While we’re wagering online, it is easy to forget how tough it is to run a successful internet sportsbook. Many bettors may be mentally picturing the oddsmakers as a bunch of wealthy cigar-smoking villains, but often this could not be further from the truth.
In fact, most of these guys are mere entrepreneurs, trying to succeed in an industry that regularly chews up its participants and spits out the remains. Running an online bookmaker is a tough job. The knowledge needed to run a large outfit is vast, as are the towering coffers of cash which are required if the oddsmakers are to have a genuine shot at success.
Even with these advantages, success is hardly assured, and shops go broke all the time. The high failure rate is partly why we urge bettors to find a bookmaker that has longevity in its favor.
Mobibet Sportsbook and Casino was established in January 2014, and uses its recreational focus and strong mobile facilities to suck in international customers – the bookmaker does not accept players from the United States. However, it took just two months for the company’s name to be appearing on numerous sportsbook blacklists.
Strong Signs Early
The Mobibet bookmaker targets recreational users and has a particularly heavy focus on mobile wagering.
It all started so promisingly for Mobibet, as well. Its platform excited affiliates early on, and the company seemed keen to engage with customers (both present and potential) on the GPWA Forum. While affiliate discussions have little to do with the company’s scam operations, it’s interesting to see how their representative fields questions from other posters in that thread.
If you read the early parts of the thread, affiliates express their praise for the program. Mobibet is a part of the Active Wins program, which seems to be relatively trustworthy when it comes to payments. They have a considerable stable of online bookmakers available for promotion, and the roster includes companies like the respected English-based bookie BetFred, iPoker powerhouse Poker770 and a number of other high profile names.
In fact Mobibet seems to have close ties to BetFred, so it is easy to see how bettors and affiliates alike could be interested in promoting them early-on. However, not all is as it may seem on the surface. BetFred and Mobibet may share the same affiliate program, but the owners are decidedly different. In fact, no one is sure who truly owns Mobibet.
Mobibet boasts lower limits compared to many of their competitors, especially in European markets. This leaves them more vulnerable to other books when they get hit by sharp action. Like many books, they’re quick to limit and ban bettors who beat them for big money. So far, so predictable.
However, Mobibet’s practices go far beyond the normal procedure of cutting a player’s limits, or telling them to move onto another book. Instead, they resort to outright cheating, stripping customers of legitimate bonus payments.
We started to hear of complaints against Mobibet as early as March 2014 – just a few months after they had opened their doors. This wasn’t a good sign, and even those initial allegations were pretty damning.
Mobibet alleged that a large number of players had cleared their bonus through non-recreational means. This tactic is commonly used by scam sportsbooks when they wish to confiscate the winnings that a bettor has run up through a deposit or reload bonus. If we look at their terms and conditions, their bonus rollover requirements are nearly impossible not to break, and that’s even if you’re aware of them.
Here’s the excerpt from their terms and conditions page, which discuss bonus rollover and requirements:
“Use of the bonus is subject to our review for irregular playing patterns. To ensure fair gaming and the proper use of bonuses, this includes any of the following actions, but are not limited to:
Low margin betting
Zero risk betting
Placing single or multiple bets to a value of 50% of the original amount in the bonus account, when the bonus account is initially opened on any wager. (For clarity, if you deposit 200 Euros and you receive a 100% bonus of a further 200 Euros, the maximum wager you can bet on ANY bet whilst using your bonus account, and until your bonus account is turned over, is 200 Euros. If you deposit 50 Euros and receive a 50 Euro bonus, then your maximum stake allowed on any bet until the funds are released is 50 Euros). For further clarity, this only applies to funds in your bonus account, and not to funds in your real money account
Changing play patterns (bet size, game types, bet structures etc) in order to meet the bonus release requirements
Placing large bets which result in a substantial gain followed by a drop in bet size equal to or more than 50% of the previous average bet size until the bonus requirements have been met. (For example, if your first bet(s) are in the region of 150-200 Euros, and then you change to less than 75 Euros per average bet thereafter)”
Rollover requirements and restrictions as stringent as these will have just one purpose – to furnish the company with an excuse to void the player’s winnings, assuming a profit has been made from the deposit bonus. There’s no way that anyone could possibly follow all those rules.
As of March 14, 2014, SBR had received over 22 complaints, totaling more than €30,000 of funds in limbo at Mobibet. Originally, management had little patience with these complaints, and insisted that all of the accused players had broken their bonus terms and conditions. SBR convinced them to look at the accounts again, and after a second look, they did decide that three out of the 22 accounts would have their balances paid in full. They gave no explanation for their reasoning regarding these specific accounts. SBR also discovered they had retroactively updated their terms and conditions in order to justify these account seizures.
Not so shockingly, where Mobibet had settled up, the accounts were mostly those with the smallest balances. The only discernible difference was the amount bet and won, and supposedly relevant factors like wagering patterns and bet types didn’t seem to figure in their decision-making process.
It is worth noting that, before these players had requested payouts, none of them had been flagged or been told that they were breaking any rules. Their accounts were in good standing, and there was no reason whatsoever to suspect foul play.
Mobibet was perhaps a sportsbook with admirable intentions in the beginning, but their theft of player’s winnings puts them firmly in the “sportsbooks to avoid” category. The bookmaker may be in financial trouble, despite claims by one of their owners that they intend to become one of the best in the industry. With plenty of other great options available to bettors – many of them in regulated markets – there is no reason to waste your time thinking about Mobibet.