Scam bookmakers have been a part of online sports betting 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 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 such a sportsbook and what steps to take when you're dealing with scam betting sites.
List of scam betting scams
The following table includes information on the absolute worst online sportsbooks. To help you avoid falling victim to a fraud bookie, we have listed these websites according to how they cheat their customers. You can 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 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 fake betting sites above have openly scammed their players as they have shown no willingness to return the player’s money after having been contacted by our support department or various customer protection agencies. If you have a complaint against a bookie, you can report his fraudulent activity on our "submit a complaint" page.
What are the signs of fake betting sites
You should always be aware of certain warning signs before deciding to create an account with a new bookmaker. After all, regardless of how promising their odds or Welcome Bonus might seem, it matters little if it’s looking to steal your money. The five most common tells of a fraud betting site include:
Bookies that change their website address
This is usually done to con the local licensing authority, as one of the most prevalent regulator measures is to block access to any non-licensed gambling sites. These bookmakers will switch their addresses to a different mirror site and continue to accept players. Various fake betting websites will shut down a website after conning players and either rebrand it or use the same license to start an entirely new site. One crucial thing to consider is if the site does not provide the address and the name of the owners. These are signs that they have something to hide.
Fake or expired licenses
If you happen to find such a bookie, you should immediately become suspicious. No operator is allowed to accept players unless they possess a lawful and unique license from an iGaming regulatory authority like the MGA or the UKGC. Sportsbooks with a fake or expired license will claim that they are lawful by featuring a phony license number on their website to lure unsuspected players. Another common sign of a scam bookie is either a non-clickable license logo on their website or a complete absence of one.
No customer support
Not much has to be said on this one. If you run into an issue with the bookie, it will be almost impossible to resolve it. Non-existent customer support means that bookmakers are expected to make a run with your money, leaving you unable even to drop an email to ask why. Although this is rare nowadays, many fake betting sites originating from Eastern Europe and the Caribbean used to employ this practice in the early days of online betting. The absence of contact info or the wrong email address displayed on the website is always problematic.
Trust us, invalid pages, broken images, and 404 errors might be the least of your problems. Bookies that freeze or do not use genuine software 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 fake betting website, and you should 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.
It is a common strategy of a bet fraud to display wrong odds on some odds comparison websites. What they do is increase the payout considerably to lure people into registering with them. However, the real odds refrain a lot from the fake ones. You should always compare and check for yourself to make sure you get what caught your eye in the first place. To view the bookmakers with the highest odds online, click here.
Which are the standard practices of scam sportsbooks
There's always the chance you already signed up on a bookie who is starting to appear as overly suspicious. You cannot always detect fraudulent activity before creating an account. 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 of scam bookmakers 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 and claiming you have a duplicate account. Be aware of bookies that ask for extra documents such as transaction history or a selfie. You think of an excuse, and they will name it for you. The most famous case was 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. Some betting scams will go as far as not to 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. Another common practice is to create profiles on winning players and put additional delays to the Bet Acceptance time, resulting in your wagers not being taken in on time.
This is where fraud bookies get really creative. They will start an entire Deposit Bonus campaign to lure in more players. As soon as these bettors claim it, they might see a significant change in the wagering requirements, also known as retroactive Bonus terms. The new 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. Some do not even display a wagering table to check your progress. Other bookies might cancel a fully wagered Bonus for trivial reasons, like a bet on the wrong odds, or might not let you 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. It all boils down to the fact that these bookmakers will ban you if you have been too successful.
Responsible Gambling & Ghost Sites
Part of healthy online betting is the responsible gambling initiative, where players can choose to self exclude for a specific amount of time, primarily due to significant losses. Legally, if you choose to abstain from betting, a site cannot reopen your account before the period finishes. However, fake betting sites will do it nonetheless, which can put you in severe financial danger. Another strategy they follow is to create new fake websites or ‘ghost sites’ to approach you from a different angle.
What to do in case you face a bookmaker scam
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 advice is always to be polite when dealing with a customer support agent and know your rights. Before you hit the live chat to vent out, take a moment to read what the terms and conditions are stating regarding your problem, as this is undoubtedly bound to help you. Even fake betting websites will have them written somewhere.
Speak with the Customer Support
Always try to reach out to the CS by any available channels. This applies to minor issues like being unable to place a bet and more serious ones, such as seeing a string of withdrawals rejected. It's entirely possible that an agent can solve a problem immediately, especially if there has been a technical issue. Remember to document every answer by keeping a transcript, taking some screenshots, or saving the emails you have received.
Contact the Bookmakers.bet support
In case you encounter a fake betting site, you can contact our dedicated support department. We are bound to offer a solution, either by advising how to file a complaint or being the middleman. You can contact our support through live chat located at the bottom right corner of our website from desktop or on the main menu from a mobile, submitting a complaint on our form or sending us an email. Please describe your problem in detail, and remember to attach any transcripts or screenshots you have. 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. This procedure must be completed this way to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.
Notify the licensing authority
If you reside in a country where gambling is fully regulated, you can solve practically every problem by bringing your case to your local licensing authority. If you live in a country where no clear gambling laws are in effect, you should find out which regulatory authority has issued the gaming license of the fake betting site. You can view this at the bottom of the homepage (footer section) of a bookie 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
Use a consumer protection agency
This is usually the last resort when dealing with a bet fraud. Like the UKGC backed Independent Betting Adjudication Service, consumer protection agencies 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.
Even though you can find many patterns of bet frauds on this page, this does not mean that all online bookies are looking to steal your money. Players face problems even with top brands like Bet365 and Bwin but they do not mean that they are fraud bookies.
You can detect a scam bookmaker through various ways. Broken websites, displaying fake odds, not holding a gambling license, or providing wrong Customer Support information are all reasons to avoid registering with a sportsbook.
The most standard ones are a tendency to reject payments and not honouring winning bets. Several players have also seen their accounts being closed down with no reason or have been cheated after claiming a Bonus or promotion.
Unfortunately, if you encounter a fake betting website you will have a very hard time getting your money back but there are things you can try. First, you should always contact the Customer Service team. Alternatively, file a complaint with the licensing authority or head to the Bookmakers.bet comments page, leave a review and we will attempt to resolve the situation for you.