WSEX payments are being processed more quickly but the company still owes $653,000
World Sports Exchange (WSEX), one of the most trustworthy offshore sportsbooks for most of the 2000s ran into payment issues not long after the UIGEA was passed. It’s uncertain what led to the payment issues but around 2008 the company found itself unable to pay players in a reasonable amount of time. In fact the slow pay often went to no pay and some customers still claim they are waiting for payments they requested over a year ago.
WSEX customer service has blamed the slow pay on the inability to secure sufficient payment processors who can issue checks that will be accepted by U.S. banks. As ridiculous as that may sound there may be some merit to their excuse. The country of Antigua effectively became a pariah to the U.S. banking system for 2 main reasons. First, Antigua’s WTO challenge against the U.S. over gambling services caused the USTR to list the country as “rogue” thereby causing U.S. banks to flag transactions from Antigua. Secondly, the failure of Stanford Bank after the SEC charged the company with operating a ponzi scheme had world banks questioning the legitimacy of the Antiguan banking system. Prior to 2007, payments were a fairly moot point to American customers since they predominantly used NETeller for deposits and withdrawals. But once NETeller cut off American customers and once Western Union began to blacklist gambling sites after it was clear the UIGEA was going to demand Western Union to take action, payment options dwindled for American customers to checks cut by 3rd party processors. Not surprisingly those processors could only post so many transactions at a time and some of WSEX’s payment processors, like one in Cyprus ran into trouble with the law, thereby eliminating even more payment options. Moreover, to stave off suspicion the amount for the checks from the processors had to be limited to $3,000.
While that may have accounted for much of the delay there is still suspicion that much of WSEX’s problems lay with bad investments (such as Matchbook and Fantasy Sports Exchange) and there is also speculation that the company lost a lot of money in the Stanford Bank scandal. The company has lowered costs dramatically by cutting staff and consultants and also selling off assets. And there has been a wide spread rumor that customers owed money have become partners in the company in exchange for waving the amounts owed. Many of those partners have also apparently poured money back into WSEX to clear up some of the payments. Sportsbookreview reports that 110 customers are still owed about $653,000 in unprocessed withdrawals but many customers are also saying payments are starting to come in more frequently. In fact one customer owed over $8,000 stated on the posting forums that he received payments for just under $700 each week for the last 2 months. One player that contacted OSGA is approaching a one-year wait on his 2K, but with OSGA involvement, he did get half of that back in November.
Someone close to the company who no longer works there stated that WSEX has set a goal to pay back everyone ASAP. but their primary concern is to ensure that new post-ups get paid first. Consequently newer clients are receiving payments almost immediately while the ones waiting over a year are ‘on the list’ but get delayed if a new post-up requests a payment. Obviously the company realizes that new customers will continue to play and deposit if they’re paid while the ones waiting for months have probably given up on the company and won’t deposit again even if they are paid. The source also said that customers who send requests by other means like NETeller, Moneybookers or Instadebit can get their money quicker since it doesn’t go through 3rd party processors. It’s also an indication those clients aren’t American which could be vital to the company’s future if they ever go the way of The Greek or Pinnacle and cut off American customers.
The news is hardly comforting, and the company surely deserves the D- rating they have currently at SBR and the downgrades from OSGA, but at least there is more hope today than there was even a few months ago.