Not content to simply scam players from one country, or one continent, at a time, the owners of sports books PulseBet and SynBet attempted to be a bit creative and used similar betting software and customer service contact numbers, but operated under the same umbrella. These seemingly distinct sites were really one scam in the same. Unfortunately, with both books being so new, there was not a lot of time for players to figure out that this was happening. Savvy bettors normally use some caution when depositing with newer books, but savvy players also are usually some of the hardest to scam.
That said, sharp players know that if something is too good to be true, it probably is, but being gamblers like the rest of us, sometimes even smart players will roll the dice and try to strike while the iron is hot, before the books figure out their lines are off or something else is amiss. Scam outfits such as Synbet/Pulsebet obviously try to play on this very human emotion of greed that sometimes creeps in and causes bad decisions even from seasoned handicappers.
Pulsebet focused on attracting players from the Eurozone, while Synbet recruited bettors in the USA. This is a common tactic amongst scam books, but in most cases the books simply have various skins that target players from across the world. Syn/Pulsebet was a bit unique in that Synbet purported to be “only for Americans” and Pulsebet “only for Europeans” when in reality they were both working in tandem to steal funds. It would have been difficult, though not impossible, to figure this out in the early days of the scam, which caused many players to make deposits they would never see returned, even if they never lost a bet.
Was TheRx Duped, Or Complicit In This Scam?
Popular betting forum TheRx played a central role in the Syn/Pulsebet scam, and it is open to debate whether TheRx was complicit or simply deceived by Syn/Pulsebet like so many others.
The drama started off on 8/16/2011 when Rx poster wilheim (a poster with over 75,000 posts on TheRx as of April 9, 2012) proudly announced a deal with Synbet to become a Platinum Sponsor of the forums. In the first post in one of their forum threads, there were multiple spelling mistakes, which should always raise a red flag, although I suppose it is the Internet where anything goes.
Many posters in the next few days flooded the thread, commenting on how many props Synbet offers and the posters seemed very excited to deposit and start playing. There was even a joke as to whether “Synbad” owns the site. Things went fine for a few days, before poster boxcardrew simply asked if Synbet is Pulsebet. However, this very thoughtful (especially looking back) question was roundly ignored, and just hours after that question was posted, an Rx member using the handle SYNbet popped up in the thread, horrible spelling and grammar in tow. This poster was essentially a shill for the scam operation, and he boasted that Synbet would “do our best to have the fastest payouts in the industry!”
More and more players started to get excited as SYNbet touted a new betting exchange coming soon to Synbet, as well as a revolutionary idea where gamblers get paid out more if they beat the spread by a wider margin. Players asked if Synbet would be offering various props for football season, and were greeted with this hilarious reply from SYNbet himself:
“We are taking bets on everything, as long as you have the balls to bet on it”.
If that isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is. It is unprofessional to say the least, and downright insane to trust anyone who makes these claims in public before doing your own research.
Players continued to be excited about this new book, all the while replies from both SYNbet and wilheim rolled in with their usual poor grammar and spelling throughout. Again, very unprofessional. One player posted on 8/20/2011, thanking the book for their fast payouts. The posts kept going until 8/22/2011 and then there was a long period when no one posted in the thread. Finally, on 11/3/2011, a poster came in and told the world he will be pulling all funds from offshore books.
Another poster looked back at the player who claimed to receive a “fast payout” and realizes what had happened. It was all a setup, a scam. Of course by now, there was no sign of either SYNbet or wilheim. SYNbet still has a signature on the forums touting a “Special TheRx Offer: 30% First Deposit Cash Bonus up to $250. Code: THERX250.” It is a disgrace that TheRx still has not banned SYNbet or at least changed his under-title and/or signature to reflect his scamming nature. This is why I suggest the debate is still open as to whether TheRx knowingly took funds from a scam book and then promoted it on their own forums.
Voided and Missgraded Wagers Changed To A Loss, Other Bets “Missgraded,” And A Sportsbook Advising Players To Break The Law?!
SYNbet was not even original with all of its scam book tactics. One that is often used, even sometimes by books that actually pay winners, is the old trick of freerolling players. In the case of one player, it did not matter how much work he did to ensure this would not happen. The player detailed in the link placed a fairly large wager on an NHL game, and then went right into the live chat to make sure his bet actually went through, since it was getting close to faceoff.
Some books do cut off all bets 5 minutes before the actual start time, so it appears the player was simply making sure his bet was actually accepted. The player was told the bet was unfortunately not able to be processed and had been voided. This was reflected in his account balance which was updated back to its original state. After the game, nothing fishy had happened. However, later on that day, his account was a lot lower than it should have been, and in the exact amount of the bet ($1999.99 in this case). SYNBet decided to “reinstate” this bet, and in a strange coincidence, the bet was a loser! Imagine that.
The next trick used, however, seems to be pretty unique to Synbet. In a forum post dated 10-11-2011, poster BCampbell details a few new wrinkles at the scam operation known as SYNbet. SYNbet apparently sent an email to customers letting them know that all bets would be reviewed “due to a large amount of event start date issues and missgraded bets.” Of course, this was just a front for the real motive, namely that SYNbet was broke or unwilling to pay, and thus all of these reviewed bets caused withdrawal delays.
Deposits were obviously still being accepted, as were wagers, which is a bit suspicious but nothing new. Scam books are always happy to accept your money, but when the time comes to pay the piper, mysterious “issues” seem to creep up. On a somewhat funny note, in that same thread, there are details explaining how SYNbet also advised players to basically rip off credit card companies and dispute charges that were made when customers deposited to the book. Looking back, it is clear as day that all signs always pointed to this book being a huge joke and just another run of the mill scam operation.
This Scam Did Not Have Staying Power
Luckily, for sports bettors, this scam did not have much lasting power. Even in the area of stealing players’ funds, Pulsebet/Synbet was pretty much a failure. They would have been able to steal a lot more had they actually had the “balls” (or, money) to pay out at least some withdrawals, but it appears as quickly as this book popped up, it also disappeared. Both www.pulsebet.com and www.synbet.com are no longer active . This debacle goes to show that some sites seem to be operating simply to make money, while others are a lot more honest and actually care about customers’ funds, both on the sportsbook side as well as the forums side online. Honest and legitimate books do not run around boasting about their books’ strong points while at the same time using poor English and lots of exclamation points. Honest and legitimate forums do not allow scams such as Pulsebet and Synbet to become “Platinum” sponsors. Luckily, we can give many kudos to SBR in this case for staying on the ball and putting customers first.