Scam Sportsbook: GetaBet

GetaBet Hybrid Concept

GetaBet sportsbook offers what is supposedly the best of both worlds: The convenience and ease of online betting combined with a credit line traditionally offered by illegal street bookies. Essentially GetaBet is run like a street bookie that has a website. There are clear and obvious risks that make GetaBet anything but a sure bet for players.

The site, which first started taking bets in 1999, offers new players a no strings attached line of credit to get started. Players only need to follow a few steps to sign up and send in a copy of their ID for verification (much more on this later).[1]

They are then granted access to $1,000 in wagering funds upon sign-up. At the end of the week, which for GetaBet is late Sunday night, player balances are then determined, and anyone who is down $300 or more has to deposit funds to bring the account back in good standing. The same rule applies for winners. Anyone up by $300 or more can withdraw money for that week. This seems simple enough to understand. Customers also have the option of depositing money up front and playing for 100% cash instead of credit.

The Obvious Issue: Deadbeat Players

Right away the problem is obvious. What happens when players don’t pay? GetaBet doesn’t run anyone’s credit or check references. You sign up, scan an ID and bet. GetaBet has a very straightforward and highly questionable way of handling this issue.

Before we take a look at how that is handled, let’s read directly from GetaBet’s privacy policy:

“Our policy at GetaBet is that all personal information you provide, such as your name, postal address, e-mail address, telephone number, and credit card number is private and confidential. Your personal information is stored in a secure location and is accessible only by designated staff. All information is for internal purposes only, including the information our web site tracks concerning visits.”[2]

Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Most sites have policies such as this to protect players. The problem with GetaBet is that they go totally against the stated policy with their outrageous “Deadbeat Scum” list. This list is in capital letters and bold so it stands out on the website. There are two types of “Deadbeats” listed. Deadbeat scum and regular deadbeats. The scum are players who won and collected, and then lost and did not settle up. Regular deadbeats lost and didn’t pay.

Clicking through, we find row after row of photos. These photos are obviously copied and pasted directly from player IDs. So it seems there is a string attached after all when you sign up. Scanning your ID is not truly for verification, as much as for the site to use later on to publicly humiliate players who don’t pay.

As bad as it is to have the photos, the information listed below the pictures is what is disturbing. GetaBet lists the player’s full name, email address and home state! This is mostly just a scare tactic meant to deter others from becoming a deadbeat, even though the site’s own privacy policy expressly prohibits it. It is a giant violation of privacy, and just because someone does not pay does not give the site the right to publish sensitive customer data. The only possible argument would be that players who don’t settle up are no longer customers and no longer have protection under the policy.

Of course, no one is arguing that players should stiff sportsbooks. Betting and not paying your debts is obviously wrong, and without losers that pay, the industry would quickly die out. But the world has moved beyond tactics like this. Right or wrong, the book has to expect this and see it coming from a mile away. There are other ways to make sure players are more likely to pay, such as operating solely as a post-up shop, which most offshore sites are.

This is just a huge breach of trust, and it is highly unprofessional. It gives off the feel that if you don’t pay, someone might show up at your front door. There are many reasons players may not be able to pay. Yes, the site gives 30 days to make good, but still, there is no excuse. Credit wagering encourages customers to go overboard because the money doesn’t seem real until it is time to pay, but often by then it is too late. Publicly shaming bettors who fail to pay is no way for a sportsbook to act. These disputes should be private and just the cost of doing business from the book’s point of view, similar to shoplifting at retail stores. A certain percentage of players will be dishonest and not pay. That is reality. GetaBet would be better suited trying to improve its processes instead of shaming players.

SBR Curiously Leaves Players in the Dark on GetaBet

Normally, SportsBook Review (SBR) is a solid place to get information about sportsbooks, but their ratings should still be taken with a grain of salt. They update their ratings quite often and keep a nice blacklist of books to avoid. In this case, SBR is lacking, and it is a bit puzzling. Since GetaBet has been taking bets for 15 years, there should be a long history of things such as ratings upgrades or downgrades and customer complaints or rave reviews. All that exists is one slow pay complaint from 2005.[3] The rating shows no initial letter grade, and no upgrades or downgrades at all. In the complaint SBR lists the site as an F+ but the current rating appears to be a D-.

Something just doesn’t add up. Both GetaBet and SBR are both fully functional and SBR should update its review of GetaBet to better service players.

General Manager Offers Excuse for Slow Pay

In 2003, a player posts to TheRx and claims his deposit bonus was stolen.[4]

The site did not steal the player’s bonus, but there was a mixup because the rollover rules changed. There was a little he said, she said and eventually an agreement was worked out.
In the same thread, a user with the signature of Jake Slater- General Manager mentions that the site was low on funds at Neteller, which was the most popular payment method for online gamblers. He reassures players that the book simply didn’t notice its Neteller balance was low, and they were wiring in more money right away.

This is unacceptable and unprofessional and also likely a lie. Sportsbooks need to have adequate cash on hand and ready to pay to players, especially when there is only one withdrawal per week max. This lack of funds signals cash flow issues, with the growing list of deadbeat players only making matters worse.

There were other slow pay complaints popping up on the web as well, with some reports of payment plans being set up and then not honored by GetaBet for winning players.

Credit Wagering Is Playing With Fire

Despite these issues, GetaBet continues to take action. However, GetaBet is a ticking time bomb and a disaster waiting to happen for sports bettors.

Unless all sports bettors suddenly become perfectly honest, the issue of slow paying or deadbeat customers will always exist at this type of book. This puts a constant strain on cash flow. There is a reason almost all highly reputable books are 100 percent post up. The risks outweigh the rewards.

Wagering on credit is almost never a good idea and adds a layer of shadiness to this book. Other credit based books have come and gone due to lack of funds and general mismanagement. The risks are way too high, and the reward of credit based wagering can ultimately backfire if players aren’t careful. Trust your gut on this one and stay away. Find a reliable, post-up shop and sleep well.

[1] GetaBet Gameplan – Sportsbook
[2] GetaBet Privacy Policy – Sportsbook
[3] SBR Review: GetaBet – Sportsbook Review
[4] GetaBet- Trouble Paying – Forum

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