The history of Diamond Sportsbook International (DSI or BetDSI) is one of the oldest online sportsbooks which launched sometime after Intertops and WSEX became the firsts. Their history dates back to a US betting operation founded in 1991. What’s important to make clear is that after operating independently from 1998 to 2003, DSI has since been a self-managed skin of the current Bookmaker.eu group, and is a very reputable online betting site. Their original brand has quite a past however, and I believe many long time gambling enthusiasts who were around in those day will appreciate this article, though a few Costa Ricans might be angered by this articles conclusion.
The Original BetDSI
DSI is a company that has many names and aliases. In fact, their old website 2betdsi.com referenced themselves six different ways, those ways being:
- Diamond Sports International
- Diamond Sportsbook
- Diamond Sportsbook International
Their actual company name was Aracosia de Oriente S.A. To be clear, this isn’t the name of some holding company. In Costa Rica this was their legal name. It’s the name their building was registered under, pay checks were issued from, bank accounts registered to, etc. Additionally, founded in 1996 and online since 1998 – this company had mtany affiliated brands under their umbrella. These included 2bet.net, funtimebingo.com, Bet PreGame, Vegas Intl. Sportsbook, Getmore Sports and dozens of others.
Although Aracosia de Oriente S.A. was founded by two blood relatives known as Dino and Stretch, it was a marketing executive going by the alias Robbie Diamond that managed their brands during the later years. Of course, when this stated Aracosia de Oriente was already one the largest betting shops in Costa Rica with around 250 employees. In any case getting back to Robbie he’s a long time scammer, whose legal last name is appropriately McPhail (McFail for any of non-English speaking readers trying to sound out the PH). Of course Dino and Stretch, as well as most of the rest of the gambling industry, were unaware of this at the time and Robbie was a smooth talker who has scammed plenty sharp minds in his day.
Robbie McPhail actually launched one of the internet’s first online sportsbooks in March 1997 from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I don’t recall how long it lasted, but it was probably a year or so before this one folded, though Robbie managed to keep a number of the square accounts. Considering losers cash out less and he’s been at this a while, Robbie to this day still maintains a steady group of clients who love him. Anyways from around 2001 to 2003 he managed the DSI brands – his client lists is probably what helped land him the position.
Robbie Fired, Dino Gone
The original founder, and real bookmaker in the DSI group, Stretch started having tension with his partner Dino in early 2002. Of course, what’s true and what’s a rumor is hard to make out as Stretch spent the least amount of time in the office, and every time payroll was late or there were other issues with staff, it was always presented by Robbie and Dino that it was somehow the fault of Stretch. Rumor has it that in mid-2002 Stretch knocked out an employee of the then leading software provider IQ Ludorem over a casino win – this to my knowledge is entirely false, but it shows some of the stuff that was said about Stretch at the time.
In any case, Stretch was a fairly likeable guy in other circles and was quiet and private (his name rarely ever came up on gambling tabloids). Stretch also had no problem playing the bad guy roll, so long as the brand he established was running well and he was making a profit. However, when gambling sites started blacklisting DSI in the final days of May over slow pays with no-response, Stretch wasted no time in flying to Costa Rica to find out firsthand what was going on. Upon arriving he learned from Robbie that Dino was in Spain and hadn’t been seen for weeks, while much the rest of the staff complained their paychecks hadn’t been issued.
How the partnership was dissolved is not a matter of public record because we’re discussing a sport gambling operation started in the US that involved blood relatives breaking up their partnership. In any case, what is known is that Robbie was fired and Dino left the company, perhaps selling his shares, or perhaps agreeing to an inactive roll. Robbie immediately took the 100,000 client list that belonged to DSI with him and began calling clients asking if they wanted to stay with DSI or be transferred to Robbie. He had no website however to host these clients, but kept running books. Dino discussed with friends in Costa Rica that he was taking a break and would get something else started soon.
