Scam bookmakers have been a part of online sports betting ever since the first internet-based bookies started accepting wagers. This obviously doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, as we've all heard stories of bookies that refuse to pay out or will close betting accounts for the slightest of reasons. Dealing with such cheating betting sites is perhaps the most frustrating thing a bettor can encounter when betting online. This is why we have gone the extra mile to pinpoint how to recognize a cheating sportsbook and what steps to take when you're dealing with scam bookmakers.
List of scam bookmakers
The following table includes information on the absolute worst online sportsbooks. In ord er to help you avoid falling victim to a fraud bookie, we have listed these blacklisted betting sites according to how they are trying to cheat their customers. You are able to see a short description of the problem along with our own "scam bookies" evaluation criteria. These include:
- Scam. These operators have wronged their players on more than one occasion in the past by outright stealing their money and should be avoided in all instances.
- Avoid. These bookies are placed under the spotlight as various allegations have arisen for fraudulent activity. They are currently being scrutinized until a final verdict is reached.
- Closed. This one acts as a warning flag in case you see a previously closed bookie back in business. If we mention a bookie is shut down, it means a scam bookmaker is usurping their brand name.
Please keep in mind that the scam bookies above have openly scammed their players as they have shown no willingness to return their customer's money after having been contacted by our support department or various customer protection agencies. If you happen to have a complaint against a bookie, you can report his fraudulent activity on our "submit a complaint" page.
What to watch out before you sign up
There are certain warning signs you should always be aware of before you decide to create an account on a new bookmaker. After all, regardless of how promising their odds or welcome offer might seem, it matters little if a bookie is looking to steal your money. The four most common tells of a fraudulent betting site include:
Bookies that change their website address
This is usually done in order to con the local licensing authority, as one of the most prevalent regulator measures is to block the access to any non-licensed gambling sites. These bookmakers in return will switch their address to a different mirror site and continue to accept players. There are also various operators who will shut down a website after they have scammed their players and either rebrand it or use the same license to start an entirely new betting site.
Fake or expired licenses
If you happen to find such a bookie you should become suspicious of seeing a cheating site. No operator is allowed to accept players unless they possess a fully lawful and unique license from an iGaming regulatory authority like the MGA or the UKGC. Bookies with a fake or expired license will claim that they are lawful by featuring a fake license number on their website, in order to lure unsuspected players. Another common sign of a fake license bookie is either a non-clickable license logo on their website or a complete absence of one.
Poor or no customer support
Not much has to be said on this one. A poor customer support means that if you run into an issue with the bookie, it will be extremely hard to resolve it. Although not a clear sign of a scam bookie, it is best avoided as it is certain to ruin your overall betting experience. A non-existent customer support, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Such bookmakers are expected to make a run with your money leaving you unable to even drop an email to ask why. Although this is a rare case nowadays, many betting sites originating from Eastern Europe and the Caribbean used to employ this practice in the early days of online betting.
Trust us, invalid pages, broken images, and 404 errors might be the least of your problems. Bookies that freeze, won't let you place a bet or maybe not even log in are not only hurting their business by not accepting bets but might also mean a shady bookie has just opened up shop. We don't see any clear reasons for signing up on a broken betting site and it's best that you avoid them altogether. However, you should not be hasty with every bug or glitch you may encounter on a bookie. Even highly respected bookmakers like Bet365 may go down for a couple of minutes due to maintenance, while slow load problems and broken live streaming are an everyday bug on trusted online bookmakers.
Scam bookmaker common practices
There's always the chance you are already signed up on a bookie who is starting to appear as overly suspicious. This is especially true if you have discovered a pattern where you see canceled bets, slow withdrawals from you or other bettors. The most common signs include:
Quite possibly the most common practice among scam betting sites. They will not let you withdraw your hard-earned winnings and will find a ton of excuses for not doing so. From lengthy KYC verifications to alleged technical problems on the cashier. You think of an excuse and they will name it for you. The most famous case is undoubtedly Canbet when they decided to take the money and run in 2013, resulting in over $1 million frozen in player accounts.
Not honoring bets
Unfortunately, we've seen this happen even among quality bookmakers, as even the UKGC has fined certain operators for this practice. Some scam sportsbooks will go as far as not honor any of your bets, even on minuscule amounts. Their reasoning is once again ludicrous as they will say that there has been an odds compiling mistake, say that the wager was placed post-event or might even cancel your winning bets without telling you why.
