Sportsbook.com, the US-owned and US-facing online betting site that was sold back to its original owner for $10 following passage of the UIGEA in 2006, has been in the news of late for cancelling $26k won by a player accused of violating Sportsbook.com’s multiple accounts policy. The player was identified as operating from an IP and billing address belonging to a player who’d previously made an $800 chargeback and was subsequently banned. Player advocates SportsBookReview.com (SBR) have investigated the situation, and have “concluded that Sportsbook.com’s actions were justified” in this case.
The above case is a good example of how industry watchdogs like SBR perform an invaluable service on behalf of players and boost the overall credibility of the online gambling industry. After all, SBR can hardly be described as being in Sportsbook.com’s pocket, having currently assigned them a D- rating and left them on their ‘blacklist’ of dodgy sports betting sites. But in this case, SBR called it like they saw it, and they saw Sportsbook.com doing the right thing.
Hopefully, this case is an indication that Sportsbook.com intends to extend this ‘do the right thing’ mentality to their rearview mirror. We are, of course, referring to the correlated parlay fiasco of 2007. In that case, Sportsbook.com retroactively cancelled over $200k worth of bets owed to 30+ players who’d placed (and won) correlated parlay bets on the site over a period of six weeks at the start of that year’s football season.
The justification offered for reneging on their promise to pay was that these players had cheated by exploiting a ‘loophole’ in Sportsbook.com’s software. But aggrieved players immediately pointed out that there was no real flaw in Sportsbook.com’s software, more like an ill-conceived strategy on what type of bets they chose to allow. As SBR’s Bill Dozer observed at the time, it was preposterous to think that Sportsbook.com could “wait for the result of the wager and then decide which subjective rules to apply and how. If you take a bet, you pay the bet, nothing else is acceptable.”