In one of the least surprising notices of 2013, troubled online bookmaker World Sports Exchange (WSEX) has shut down. A notice posted to WSEX.com on Friday claimed the site had been “forced to halt business activities at this time due to inadequate capitol [sic] resources.” The notice goes on to say that the “financial position of the company is currently under review” and players will be kept informed as to WSEX’s future plans as well as the “repayment or transfer of your balances.”
The notice, signed ‘WSEX Management,’ closes by saying “we sincerly [sic] apologize for this unfortunate situation.” The fact that management couldn’t publish 73 words without making two typos is indicative of the lackadaisical approach to customer service WSEX had adopted over the past few years. That said, the original notice said the company “sinisterly” apologized, which was perhaps too Freudian a slip to remain online for long, even for WSEX.
WSEX was one of the first sportsbooks to start offering services online back in the 1990s, but everything went south after the site’s early success imbued CEO Jay Cohen (pictured right) with so much hubris that he voluntarily returned to the United States to fight federal charges relating to WSEX’s dealings with US punters. To the surprise of absolutely no one except Cohen, he was convicted and served 17 months in federal prison. However, Cohen’s stint in stripes did little to dent his misguided sense of invincibility, as he was soon boasting to CNBC reporters that he was still actively involved in WSEX’s operations, despite his parole conditions forbidding such activity.
In recent years, you couldn’t swing a dead cat in an online betting forum without hitting someone complaining about WSEX taking up to 18 months to process withdrawals or simply ignoring such requests altogether. It’s difficult to tell exactly what WSEX’s “review” of its financial position will conclude beyond ‘we’re broke.’ Given the backlog of unpaid punters, the likelihood of any sportsbook coming to WSEX’s rescue – such as the situation involving recently indicted online sportsbook Legends Sports – is a dubious proposition. The only likely positive to come from WSEX admitting the jig is up will be the same kind of relief one feels when a comatose patient is removed from life support. It should have happened years ago.