Over the last few weeks we have gotten complaints on many different sportsbooks regarding payout delays. Unfortunately, in today’s world of offshore wagering, slow payout complaints have become quite commonplace.
The large number of recent complaints has run the gamut of payout methods. Reports of problems with bank wires, checks and even ACH payments have filled our inbox and caused our phones to ring off the hook for days on end. Many of these problems were reported at very legitimate outfits, place that we have rated highly, like YouWager, BetUS and industry giant Bodog. The problems are not isolated to just sportsbooks. We have heard of the exact same problem with online poker rooms, like Full Tilt.
One of the biggest problems is player expectations. Players who have been online for years can remember just a few years back when money moved seamlessly with same day payouts offered at almost every outlet. Players could deposit or withdraw with a simple mouse click via NeTeller, MoneyBookers and other online payment processors. However, since the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, payments have gotten tougher and tougher to send back to US players.
The UIGEA was not written to make US players internet betting illegal, instead it makes it illegal for any company to move money for the purpose of internet gambling. This caused initial problems in ’06 and ’07 that have come and gone sporadically for the last few years. And yet players still don’t seem to understand the difficulties that the UIGEA has presented.
Reputable houses like all of the ones mentioned above want nothing more than to pay players quickly. To do this, online operators will work with just about any establishment that will move the money for them back to the US. These companies quite often are less scrupulous than anyone running a mutli-million dollar operation would want to do business with, but online gambling houses that service US players are left with few options. And quite often, player complaints really lie with these third-party processing companies.
As we have stated in this space before, the biggest complaint is that players feel like they are getting the runaround when they inquire about a late payment. We have seen some of the correspondence and this is a legitimate gripe. But unfortunately, many books are at the mercy of their processor. The check or bank wire do not come from Bodog or BetUS; they can’t simply walk to another department in the building and find out where a payment is. Operators must contact their processors, who will then look into the issue, when they have time, and get back to the operator. Regrettably, there is a bit of a delay in this process and some books can take up to a week or more to find a lost payment.
We have gotten involved in several of these slow pay complaints over the last few weeks. What we have found is very angry players and very frustrated operators. Many of the operators that we have spoken with regarding the recent rash of slow pay reports have told us that quite often, they do not even know that there is a problem until it gets to be a BIG problem. “With wires, we can’t even tell for a week what was sent and what was held up, and check are worse,” reported one operator. OSGA involvement has expedited a handful of claims and players did receive their payouts much more timely once OSGA got involved. But, the anger from players is still significant and does not appear to be going away any time soon.
Threats will not help to get a payout sent any faster. Thought it may be difficult, a player (or an operator) losing their temper does no good in helping to resolve the situation. The #1 thing NOT TO DO is to threaten a charge back. Credit card charge backs are the scourge of the online gaming industry and the mere mention of one will often turn a give-and-take relationship between player and operator into an adversarial one. In addition, threats of posts or reports to local law enforcement will not get a payout sent more quickly. Instead, they make operators very wary of the customer. Another thing not to do is to scream and yell, especially profanities. Good players can easily become ‘problem players’ by venting frustration using four letter words and ethnic slurs.
Players also need to know that it is not necessarily a particular dollar figure that slows down a payment. Commonly we hear “well it’s only $1500 bucks” coupled with “that’s nothing to these guys (offshore).” Volume can be a problem and five or ten $1500 check payouts may become an issue with certain processing companies.
Players who feel that they have exhausted every conventional means of resolution are urged to contact us, BEFORE doing something foolish to further jeopardize a late payout.
We urge players to have a bit of patience. Any place that is rated Premier or Elite by OSGA certainly has the money and the motivation to pay. But, due to the fallout from the UIGEA, now over four years old, paying out and, more importantly, rectifying payout problems, continues to become increasingly difficult for offshore operators.
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