The trendy thing to do if you’re an offshore sportsbook is to refund wagers to customers who suffered an extraordinarily awful bad beat on a sporting event.
Then, you release a quote, something like: “Nobody deserves to lose that way. We’re refunding all bets!”
The media will then run with the story and commend the sportsbook for having “high integrity.” The sportsbook in turn receives a ton of favorable publicity. Then, sports bettors—or potential future clients—spend all day celebrating how awesome the charitable sportsbook is.
“Wow,” the reaction often goes. “That’s the type of sportsbook I want to bet with!”
In the aftermath of Monday night’s controversial Packers-Seahawks game, much has already been written about Sportsbook.com’s decision to refund money to Packers bettors.
From the NY Times’ original story:
“The site, Sportsbook.com, sent e-mails to bettors who had put money on Green Bay, alerting them to the unusual decision that their bets would be refunded in the form of a free play on the site. At least one bettor, writing on a Twitter account said to be that of the Canadian journalist Glen McGregor, posted a picture of his computer screen showing the message and quoted the Web site’s head oddsmaker, Russ Candler, as saying, ‘I can’t stand winning unfairly.’”
However, an offshore source told BTB that Sportsbook’s promotion isn’t what it seems. In reality, the US-facing brand is different than the Global brand. The refunds, the source said, were not being offered to US customers.
As you might expect, the overwhelming majority of action was placed by US players. And, as you might expect, nobody from Sportsbook.ag has made an attempt to clarify that the promotion isn’t what it seems.
“Although the US brand is getting all the credit, they didn’t refund anything,” the source told BTB. “The Global book only refunded a handful of bets.”
A representative at Sportsbook.ag confirmed that Sportsbook Global serves European customers, and that the promotions for European and US-based customers are entirely different. In other words, if you’re a US-based customer who bet on the Packers, you aren’t entitled to the refund.
We sent out a tweet this afternoon asking US Sportsbook.ag clients if they had received a refund. Not a single person provided proof that they had.
Instead, the typical response has been something like this:
@beyondthebets I spoke to them personally, they graded the wagers per the result and will NOT issue a refund.
— SKWIRL TOO THREE (@Skwirl23) September 25, 2012
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UPDATE (10:20 a.m. PT): The NY Times story has since been updated.
The site, Sportsbook.ag, sent e-mails to some bettors — believed to be customers outside the United States — who had put money on Green Bay, alerting them to the unusual decision that their bets would be refunded in the form of a free play on the site.