The risk of playing with poorly rated online sportsbooks

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Mike just hit a $75,000 football parlay and already had plans on how he would spend the dough. A 50'' flat-screen was first up - then he was finally paying off the auto-loan he put off for so long. Next was a gift to his parents for putting a roof over his head eight years too long, well past most kids' home expiration date. One problem Mike didn't account for in all of his planning - he would never see a red cent of it.

Mike made an account at Scam Book After being on the ropes a few times, down to his last $200, Mike threw up a prayer. Except this was no Our Father; it was a Hail Mary, fourteen-team, NFL Sunday parlay. Chasing that ever elusive life-changing score, Mike won every game. That's when the music stopped and reality set in.

"Hi, I'd like to go about withdrawing my funds. What's the fastest possible manner I can do that?"

"Sir, the notes from management are that your account has been locked and is under review. Until the investigation is complete, no withdrawals are possible on the account, sir. May I assist in anything else?"

Mike's heart sunk in his chest. He had heard all the stories of scam sportsbooks but he blew off the advice of his friends and proceeded to part with his cash every second Friday of the month. After all, he was given a small reload bonus on every deposit. He doled out $300 at a time of his hard-earned, minimum wage paycheck and dreamed of that big score; the life-changer.

Mike would soon come to grips with what amounted to a cold shower. He failed to do his research and ended up with a scam sportsbook that had a history of not paying big winners.

The above anecdote is fictional, but it highlights a very real risk of playing with shady bookmakers. While online gambling is typically met with negative connotations in most circles, sportsbook players are no different than investors - from recreational players looking to have a good time, to middle of the pack grinders earning a little on the side to the full-blown professionals: A sportsbook deposit is an investment. Before making an investment to any online sportsbook, a player should consider the following:

How long has the sportsbook been in business?

Many sportsbooks pop up on the grid each year. Sportsbooks aiming to serve US customers typically surface prior to football season. These sportsbooks are at a disadvantage as they are attempting to drum up business in a tight, highly competitive market. To counter the reluctance players have trying out a new sportsbook, these companies usually promise to give away the farm - reduced juice, big starter bonuses plus reload incentives. The best measuring stick a player can use to gauge the safety of an operation is TIME. Any sportsbook can have a successful quarter or year; but can the sportsbook maintain a high level of service, fast payouts and good customer service season after season, year after year? SBR advises players to stick with online bookmakers that have been in business for a minimum of five years.

Are there any serious outstanding claims against the sportsbook?

The value of the internet is how quickly information spreads. A simple Google search of a company often yields relevant information for the player to consider before making his decision to play with an online sportsbook. SBR also provides an outlet for users to discuss sportsbooks without fear of censorship in the Sportsbooks & Industry section at SBR Forum. The SBR sportsbook ratings guide features over 1,000 online bookmakers - from various countries, with different platforms and business models. For a more refined look through bookmakers considered to be among the industry's best, the official sportsbook reviews written by SBR provide thorough operation overviews.

How willing is the sportsbook to discuss disputes with SBR?

A good online sportsbook is no different than any other company in the public eye - they strive to provide good service and to be regarded positively by consumers, knowing that good press leads to more customers, and more customers allow business to grow. One of the aspects that helps shape a sportsbook rating is their communication with SBR. In an industry rife with betting markets, wager types, bonuses and various payout methods, inevitably a dispute will arise where either the player or house is at fault. SBR logs player complaints in its industry news feed and posting forum, giving readers a chance to stay up to date with current online sportsbook news and disputes. Sportsbooks rated B+ and higher have historically been active in discussing disputes with SBR.

Players in need of sportsbook assistance are asked to fill out a sportsbook complaint form. Alternatively, players may reach Sportsbook Review by writing to or dialing 1-830-255-4677 seven days a week during normal business hours.

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