August 19, 2005
Wagering Site Takes a Gamble
On Operating From the U.S.
By DAVID KESMODEL
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
August 19, 2005
Complaints about WagerFree.com began surfacing on the Internet last
year. SportsbookReview, a Web site that rates Internet sports books and
purports to warn bettors about sites that don’t properly pay winnings,
has collected reports from bettors who say they weren’t paid by the
Ed Hunt, an occasional sports bettor in Texas, said he was drawn to
WagerFree.com because of its pledges of "juice-free" wagering. At a
traditional sports book, a person wanting to bet $100 on the outcome of,
say, a football game would also have to put up juice, also known as
vigorish, of 10%. So, if the bettor lost, he would lose $110. If he won,
he would get back his $110, and win $100.
Mr. Hunt said he is owed $1,000 by WagerFree.com. About $600 is for
winnings on the site, he said, and $400 is from a deposit he made to his
account. Mr. Hunt, who bet on football, baseball and other sports, said
he requested the $1,000 from Mr. Bradford last November. He said he
eventually received a check, in late February or early March of this
year, and it was dated for April. A handwritten note sent with the check
said, "Your checks have been post-dated for April 6. We are under
reorganization. Thanks for your patience." But when he went to a bank to
cash it, he was told WagerFree.com had stopped payment. He has tried to
get Mr. Bradford to send him a new check, but said Mr. Bradford no
longer responds to his calls.
Two other WagerFree.com customers contacted by the Online Journal also
said they were owed money by the site.
In an initial interview about WagerFree.com, Mr. Bradford said all
bettors had been paid the money they were owed. Later, after he was
asked to comment on specific