Sportsbook Review

Bill Dozer's Answers to 14 Questions that
Explore the Offshore Sports Betting Industry

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Bill Dozer's Answers to 14 Questions that Explore the Offshore Sports Betting Industry

Topics include: deposits, payouts, profiling, limit collars, prop lines and more...

By: Bill Dozer, SBR Analyst
(c) 2007 All rights reserved

Corey: Bill: Regarding new methods of money transfer, how do you feel about InstaDebit and its prospects? Do you know where it is located; and do they in any way offer a solution to the tightening noose that is being created by the U.S. government?

SBR Bill Dozer: Corey: InstaDebit is located in Toronto, Canada. The initial feedback has been positive, as you would expect with a service Pinnacle uses. I don’t think it changes anything with the U.S. government and its desire to make these transactions illegal. As long as these systems depend on the use of U.S. banking, they will be vulnerable to government-imposed restrictions. I do think that having more branches on this tree will make it harder for the U.S. to chop it down. The primary benefit of new services like this is competition for Neteller. Neteller is charging 8.9% for their instant echeck, InstaCash. If Neteller's cost to vendors for normal transactions went down, the savings would likely be passed on to the players.

Brian : Bill: What can I do about a sportsbook (English Sports aka Telebet) that refuses to payout my winnings?

SBR Bill Dozer: Brian: There is not much you can do. They have a long history as a scam operation. If you would like to email me your account information I will contact them on your behalf and add your name to the list of players owed. Unfortunately, ESB's history suggests that you will never see your funds.

A.P.: Bill: I got a flashy invite from Heritage sports, 30% cash bonus on initial sign up, 30% bonus on all deposits and 30% rebate on my losses twice a year. I know you give them a B rating, my question is can I feel as secure with a B as I can with an A? I have only used A rated books you recommend. I could always use more outs but don’t want to use a B if there was any risk involved whatsoever.

SBR Bill Dozer: A.P.: At the risk of giving the obvious answer, a B is not an A. If I was to simply say both ratings mean the book is good, I would be de-valuing what an A rating means. I would tell a player with your mentality to stay with the recommended list which are all B+ or higher (with the exception of BetAustralia who is governed by Australia). If Heritage is offering that I would like to see the details and stipulations. It seems excessive, but the player requirements are equally as important when gauging a promotion's value. If you could forward the offer to me it would be much appreciated. There are some great bonus offers by the B+ or higher shops right now.

Andrew : Bill: I would like to ask you for a favour. I know you guys are very busy over at SBR, but I can't get a straight answer from anybody. I only use A- to A+ books for my offshore accounts. However, I know these books are the top graded by you and the rest of SBR, my question is, if I were to get a check from these establishments lets say for $5,000, and I go to cash it, obviously since their reputable books they would send it from usually a Internationally Recognized bank that would be okay, My question(s) is, how long would it take a check to clear of that size (I realize you can't speak for all Financial Institutions), but if you’re constantly making like $5000+ per week, are checks the way to go? or is their a better method?

SBR Bill Dozer: Andrew: The only place to get a true answer is from your bank. Some are faster than others. They should be able to give you a general time frame for each type of check. For example, if you use Bank of America and your book cuts their check from there, the clearing time will be much shorter, since you are eliminating an additional party. I would look into Neteller as well. The deciding factor for me is the fees. With Neteller, your funds will be immediately available to be deposited to another sportsbook. It is often less expensive than bank checks. If you are not familiar with Neteller, you may find this article useful.

Jim: Bill: Do sportsbooks profile players? i.e. if I consistently bet the over and win are the lines on the over going to increase just for me when I log on? I use three books; Olympic, WWTS, and Pinnacle, but focus most of the action on Pinnacle because of cheaper lines. Could this change if they profile my action?

SBR Bill Dozer: Jim: You will not get profiled by simply winning your over bets. If you are steam chasing and beating your shop to number moves, or just beating them up with great picks, you may get profiled. Profiling doesn't necessarily mean they are going to follow your betting patterns and deal you backward numbers. Many top books will use your plays to help them move their line. The scenario closest to what you are inquiring about is where a book categorizes its players and deals them different line sets accordingly. A book that caters mostly to entertainment players may have heavy favorite and over prices knowing those are the square's favorite wagers. Once veteran gamblers notice the line is always shaded, they will stop by for all the great underdog value. The sportsbook may then deal those value shoppers a line set where the value is not lopsided. You may get this from a Sports Interaction type shop. I don't think you are in any danger of losing your value at the books you mentioned. Using more books will ease your concerns as well as providing more shopping value.