This is where fraud bookies get really creative. They will start an entire deposit bonus campaign in order to lure in more players. As soon as these bettors claim the bonus they might see a significant change in the wagering requirements, also known as retroactive bonus terms. The new rollover terms may require insane rollover amounts within a short time like limiting your maximum stake to €1 per bet and asking that you place 3,000 bets within 30 days. Other bad bookies might cancel a fully wagered bonus for trivial reasons or might not let you make a deposit without being able to decline the welcome offer.
The final resort a fraud bookie will take with what they consider an annoying customer is to terminate his account. The most common excuses include blaming him for holding multiple accounts (either with the same IP or not), violating the bonus terms and conditions and even arbing. What it all boils down to, is that these bookmakers will simply ban you if you have been too successful.
What to do in case you get scammed
First of all, you should realize that it's not the end of the world as there are a few ways you can get your money back. Our first piece of advice is to always be polite when dealing with a customer support agent and to know your rights. Before you hit the live chat to vent out, take a moment to read what the terms and conditions are stating in regards to your problem as this is surely bound to help you.
Speak with the customer support
Always try to reach out the customer support by any available channels. This applies both for minor issues like being unable to place a bet and more serious ones, like seeing a string of withdrawals canceled. It's quite possible that a problem can be solved immediately by an agent, especially if there has been a technical issue. Remember to document every answer from the CS agent either by keeping a transcript, taking some screenshots, or save the emails you have received as this will allow you to document every answer.
Contact the bookmakers.bet support
In case you feel wronged by a sportsbook you can contact our dedicated support department. We are bound to offer a solution to the problem, either by advising you on how to proceed with filing a complaint or acting as the middleman between you and the bookie. You can contact our support through the live chat found at the bottom right corner of our website, submitting a complaint on our form or sending us an email. Please try to describe your problem in as much detail as possible and remember to attach any transcripts or screenshots from your conversation with the betting site.
If you have signed up on a bookie through bookmakers.bet please contact us by stating your player id and we will do everything within our power to help you.
Notify the licensing authority
If you are residing in a fully regulated country then you can solve practically every problem by bringing your case to your local licensing authority. In case you live in a country where no clear gambling laws are in effect then you should find out which regulatory authority has issued the gaming license of the bookmaker in question. You can view this at the bottom of the homepage (footer section) in the form of a clickable logo. Unfortunately, not all regulatory authorities will show the same care for upholding the players' needs, still, you can expect complete transparency from betting sites regulated by the UKGC and the MGA.
- United Kingdom Gambling Commission
- Malta Gaming Authority
- Gibraltar Gambling Commission
- Curacao Gaming Control Board
- Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
Bring your case to a consumer protection agency
This is usually the last resort when dealing with a scam bookmaker. Consumer protection agencies like the UKGC backed Independent Betting Adjudication Service will look into any complaints and mediate on your behalf to reclaim any stolen funds or settle any wrongdoings. If your case is legitimate and the betting site refuses to reimburse you, the licensing authority will take steps to fine the operator and award you your money. The most well-known consumer protection agencies include the IBAS, the Resolver, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Online Dispute Resolution of the EU.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Is 1xbet scam?
1xbet is one of the world's busiest betting sites, drawing customers from nearly every country you can name. This effectively means that will also draw many players who are looking to take advantage of the offers 1xbet gives away, by violating their terms and conditions. Although they generally deal fairly with their players, they have an extremely strict policy against bonus-hunters and will terminate their accounts following a short notice period.
Q: Can I trust Tipico?
Tipico is one of the largest operators in Germany and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority. Although many complaints have lately arisen for delayed payments, they are considered one of the safest German betting sites, alongside Bwin.
Q: Are Rivalo cheaters?
Rivalo are quite simply only one of the various scam sportsbooks out there, despite their ludicrous allegations towards the opposite. They are notoriously known for changing their lines, canceling bets and closing accounts without reimbursing their customers.
Q: Should I play on Betsafe?
Betsafe do not exaggerate by stating they are one of the safest European bookmakers, as nearly no complaints have been made for canceled bets or stolen money. They are however incredibly "soft" when it comes to limiting players, as a small series of won bets will quickly result in seeing your allowed stakes significantly shrunk.
Q: Are BetUs scammers?
BetUs are yet another awful bookmaker that has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from players ever since they went online in the nineties. They have scammed bettors in nearly every way imaginable, including changing odds, canceling bets, closing winning accounts and obviously blocking withdrawals. Thankfully, considerably fewer players are signing up on BetUs today as a whole host of safer US Sportsbooks can be easily found.