Online gambling has grown from a handful of places in the ‘90s to hundreds of global companies serving millions of customers. However, with this huge growth, also comes the possibility of less than reputable sportsbooks, casinos, and poker rooms that for any number of reasons simply close up shop and disappear. Here at the Off Shore Gaming Association (OSGA), we rate sportsbooks mainly on their ability to pay winning players. After all, what good is winning if you can’t get paid?

There are hints that a sportsbook may be in trouble, and when these signs are present, it’s time to grab your cash on move on, before it’s too late!

Let’s take a look at some signs that your sportsbook may be in trouble.

Slow Pay

Most every sportsbook can pay customers around the world in just a few days. When we get reports of players owed money for three weeks and up to three months, we start to worry that the place they are playing at is not just underfunded, but in danger of going out of business. If players can’t get paid, they will leave in droves, tell their friends, post on Facebook, and soon any slow paying operation will be in BIG trouble.

Blaming Payout Delays on a Third Party

We hear all the time that people are being slow-paid because of “processing problems.” While it is true that sending money back to U.S. players is difficult, the most reputable places get money out the door despite problems with their money sending companies. The size of the company you are playing with matters, as there is an inherent problem with smaller companies sending payouts.

Most of the sportsbooks use the same processing companies. There aren’t many that are willing to send money back to the United States. The big sportsbooks, like YouWager and most of the sportsbooks OSGA rates as Elite, take up a vast amount of the check writing, bank wire, and MoneyGram payout transactions that the handful of third-party processors can provide. So, smaller books have to get in line and wait. Then their payouts get backlogged and then slow pay starts. Despite this, even the smallest reputable outfit can still get a payment out within a week or so.

New Huge Bonus Offers

If a sportsbook’s regular offer is a 100% bonus and then it jumps to 200%, there may be cause for concern. Most reputable places will have an offer for Super Bowl or March Madness, but these specials run for a few days or a week and aren’t their “new” bonus offers. Sudden, dramatic changes in a sportsbook bonus policy could signal a last-ditch effort to shore up the books, or, even worse, a cash grab before disappearing.

Combination Bonuses

In our 19+ years we have repeatedly seen that a place in trouble will offer huge bonuses, free half points, reduced juice, and even free payouts all for one deposit! These are all BIG items that affect a sportsbook’s bottom line and profitability but often suck in unsuspecting clients. It’s the combination of these offers that is the killer for many smaller operations. When something looks too good to be true, it usually is, especially in the offshore sportsbook world.

Lack of Communication

In today’s day and age, there are many ways to keep in touch with players. If the sportsbook you are playing at suddenly takes a long time to answer an email or the phone rings and rings, there’s likely a problem. Sportsbooks that appear to be avoiding their own players are doing it for a reason, and this is a huge cause for concern.

Players who see any of these signs should immediately check with OSGA and around the internet to see if these “warning signs” are an indication of a larger problem. The #1 thing players can do is sign up at only Elite-rated sportsbooks. These are companies that have been in business a very long time, exhibit none of these warning signs, and have weathered the worst storms that the gambling sphere has endured over the last 20 years.

By Jim Quinn, CEO, Off Shore Gaming Association (