Aracosia de Oriente Fires Most Staff
On June 3, 2003, the accounting department handed out final paychecks firing much of the DSI staff – however before taking their paycheck these employees were required to sign a settlement offer which stated they’d been treated fairly and are voluntarily waiving all claims to future payment. This was significant because under Costa Rican law employees are entitled to one month severance pay for each year of service. The only way an employer can avoid this obligation is via bankruptcy or settlement.
Stretch later claimed the company’s situation was such that bankruptcy was an option, but he took the highroad offering employees a settlement package instead. He claims this was fully legal, and employees were not forced to take this offer. Nonetheless, to this day there are still disgruntled former employees and their friends who mention how great Robbie was and how the owners (mostly Stretch) screwed them, something Robbie never would have done. Of course a ridiculous statement as Robbie would later show his true colors.
DSI Moved to BetCRIS
There are many punters to this day that believe DSI, which now operates at betdsi.com, is owned by Bookmaker – this is false. Back in June 2003, after firing much of their staff, 40 or so employees were kept onboard and moved to the BetCRIS offices. BetDSI had a limited partnership with CRIS that basically started with renting their offices, and then later renting their software and customer service facilities. To this date (November 2011) the two sites are near identical, but they have their own separate management and some unique lines.
Where are they Now?
Stretch: After moving DSI to the BetCRIS offices in June 2003, he stayed active with this brand for a while until his reputation was back in tact and was confident things would move smoothly going forward. There’s not much to say about him, though he’s hated by many Costa Rican ticket writers, looking back years later he saved this brand, players all got paid, and DSI is still strong as a result of his 2003 takeover.
Dino: True to his word Dino did take a break for a while and then come back. In 2006 he started BetPhoenix from a new building located just down the road from where DSI operated. Backed by Korean investors, he acquired several established brands to operate under his umbrella including BetMania, WagerChief and Skybook. It appeared for a while that he picked up right where he left off in 2003 making a full comeback. However, in 2010 staff began quitting abruptly and the slow pays to players began. At the moment these brands are surviving but the momentum is now very much headed in the wrong direction.
Robbie: An entire book could be written about Robbie. He’s an SEO genius with a long time player list, and has scammed many his day. Equipped with a list of 100,000 DSI clients he ran solo for a while, eventually got backing and started APEX Sportsbook. After a couple of months of operation he closed this book and ran off with players funds. This was not the case of failed bookmaking, he himself had no qualms about discussing the fact he was keeping these funds to advance his career. With the stolen funds he ran several other marketing scams before starting Bet33.
Robbie’s scams have generally involved large sign up bonus offers and deceptive domains. For example two of his sites are Legend Sportsbook and Total Bets, which are designed to confuse punters looking for Legends Sportsbook and Total Bet – he simply changed the plural case of two established brands. He’s also a force behind realvegascasino.com which receives more than its fair share of player complaints.
Today Bet33, which was started with stolen player funds, still operates and has a pay per head division via realbookie.com. Some of their identified brands include AlohaSportsbook, AmericasBookie, Apex, CanadasBookie, LegendSportsbook and TotalBets. Now to be clear for several years now these brands have ran relatively clean. Robbie has now changed his name to Zach, and often signs emails and posts on behalf of Bet33 or realbookie.com skins using just the letter Z. He’s very much attempting to pull a Gary Austin, meaning ignore the past and run a clean book going forward. At this time it’s tough to call, the old saying goes once a crook always a crook, but Mr. Austin has paid fine since is Vegas books turned stiff so I guess time will tell. Meanwhile books like Pinnacle Sports and BetOnline have much cleaner pasts.
History of DSI Conclusion
It’s been over 8-years since the Dino, Stretch and Robbie fall out of DSI occurred, if the “where are they now” is any indication – a few people might owe DSI founder Stretch and apology. Back when he cleaned house and moved away from these partners he took a ton of blame – but looking where his brand is now, and where the other two ended up – separating from them was probably a great idea.