On March 1, 2011, Bodugi was officially founded by professional gambler Dave Nevison. It was a pioneer, the first of its kind and a unique blend of sports betting and social media with an aim to capture a more casual, novice type of player. The site featured chat and leader boards, lobby, social media integration, and even private betting tables. These innovations caused some buzz and many had high hopes for the future of Bodugi.
However, just a few years later this buzz faded, and the book was in dire straits, receiving attention for all the wrong reasons.
Free Bets, New Format Lure in Players
Bodugi relied on a few things to get started: its fresh betting platform, a social media effect, and a few modest offers to entice players to give the site a try.
Bodugi didn’t offer lucrative bonuses or sign up offers, but it did have a free no deposit bet of £5 as well as other offers ranging up to £25 in free plays. Undoubtedly, some of the customers who took advantage of the free £5 no deposit bet ended up making a real money deposit later. The combination of the social betting concept and the free bet attracted recreational players.
Getting an account set up was never an issue, but over time withdrawing any winnings was becoming a significant problem for several Bodugi clients.
Suspension and Loss of UK Gaming License
Reports of slow and no-pays from Bodugi started piling up in early 2014 and with angry customers having trouble getting their money out, an investigation was started by the UK Gambling Commission. On February 21, 2014 news broke that the Commission was temporarily suspending Bodugi’s license pending further review. The Bodugi website went down and was replaced with a generic “down for maintenance” message.
On April 14, 2014 Sportsbook Review (SBR) reported the grim news that the Commission was now taking away Bodugi’s already suspended gaming license. Having been embarrassed by debacles at both Canbet and Globet, which cost angry players almost a million dollars in losses, the Gambling Commission had to step up and take decisive action on Bodugi. One of the reasons cited in the loss of license was a failure to respond to the review and work with officials in sorting the mess out.
BetButler Acquisition Causes Further Trouble
There is nothing worse for a player than waiting for a payout from an online bookie. It’s hard enough to beat the odds and scrape out some wins, and then to have your money held hostage through no fault of your own is a slap in the face.
With its license suspended, Bodugi was forced to explore other options, one of which was the sale of the company to another bookmaker.
On March 11, 2014 news broke that BetButler was acquiring Bodugi’s assets, including player information in the Bodugi database. BetButler would also assume all of Bodugi’s liabilities. Players were relieved to see this news as it gave them a possible path to finally being paid in full after weeks of waiting.
However, this relief was short lived. Surprisingly, the BetButler buyout came with a stipulation that all Bodugi player balances must be wagered 1x at +100 (even money) or rollover before a cash out would be considered.
The 1x rollover isn’t ideal, but it is a much better situation than many other bettors find themselves in when a book goes bust. The problem lied with the book where players were sending their funds.
BetButler has also run into issues of its own, with rumors circulating about the viability of its Gaming License going forward. The company has been slow to make good on its debts to former Bodugi customers.
Innovation Often Comes With Risk
Innovations are always welcome in the sports betting world, especially online where competition is fierce. Ideas such as in-play betting, betting exchanges and many others have revolutionized the customer experience for the better. Bodugi was a failed attempt further to change the landscape.