8 Biggest Crooks in Online Gambling for 2014

October 16th, 2014 By: Ron
Posted in:  Law, News

crooks in gambling industryWhile the vast majority of online gambling sites give players an honest product and pay winners in a timely fashion – every industry has its share of bad apples. We’re counting down the eight worst offenders of 2014. These are sites players should avoid at all costs.

#8: Oceans Casino (OceansOnlineCasino.net)

Ripe with player complaints since their inception, Oceans Casino has been online since 2006. Their ownership is relatively unknown, and they don’t appear to be connected to an extensive network of gambling sites. That’s a good thing for gamblers, because these guys are not highly regarded in the industry.

For the first several years, Oceans Casino had few complaints. However, in 2010, customers began to report issues with withdrawal speeds, and one player had his balance taken after he won $7,000 because of “foul play.” He was given no further explanation, and further inquiries by himself and Casinomeister went unanswered.

Though they likely aren’t attracting many players these days, it should go without saying that players should avoid Oceans Casino. Their neglect for their clients is clearly apparent, and you may not be paid if you win.

#7: EZ Street Sports (EZStreetSports.com and 7RedSports.com)

EZ Street Sports is a Costa Rican based, US-facing bookmaker that, despite operating for over a decade, has a horrible reputation in the industry. EZStreetSports and what seems to be their sister site 7RedSports.com are consistently late on withdrawal requests, have a history of deception, and as will be shown below, they may not honor winnings if their customers happen to hit it big.

Most damning for EZ Street Sports is rumors of being associated with BetIslands, a former online sportsbook that went bust and defaulted on $1.5 million dollars in player balances. Several players reported that after BetIslands had closed their doors, they received phone calls for EZ Street Sports where they were offered their lost balance if they deposited 50% of the amount and agreed to a 15x rollover.

Their more notorious scandal occurred when EZ Street Sports confiscated $46,000 in video poker winnings from a player in 2011, claiming, despite zero evidence that the player was committing fraud. EZ Street maintained that the player, “Cory1111,” was using perfect strategy, which they had no evidence for because the hands were never analyzed by EZ Street. And even if that were true, it wouldn’t justify seizing his balance.

They also claimed his play patterns indicated he was using a bot, but the evidence suggested otherwise. Despite several sportsbook watchdog sites asking for the player’s winnings to be honored, EZ Street stuck with their decision.

Large sports betting forum TheRx.com helped perpetrate this theft by ruling in the sportsbook’s favor in the dispute and banning Cory1111 from posting anything further at their forum. TheRx continues to promote EZ Street Sports heavily and touts them as their “silver member” option for players. Just about every other sports betting portal advises bettors to steer clear of EZ Street Sports and connected sites like 7Red Sports.

This incident is just one of many among a long history of deception and outright theft from players at EZ Street Sports.

#6: Grand Prive Casino Group (BetGrandPrive.com, BetCasinoGrandBay.com, BetBellaVegas.com, BetJupiterClub.com, BetLakePalace.com, and BetRoadHouseReels.com)

Established in 2001, Grand Prive is a rather large casino group that has a long track record of deception with not only players, but also gambling affiliates as well. One of the scummiest casino groups online, Grand Prive and their related properties have been subject to hundreds of different complaints.

Their worst incident involved defrauding affiliates after switching casino software in 2008. After the US passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, it posed a problem for their business once the regulations went into affect two years later in 2008. Their software provider at the time was Microgaming, which refused to operate in the US market. Not wanting to leave the lucrative American market behind, Grand Prive opted to change their casino software to BetonSoft.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with changing software providers, but Grand Prive took it as an opportunity to bilk their affiliates. After initially promising affiliates (web archive) “true 35% commissions” and “lifetime income for all players,” they disbanded their previous Microgaming affiliate program – only to start another program almost immediately and un-tagging thousands of players from affiliates who referred them.

Grand Prive blamed Microgaming for their troubles, but that was almost certainly an attempt to deflect blame from their own greed and their actions of fraud against affiliates. Gaming regulator eCOGRA launched an investigation almost a year later, but many affiliates alleged that Grand Prive provided false information to the regulator. Ultimately, players had only several weeks to submit a claim for back earnings and had no access to the records of their players after the previous program ended.

eCOGRA did find in favor of the affiliates after their investigation and awarded them about 3.5 times the average revenue of a lifetime Grand Prive player. Even though the affiliates were awarded some compensation, some still felt shortchanged.

Other scams include “bait and switch” bonuses with predatory terms. These were conveniently discovered by management after a player cleared the bonus and ran up his balance.

In addition, the Grand Prive Group processes withdrawals only twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), and players should expect delays when receiving their funds. They also have notoriously awful customer support.

