Sportsbook Scam: Blazing Bet
Despite the countless number of times that players have deposited into relatively unknown shops and gotten their money stolen, bettors are still falling for the same tactics. These criminals give the offshore industry (and the sports betting industry as a whole) a bad name. Blazing Bet is a perfect example.
Blazing Bet was started by people who had spent time working in the offshore industry, but it is unclear if these guys simply failed from a business perspective, or whether their goal from the beginning was to scam players outright. Few new offshore operators succeed for a variety of reasons, but the team at Blazing Bet looks to have a long history of scamming players.
Not on SBR’s Radar
The vast majority of scam sportsbooks we cover at SBO are rated and indexed by Sportsbook Review. In this case, the industry’s largest sportsbook review website did not have BlazingBet.eu as part of their ratings database.
SBR originally learned of the shop’s activities from a poster at SBR Forum. Veteran posters will realize rather quickly that the pro-Blazing Bet-related posts in this thread should be taken with a grain of salt.
There are an extremely high number of members who have written fewer than 10 posts during their time on the forum. Not surprisingly, the majority of those posters are highly favorable towards Blazing Bet, often endorsing deposits with the sportsbook. While there’s no obvious proof, it’s likely these posters were “shills”, and were simply company employees posing as players.
This is an all too common tactic of scam sportsbooks to drive players to their properties. Sadly, some sports bettors can be impulsive or impatient when it comes to wagering. A random endorsement from a member with a low post count may be all that’s needed to persuade them to deposit. Obviously, this is a dangerous way to bet sports online, and will often result in funds falling into the hands of poor operators.
With that said, we can understand the temptation. Blazing Bet was offering players a 100% cash bonus on all deposits. Many bettors also recognized some of their managers from previous sites, including BetUS. Many trusted these guys and took their word on the new sportsbook.
Some posters in the thread also noted that they had received a payout already. Even members with higher post counts reported receiving small amounts. Still, that has little meaning, especially when it comes to newer sportsbooks. It’s easy to pay out smaller amounts early, before then stiffing bigger players further down the line.
Blazing Bet’s bonus offer was especially lucrative. A 100% cash bonus with a 8x rollover for every deposit was an excellent deal. However, offering a bonus is one thing. Actually paying those players when they have completed their rollover is a different ballgame.
An SBR member again posted information regarding a no-deposit bonus that he ran up to a whopping $10,000. The player says he had already received $1,800 of the payout, and expected to get all of it in time. But as the thread continues, it becomes apparent that he’s unlikely to get full payment.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. Most sportsbooks, especially those in the US market, probably couldn’t survive paying out $10k to no-deposit bonus players. Therefore, Blazing Bet is either an outright scam, or a sportsbook whose finances will soon be on the rocks.
Experienced players and industry experts would agree that the likelihood of Blazing Bet being a scam operation was extremely high. While SBR had still not added the sportsbook to their rating list, the complaints in threads about the book were numerous.
Still, the sportsbook was making at least some of their payments. That is, until things got out of hand, and Blazing Bet was left with a lot of angry customers, and with no money to pay them.
Closure and Just4Bettors
This OSGA news article sheds some light on Blazing Bet’s origins and closure. It also touches on the problem that bettors have with trusting new sportsbooks in the offshore industry. Blazing Bet was originally started by former BetUs employees. They then drummed up custom for the new book by contacting many of those who had been BetUS customers.
OSGA first received complaints in March, 2013, and the book was closed by mid-May of the same year. The sportsbook was actually a bit larger than most had thought, and owed several players five-figure balances. One customer was owed as much as $30k. As the Blazing Bet ship went down, the company used several tactics (such as changing domain names) to disguise themselves, hoping to keep the scam going until things got too miserable to continue.
After they announced their closure, they referred players to a pay-per-head shop called Just4Bettors. This ruse only lasted a few more weeks, as bettors were still not being paid, and soon realized that, like Blazing Bet before it, Just4Bettors had no money.
There was unfortunately no talk of a bailout for Blazing Bets players. The criminals running the company simply cut and run and stiffed their client base. No attempts towards repayment have been made, and emails and phone calls have gone unanswered. Both BlazingBet.eu and .ag are offline, as well as Just4Bettors.
The Problem with New Offshore Sportsbooks
The fiasco at Blazing Bet and the OSGA article written by Jim Quinn offer plenty of reasons to avoid offshore sportsbooks with a limited track record. Such caution should be applied year-round, but bettors should be doubly wary when it comes to sportsbooks that open up just in time for the start of the football season.
Many managers with industry experience start their own shops after several years in the industry. These shops have a limited success rate and are extra-high risk for players. They aren’t doomed to fail, and there are success stories, but these guys often lack the training and know-how of more experienced bookmakers.
Oftentimes, these newer books call up players who were with other shops, trying to attract their business by slamming the older sportsbooks. This works especially well if their old employer went under and stole funds from players. They can tell bettors how terrible the old sportsbook was, and how their new shop will be different.
Of course, what bettors don’t know is that many of these shops are run by the same people. These guys also lack the experience to run a book by themselves. Their exposure is often too large, and they lack the financial backing required to survive a rough patch.
It’s obvious to most gamblers that sportsbooks do beat the masses in the long run, but sometimes books can go out of business in just the same way that a bettor can bust their bankroll. This is even more likely if the shop is posting soft lines, or marketing bonus offers that are not financially viable.
As for Blazing Bet, the signs were there from the beginning that these guys were scoundrels, but they did a amiable enough job marketing the book that they managed to stiff players for several hundred thousand dollars. The vast majority of their players were hand-picked from sportsbooks that Blazing Bet management were formerly employed at, but that still wasn’t enough to guarantee their success.
Most of these players were recruited by former-agents and/or managers that dealt with the players previously. Many reported that those that offered the deal had always led them down the right path, and that they trusted them.
Things still didn’t turn out well. Maybe Blazing Bet had the best of intentions, or perhaps their idea was to scam players from the get-go. The reason is irrelevant at this point, but it’s a cautionary tale for players. We all like a good deal, but next time you get that phone call or email from a former manager promoting their new shop, think twice before depositing, no matter how compelling the deal seems.