While online sports betting in the US is not what it was before the passage of the UIGEA in 2006, the industry has had a bit of resurgence in the past few years. This is a marvelous thing for online sports bettors, but it also encourages seedy operators to run their scams.
BTG Global (along with their sportsbook brands of VIPSports.eu, DimeLine.eu, SafariCasino.eu, and WagerUp.eu) are typical of such rogue operators. The brands exhibit the classic characteristics of scam sportsbooks, and are all actively operating as of April 2014. The accusations against BTG Global are numerous. These include slow-pay and no-pay complaints, player intimidation, and the voiding of rightful winnings.
Don’t Be Fooled
We always warn bettors to not judge a book by its cover, and to do their own research when choosing an online bookmaker. After all the complaints we heard regarding BTG Global’s brand, we did some sleuthing of our own regarding their parent company, BTG Global N.V.
At first, I was shocked to see their company’s homepage, because generally, operators that treat their clients like this don’t even have a website. Indeed, seedy bookmaker operators rarely even have a phone number, other than the one given out on their sportsbook page. But, wow, BTG Gaming has a truly impressive, professional looking site.
Their ‘About Us’ page states their values thus: “We highly value integrity, trust, respect, and continuous advancement. We are committed to building strong business relationships with our clients, and will stop at nothing to ensure their happiness.”
They are certainly laying it on thick! The N.V. Company operates under a gaming license in Curacao, which means this sportsbook is, technically, “licensed and regulated.” However, it’s abundantly clear that, based on their conduct, their licensing requirements (or lack thereof) are meaningless.
Despite being added to SBR’s Blacklist in 2010, the company seems to be doing surprisingly well, despite being blacklisted and warned against on sportsbook pages across the web. In fact, they may be borderline thriving with their group of sister sportsbooks.
DimeLine Sportsbook, their flagship property, was rated a D+ in early 2011, when SBR received a complaint about an unpaid withdrawal request totalling almost $3,000. Though this sum was paid four months later, a new complaint had emerged during that timeframe.
A player ran up a balance of $11,883 before DimeLine lowered his limits to $250, and then to $100. Immediately after this final restriction, the player asked for his balance. Though the situation was reported to SBR in March 2011, the exchange between DimeLine and said player dated back to 2009.
DimeLine was able to prove that the player agreed to prorate his account balance, and that he had accepted the amount of $6,891 – although why he was prepared to accept this amount, we don’t know – but the company could offer no proof of payment. Management claimed they had paid the player $2,000 in 2009, which settled the account.
The player alleged that DimeLine sent him two bad checks, even after he agreed to accept the prorated amount. When SBR asked for proof of this transaction, DimeLine could not verify the withdrawal method, nor show any receipt of the transaction.
After over two years of waiting for payment on an original balance of almost $12,000, the player agreed to a $2,000 payout to settle the account. Unbelievably, even this compromise was possible only after SBR had mediated the dispute and worked out a solution by shaming the bookmaker publicly.
Within the next year or so, a flood of complaints came to SBR and other sites regarding payout issues with BTG Global brands. VIP Sports, a defunct company that was bailed out via BTG Gaming, stiffed a player for $6,500 in June, 2013. The problems did not end there.
BTG Gaming, through DimeLine, even stated that players who complain about them on sports betting forums, or to watchdog sites like SBR, would not be “a priority” in terms of withdrawal processing. This was clearly a bullying tactic designed to deter players with higher balances from publicizing their plights, and to force them to accept a prorated amount instead. This is a pathetic and shameless maneuver by management.
2014 BCS and Super Bowl Bonus
This next move by DimeLine and BTG Gaming should be the last straw for anyone who might have considered using this sportsbook. After years of complaints, and a large increase in payout disputes in late 2013 and 2014, both DimeLine and VIP Sports offered promotional reload bonuses for the BCS Championship and the Super Bowl. The bonus offered was a 100% reload up to $500.
A situation like this is why bettors should always be wary of large bonus opportunities. Plenty of reputable bookmakers offer generous bonuses, but in many cases they can be a sign of unhealthy times at a sportsbook. The writing was on the wall with DimeLine for years, at least for sports bettors who were active in online betting communities.
The company did their best to draw in players with the lure of bonuses on two of the most wagered-upon games of the year. These were clearly aimed at players who were not aware of their reputation, customers who they had no intention of paying anyway.
Still in Operation
While the company must surely be running low on players that it can potentially draw in, there are still plenty of bettors out there who are uninformed or just flat out ignorant when it comes to choosing a bookmaker. These players simply wanted to get a bet in on the big game, and expected it to be honored. Unfortunately, they are likely out of luck in collecting their bonus, original deposit, or potential winnings. All it would have taken is 30 seconds of searching on Google to be aware that BTG Global and their properties were scams.
As of now, BTG Global has at least four different sportsbook sites still operating, and quite possibly others besides. Their client list on BTGGaming.com lists nearly two dozen sites that use their software and/or gaming platform. While some of these sites may be just licensing their products, none appear to have a sterling reputation in online gambling markets. We would recommend avoiding every site on the list.