Grand Prive still continues to thrive because they spend a lot of money on marketing (ripping off affiliates and slow-paying players allows for that). Many still promote them, hoping they will keep their word this time. Even in the much-maligned US market, there are loads of options better than this group.

#5: SBG Global (SBGGlobal.eu, BetRoyal.com, and Sports-Gambling.com)

Established all the way back in 1999 and still operating today in Costa Rica, SBG Global has operated for over 15 years in the offshore betting world. While longevity in this industry usually equals trust and integrity, this is not the case when it comes to SBG Global. The company has stolen at least $1 million from players’ rightful winnings since their inception.

SBG Global has run so many scams and angle shot players so many times over the years – it’s hard to keep track.

Their biggest scam is probably their practice of regularly voiding players’ winnings for having multiple accounts at different SBG Global skins. This clause is written in the fine print when signing up, but it is selectively enforced, and I bet you can figure out how.

Unsurprisingly, players who deposit at various skins and lose are not told of this rule, but those who run up their balances and try to withdraw are made aware. Since they have two accounts, their winnings are void. This occurs long after players complete bonus rollovers and have played for months. I guess players should feel lucky that SBG Global decides to at least let them withdraw their original deposits.

Other tactics include voiding players’ profits due to “syndicate” or “professional” betting patterns. This is a common tactic by scam sportsbooks like SBG Global. A reputable shop would simply lower a player’s limits, cash out their money, and no longer take their action. Instead, SBG Global likely voids hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from players who get caught up in their “wiseguy rule.”

To be to fair to the team at SBG Global, most of these complaints occurred five plus years ago, and it looks as if, in recent years at least, they have cleaned up their act somewhat. Of course, that doesn’t excuse their tactics and past thefts.

They are by no means a reputable sportsbook – they have been ripping players off for a decade and a half. With that said, if you’re a small player and happen to run up your balance a bit, you will still likely get paid. If you get your balance into five figures or higher – you’re taking a significantly larger risk. Remember, by not paying the top 5–10% of their winners, a bookmaker may be able to achieve profitability regardless of the rest of their players’ action.

However, we still don’t encourage players to deposit at SBG Global or any of their sister sportsbooks. If you do decide to risk it at SBG Global (which we don’t advise) and take their deposit bonus offer, cash out frequently.

#4: BTG Global (VipSports.eu, Dimeline.eu, SaferiCasino.eu, and WagerUp.eu)

BTG Global is one of the most dangerous brands that sports bettors can make the mistake of dealing with online. Despite a well-designed homepage and the look of a professional bookmaking operation, BTG Global and their flagship sites of VipSports.eu and DimeLine.eu are far from reputable outfits.

DimeLine and VIPSports began appearing on avoid and rogue sportsbooks lists in 2010 but still seem to be doing an excellent job of luring players in despite widespread word that these guys should be avoided.

Aside from their poor support staff, poor odds, and misleading terms and conditions, BTG Global’s most common swindles are slow-pays and no-pays. There are regular complaints regarding the sportsbook when it comes to paying out account balances. Management often contests even payouts in the low five-figure range when players request a withdrawal.

There are several reports of them threatening non-payment to players who beat them for decent money and forcing them to accept a prorated amount, despite their play being completely above board. Even in these cases, Dimeline has sent out bad checks to players.

DimeLine has even told players that they will be pushed to the back of their withdrawal queue if they complain about the sportsbook’s tactics publicly on messages boards or forums. This is utterly pathetic and something we might expect from mafia members, not an offshore sportsbook.

Sadly, BTG Global is still widely marketed by many affiliates, and their network of bookmakers offer loads of promotions, such as reload bonuses, which ill-informed sports bettors regularly get suckered into accepting.

There is zero reason to consider BTG Global as an option.

#3: Virtual Casino Group (BetRoyal.com, CirrusCasino.net, VirutalCasino.com, GamblingWages.com and a dozen others)

In business for over a decade, the Virtual Casino Group has a laundry list of issues that have landed them on every rogue or scam report across the web. These guys are shameless. Some of their management team even served time in prison for mail fraud and conspiracy.

The group is famous or should we say notorious, for their no-deposit bonus offers. Several of their casinos offer free chips to players without requiring a deposit – players should not expect to be paid if they win, however. There are numerous complaints, across the web in regards to their slow and sometimes nonexistent payouts.

While they quote check-withdrawal times between 7–10 days, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, players may wait months to receive their money, even on amounts as small as a few hundred dollars.

Players won’t be paid in a timely fashion and payouts will be especially slow if you hit a larger jackpot. Shockingly, one player reported receiving $4,000 checks every few months on a withdrawal request of $262,000 after he hit a big jackpot.