Adam : Bill: I was considering signing up an account with SportingBetUSA. I noticed that you have included this book in your recommended list. I like the wagers offered and the promotions at this book. I have one concern however. The withdrawal policy says that neteller withdrawals will take 3 days to process. This is a long time to wait on a neteller withdrawal. Do you here any negative reports concerning withdrawals with this book? 3 days seems questionable. Does this sound unusual to you? Thanks for the time.

SBR Bill Dozer: Adam: SportingbetUSA asks that you allow 24 hours for them to process your payout. I believe 3 days refers to the amount of time it usually takes for your funds to appear in your checking account once withdrawn from Neteller.

JR: Bill: I was wondering if you had any suggestions on collecting from a sportsbook that doesn't appear to be in business- I know I am probably screwed. The sportsbook is BML Sports and the reason I joined was they were recommended by OSGA, which is obviously a joke. BML told me numerous times they would send me my money, then one day, they no longer answered their phone, and never sent my 7K they owed me. Thanks, JRO

SBR Bill Dozer: JR: Unfortunately in this case you are probably out of luck. Bring Me Luck is/was a deposit only site. If you like, you can email me your account details to assistance@sportbookreview.com to be added to my list of victims. In the unlikely event someone at BML develops a conscious and turns the phone back on I will discuss your account. Sorry for the bad news.

Bill: Bill: Could you tell me what is the safest way to deposit money into a new account? How do you feel about direct bank transfer (using a check) and what quality books accept this type of payment thanks you guys have a great website?

SBR Bill Dozer: Bill: Many People like the direct bank transfer. BoDog and Intertops come to mind as upper-tier shops who utilize this transfer method. You may also find Neteller's Instacash serves the same purpose when books like VIP Sports pick up the cost. The biggest complaint, and maybe the only complaint, is these methods have an automatic hold before withdrawal. BoDog for example, usually takes seven business days regardless of how fast the debit clears your checking account. If players are aware of the time reserved for checks to clear it could be the easiest transferring process. The safest and most proven 3rd party processor is Neteller. If you use direct checking, it is only as safe as the sportsbook executing the transfer.

Andrew: Bill: I always cash out using western union because I've never received a check from an offshore bank and I don't want to get stuck with a check my bank won't honor. Can you tell me is it o.k. to deposit a check from pinnaclesports.com in my bank or will the bank turn it down. P.S. I'm not worried about the government only the bank.

SBR Bill Dozer: Andrew: You should not have trouble depositing checks from your sportsbooks. Most books issue checks from an international accredited bank. You may notice a longer hold time for any foreign checks to clear. Deutsche Bank Trust and Bank of America are examples of banks used by prominent books. I am not aware of the bank Pinnacle uses but I believe you would be fine. I tend to choose quicker methods myself. I should also add that I can not speculate on how your specific bank would behave under any circumstances. In general, once the check has arrived the process is usually painless.

Bill: Bill: I would like to see a review of BoDog as it is on your recommended list. I would especially like to see the dealing of multiple lines subject addressed. There is no doubt in my mind that they do. I do not like the fact that they deny it.

SBR Bill Dozer: Bill: Something most players do not realize is that most books put out different sets of lines. It is like this all over the world. Bodog is a book gauged towards the entertainment player. They don't expect their players to understand bookmaking and line movement. This may be why they don't try to explain their logic behind dealing dual lines. I think the clerks should have honest answers for players who ask about this. I believe Bodog to be an honorable business overall, but I agree that they should answer this question honestly; or not at all. This is an issue I plan to address with BoDog management. Players should use multiple books in order to find the best odds. This will also make it less likely you are being profiled and losing a half point at your everyday shop.

Budman: Bill: I am so happy to have found this web-site! I feel tons better about my cash. My question to you is, I currently have around $9000 at Pinnacle. How often do you advise making withdrawals. Is it a good/safe idea to keep a lot of cash in there. I am a system bettor so I need enough cash to supplement my system. What are your thoughts on Pinnacle? I see they are rated high? Also, any thoughts on offshore bank accounts?

SBR Bill Dozer: Budman: Thanks for the positive feedback! Pinnacle is as strong as an offshore book can be. They operate as an ethical business and are talented bookmakers. How much of your bankroll you keep there should be based on what your normal play is for. There is no reason to keep $40k in any outfit if you are wagering $300 per game. In short, don't keep more than needed in any one place. There is no set amount or guideline. One man's pocket change is another man's bankroll (although a larger balance in a small or dishonest book puts you at a larger risk). My personal preference is to withdraw funds monthly to take advantage of the free per calendar month payout. As far as financial decisions not directly related to our industry, it is my policy not to advise. I can only speak on first hand experiences and am not qualified to advice on governed banking. I have been asked many times to speculate on how our government would handle banking scenarios and I do not feel comfortable speculating.

