s best to talk about some notable brands and companies that have been caught red-handed. Let’s see three of the most notable betting scams that have duped players out of some serious money.
The World Sports Exchange (WSEX) was once considered one of the most respected exchanges in the world. However, like many other operators, they were indicted during Black Friday in 1998. This led to one of the founders, Jay Cohen, being sentenced to 21 months in prison after being charged with violations of 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 again. Following the 2006 UIGEA, Cohen transformed WSEX into 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 their players as much as $650,000.
Futurebet has had a long history of scamming players since it entered the US market in 1998. They have claimed 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 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 to a new brand called Jazette Enterprises Limited. Jazette obtained an Antigua license and capitalized on the former reputation of Sportsbook.ag to scam players. Although many users have kept placing their wagers on them to this day, around $220,000 in winnings have reportedly been lost during the past 11 years.
List of safe bookmakers
Even though you have a lot of things to be aware of, it doesn’t mean that all bookmakers are looking to defraud you. To ensure you avoid sports betting scams, we have compiled a list of bookies where you can safely place wagers.
Matched betting is a betting strategy where you use Free Bets and other promotions to ensure a profit. This is not a scam. However, if a bookmaker suspects you of using it, it will most likely limit or close your account.
There have been numerous examples of sites that scam players out of a lot of money. Some of the notable ones include Futurebet (and all subsidiary companies), Sportsbook.ag and the World Sports Exchange (WSEX).
No. You might hear many stories about bookmakers fixing matches and wanting to steal from you, but it’s not all like that. There are several trusted bookmakers where you can play and even earn a nice payday.
Besides picking a safe betting site, reading player comments and going through the bookmaker reviews on our site, experience plays a huge part in avoiding sports betting scams.
If you fall victim to a less-than-trustworthy site, first, you should realize that this can happen to everyone. Secondly, there are some things you can do. Notifying the licensing authority and leaving forums warning other players should both be at the top of your list.
You should be very careful of many things while betting online. Unrealistic bonuses, untrustworthy licenses, withdrawal delays, refusal to pay won wagers and poor regulatory authority are just some of the common betting scam practices.