One of the main reasons these guys are even in business is because of their affiliate program. But, like the other areas of their business, they will do anything to “save” a buck, and that includes keeping rightfully earned money from their affiliates. Often late on payments, the managers of the program also take player credits, reducing affiliate commissions.

The Virtual Group’s net of fraud is rather wide. They run over a dozen casinos, all of which players should avoid.

#2: Oddsmaker (Oddsmaker.ag, OddsPoker, and FutureBet Systems Properties)

If there were a “Hall of Shame” for online gambling, FutureBet and Oddsmaker.ag would be the first inductees. FutureBet has changed names several times since 2002 and been rebranded as GameTech Solutions and iGaming Software.

No matter their name, however, FutureBet Systems has cost gamblers millions of dollars over the years. Oddsmaker.ag, their current flagship sportsbook, casino, and poker room, spends about a million dollars a year on marketing alone. It’s likely that almost all of that money is derived from seized player deposits.

During the years of the “poker boom,” FutureBet sold white-label skins at the OnGame network starting in late 2004. These sites ended in disaster when FutureBet failed to cover the withdrawal requests of players. Honest affiliates who purchased an OnGame skin from FutureBet also got taken to the cleaners. It’s unknown how much was lost by players and buyers during this time, but the amount could easily be $1 million or more.

The OnGame disaster was only one of their schemes to defraud players. Oddsmaker.ag has been their most prolific form of theft over the years. The site has the look of a professional sportsbook and has all the features you might expect from a reliable operator, like live chat support, generous deposit bonuses, and promotions.

However, this is just part of their ruse. Yes, Oddsmaker has a support staff that is available 24 hours a day, and they eagerly help players who are trying to deposit, but players will be shocked how little help they get when they are trying to inquire about a withdrawal request.

Furthermore, consider how much Oddsmaker can spend on marketing, interface, etc. if they aren’t paying a large percentage of their players, especially their big winners. We’re guessing it’s a lot.

Because Oddsmaker is slow to move their lines (this may be by design), they were once a target for professional-type bettors. Of course, if these bettors made a profit, management would often site a “syndicate betting” rule, which they would use to justify confiscating a player’s winnings.

Like many scam sportsbooks, Oddsmaker’s tactics are beneficial to the sites that promote them, and this is the main reason they are able to stay open and continue to scam players. Their affiliate program is one of the best online, offering affiliates up to a 50% revenue share. While they don’t care about paying their players, their affiliate payments are consistently on time each month.

Most affiliates are aware of what Oddsmaker is doing to their clients and are still happy to collect their checks each month. Regardless whether they know they’re scams or not, ignorance is no excuse. Many of these sites rate Oddsmaker as an “A+ rated sportsbook” or offer similar praise to visitors.

Oddsmaker and FutureBet are perhaps the most notorious criminals that the online betting world has ever seen. Their list of victims goes back over ten years. Steer clear of Oddsmaker and any successive FutureBet properties.

#1: Lock Poker (LockPoker.eu)

The US-facing online poker industry has had several black marks over the past several years, but perhaps the worst is Lock Poker. They are now basically a deposit-only poker room, and the odds that any player who deposits money there will get it back are rather slim.

Lock initially launched in 2011 to much fanfare on the Merge Gaming Network. Even before their troubles with withdrawals, some in the industry worried about their small margins due to their guaranteed tournament offerings and lucrative VIP programs. They were chided by other network skins on Merge and the network itself for “poaching” professional-type players from other skins and offering them under-the-table deals that violated network rules.

After much infighting with Merge management, Lock Poker left the network in June 2012. They formed a new poker network called Revolution Gaming with the still somewhat popular Cake Poker Network. Although Lock reported that they bought the network out, this was never confirmed and later denied by other skins.

After about a year of operating, Lock had failed on their promises to the network and began to ring-fence their players from other skins. They left Revolution Gaming and formed their own network, and soon afterwards in mid-2014, their cashouts began to stop almost completely.

Lock is now processing cashouts at a snail’s pace. While there are still some payments going out to players, most have been backlogged over two years. A Two Plus Two Forum thread chronicles a full list of backlogged withdrawals, which now likely has eclipsed over $1 million.

Lock Poker has extremely little traffic and should have been closed down by this point, but instead they continue to promote their VIP program and 200% deposit bonus up to $2,000. Their promotions, such as monthly rake races – a bad beat jackpot – are meaningless. Monopoly money has more value than US dollars at Lock. These guys don’t pay anyone.

They have given up entirely. They’re no longer answering support emails for the most part, except of course to siphon off more deposits from unsuspecting players. Their hopes of turning things around are slim to none. At this point, management is merely shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. The ship is sinking, and it’s a matter of if, not when, they’ll finally close their doors.

Author: Joseph Falchetti
Copyright: 2014 OnlineBetting.com