Scott: Bill: I have a question regarding limit collars... In some of your reviews of sportsbooks, it says that limits will be placed on professional players [at certain sportsbooks]... I'm sure it varies from book to book [& probably from player to player], but do you have any general idea of what those limits are cut to for professionals? Does it vary based on the game? Is it so low [50, 100 dollars] that the player usually doesn't even bother to play there at all or is it just less than the normal limit? Any information you can provide is appreciated... Also, do you know if Las Vegas casinos have similar policies?

SBR Bill Dozer: Scott: In my experience, most books that boot players do so for when you wager, not because you win. If you watch lines at multiple books and see most of the lines move, then go back and bet the line at one of the slower to move books they are more likely to cut your bet amounts than if you go on a winning streak. The book has limits in place so they can manage risks. When a book intends to move the line and you beat them to it, you have forced them to have more money on a number than they wanted. This is often called betting steam or steam chasing. Most of the Pro labeled books on our list would not cut limits. They only manage action and not where it came from. They have enough volume to manage these players and are quicker to move the line. A few books will cut your limits for simply line shopping but it is rare. You will sometimes hear of square books claiming a player has multiple accounts and taking advantage of their lagging line movement. A player with 3 accounts is a liability. He can get 3 times the amount of the normal limit on an event. Of course, there are the scam books, like Prosbet.com, who will call someone a wiseguy in order to confiscate their balance. Don't confuse stories of theft with a book managing risk. I have heard Vegas is worse than online books overall. Vegas is meant for the passing tourists these days. I really don’t know too much about Vegas sportsbooks.

Craig: Bill: Where is the best prop lines based on variety and payback from a solid book? Pinnacle is great when they offer them but not often enough. Also Olympic seems good. Please feel free to ask all their opinion. Thank you for this great site.

SBR Bill Dozer: Craig: 5 dimes is a player favorite for props. BoDog offers props as well. My advice would be to choose from a large selection of books. You may hear players complain about OLY having a prop with 50/50 odds (such as a coin toss) being -115. Many props have inflated prices but you can usually sniff out value. The best way is to have a large selection of sportsbooks. Prop lines can move quickly. Betting on a prop at BoDog for 300 dollars can change the line. Olympic, Bodog, 5dimes, bet365 and Cris all have some different prop bet offerings. Of course, Pinnacle will almost always offer the best value on futures.

Andrew: Bill: I have read that the U.S. is beginning to clamp down on off-shore gambling. I know they have been mouthing about this for a long time, but this time do they mean business?, I heard a company based out in Costa Rica got took for $3.2 Million, (poker operation I believe)

SBR Bill Dozer: Andrew: I agree, these are unprecedented actions taken by the U.S. government. It seems we are manipulating any and all laws to hinder the growth of the online gaming industry. In the past the government has done a better job preserving our constitutional rights. It is my belief it is now taking advantage of America’s loss as victims of terrorism. We have recently attacked advertisers and search engines which in many people’s eyes is a 1st amendment violation. The rest of the world has called our leaders on its recent dictating. The World Trade Commission has ruled against our government regarding its attempt to stop the US citizen from contributing to offshore business. As far as if players should be worried, I would say not yet. You could compare our situation to the music file sharing conflict. There were never any issues with copying CDs and tapes or grabbing songs of the old tuner but once the internet brought sharing to a new level, the government panicked. The internet has made the world smaller and made economic shift easier. Napster was shut down fairly quickly but years later its offshore ancestors are still going strong. Now our own music market has expanded to selling tracks on many websites for almost nothing. The US has the ability to conform. It is hard for our country to watch US money sail away. This same scenario may play out in our industry. Will Vegas reach out beyond its borders? Not anytime soon but I think history has shown that the people as a mass truly control what happens. Currently we are seeing an attempt to cut down the size of this mass. Ultimately this may help our industry. It may eliminate the sub-par book from advertising 400 sportsbooks on Google and force people to do some research. The US has a if you can’t beat em, join em mentality which I hope to see applied to online gaming.

Bill Dozer: SBR Writer, Analyst, and Sportsbook player.

Mr. Dozer warns other players of scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks.
Ask Bill Dozer your Most Important Question at: Bill Dozer

For a no-nonsense guide to avoiding scam sportsbooks view How To Avoid Scam Sportsbooks. For a complete list of over 750 sportsbooks rated from A+ to F-, view the SBR Rating Guide.