Sportsbook Scam: Bet33 and the RDG Corporation
Most of our scam sportsbook articles consist of a long list of reasons to avoid said online bookmakers. Our approach is a bit different in this article. While Bet33 and the RDG Corporation haven’t had many payout complaints in the past several years, their company history suggests that bettors should exercise extreme caution when using this family of sportsbooks.
History Repeats Itself
“History repeats itself”, as the old saying goes. That statement couldn’t be any truer when it comes to online sports betting.
Ownership groups who have ripped off players once before, always need to be watched carefully. Just about every bookmaker can pay players in a timely fashion when things are going well. It’s the operators that run off with player funds at the first sign of trouble that bettors need to be worried about.
To begin the story of RDG Corporation and the formation of Bet33, we head back to 2004. The years between 2003 and 2006 were glorious for online gambling markets in the United States. This prime period would meet with a spectacular end in 2006, as the UIGEA legislation criminalized overseas and offshore operators.
However, the three years that led up to 2006 have come to represent the golden age of internet gaming – in all its forms – in the United States. Those who ripped off bettors back then can never be fully trusted because they were working in the best climate in history for online sports betting.
Just such a person is Robbie McPhail, owner of Apex Sportsbook and the RDG Corporation. Sportsbook Review is best at chronicling the closure and formation of Bet33. McPhail had a clear understanding of internet marketing, which allowed him to climb to the top of the search engines. He also promised super-fast cashouts and large deposit bonuses.
While McPhail was an accomplished internet marketer, his sportsbook management skills were severely lacking. Apex’s finances fell by the wayside after just a few months of operating. They closed up shop and left players out in the cold. The full amount owed to players was not known at the time, but it has been estimated to add up to several hundred thousand dollars.
Imitations and the Formation of Bet33
Soon after the closure of Apex, McPhail began to open imitation sportsbooks of popular brands, hosting them on similar sounding domains, and intending to lure unsuspecting bettors into depositing. This ruse worked to perfection early on, but soon sportsbook watchdog sites, like SBR, caught onto these schemes.
However, most of the funds taken from players at the closure of Apex went to form a new bookmaker by the name of Bet33.
The book premiered in 2005, about a year after the closure and subsequent loss of player funds at Apex. Many of the customers at Bet33 were themselves former Apex customers because McPhail used his previous mailing list to contact new players.
This, of course, is a classless move by McPhail, Bet33, and RDG. They were siphoning even more money from a group of customers that they had already screwed out of their bankrolls. However, this story has a happier ending than some might think.
Repayment and Path to Trust
Shockingly enough, since Bet33’s inception in 2005, no payout complaints have been issued by bettors. More impressively, several years later Apex players began receiving repayment for their lost balances.
According to SBR, a player who filed with them received a payment as late as June, 2011. Resolved complaints at SBR don’t prove that all players have been paid, but McPhail and other members of RDG management have reached out, asking for players with unpaid balances to come forward.
Soon afterwards, SBR upgraded their rating to C- and removed them from the blacklist. They have since downgraded Bet33 to D+ again, but SBR still seem convinced the bookmaker is headed down the right path – we’re not so sure.
A quick look at RDG Corp’s homepage gives bettors the illusion of a professional image. The company claims to have provided “safe and reliable services” to the offshore gambling industry since 1996. They offer a large list of services, including pay-per-head software for land based bookies.
Their brands (with web addresses) are listed on their homepage, which makes it simple to know which sites to avoid. Even with the strong press, and the removal of Bet33 from the blacklist, this company still finds itself in trouble.
In 2012, one of their properties, BetJambo.com, was again caught misleading players. They told players that they had a B rating from SBR on their homepage, but this was another deception tactic. As of 2014, all RDG Corp properties have a D+ rating, at best, from SBR. Even Bet33, with its strong record in regards to payouts, has this rating.
Are We Being Too Tough on RDG?
Apparently, RDG Corp thinks the industry hasn’t been too nice to them. While their claim that they have paid their debts since 2005 is likely true, it doesn’t absolve them of blame when it comes to the Apex debacle.
Also, although they claim that all their debts have been paid since the Apex closure, this is not necessarily the case. All complaints to SBR have been paid, but players may have lost out on their balances because they thought the funds were lost for good. Not all bettors would have been aware of the existence of community sites like SBR, and so many may not have even bothered to try and reclaim apparently lost cash.
Even if all of these players were eventually paid in full, the company still cannot be trusted. They continue to regularly mislead players into depositing. Also, while there are paying players who request withdrawals, their payouts remain quite slow compared to the industry standard.
In particular, the ownership group can’t be trusted in today’s online betting climate, especially where US citizens are the targets. There are so many other options, even in the somewhat shaky US betting market. The risk of the company running off with funds if things go wrong is still quite high, particularly when compared to the countless other bookmakers who have never given any indication of foul play.
Sportsbooks servicing US players go down regularly, whether it is for finance reasons, or because of Federal government crackdowns. Sticking with operators who have a long history of excellent service is the way to go. Avoid Bet33 and all RDG Corp gambling sites.