How to Avoid Sports Betting Scams: Tips from the Pros

Avoid Sports Betting Scams

If you’re like most sports fans, you’ve probably considered betting on a game or two. After all, placing a wager can make watching your favorite team that much more exciting! But before you start making any bets, it’s important to understand the risks involved.

According to Morning Consult, the year 2021 saw Americans wager upwards of $52 billion, and the multi-billion dollar industry is only growing. The industry was worth over $200 billion in 2020 and is projected to hit $140 billion by 2028.

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With so much money at stake, it’s no wonder that online sports betting scams are on the rise. So, how can you ensure that you don’t become a victim?

Pro Tips on How to Avoid Falling for Sports Betting Scams

1. Use a Reputable Bookmaker

One of the best ways to avoid being scammed is to use a reputable bookmaker. There are many reliable and trustworthy sports betting sites out there, so do your research before you sign up.

Check for Certification.

Many legitimate bookmakers will have certification from organizations like eCOGRA, which ensures that they meet stringent safety and security standards.

Make sure the site is licensed and regulated by a legitimate governing body. Be wary of sites that don’t have a physical address or contact information listed – these are often scam operations.

You can find this information on their website – often at the bottom of the page – so be sure to look before making your first bet. If there isn’t licensing or accreditation information listed, move along!

Check for Customer Reviews

It would be best if you also read reviews from other users who have used their services and see what they think. If other bettors share more negative than positive experiences, it could be a sign to look elsewhere!

Some of the safest betting sites we have featured include

2. Be Wary of Too-Good-to-be-True Offers

If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is! Be wary of any site that offers unbelievable odds or promises huge payouts without any risk on your part. While some sites may offer 100% cashback on your first game, these businesses are there to make a profit. If you get something like 200% cashback, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.

Credible betting sites don’t need to make outlandish promises to attract customers – they already have a solid reputation and a loyal following.

3. Look into Payment Options

Lastly, take time reviewing payment options when signing up at an online sportsbook site. While most sites accept credit cards and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, some only accept cash deposits or wire transfers. If a site advertises credit card payments but then requests a bank transfer when you’re ready to deposit money, that should be a red flag.

4. Avoid Unregulated Sites

Unregulated sites may offer the opportunity to win big, but you’re risking a lot more than that when you deposit money into such a site.

If the site is not regulated, it means that they aren’t overseen by any authority, meaning there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your money back if something goes wrong. In fact, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get your money back at all.

Stick with regulated sites where your personal information and financial details are encrypted and safe from hackers or other fraudulent activity.

5. Protect Yourself from Phishing Sites

Phishing sites are designed to look like legitimate betting sites, but their goal is only to steal your identity and personal details. To avoid this, always use a secure link when signing up with a new platform, and don’t share any of your personal information until you’re sure that the site is legit.


6. Beware of Free Bets and Bonuses

Many scammers use free bets and other bonuses to lure people into depositing money with them, only to disappear with the cash once they have it. Be very wary of any site that offers too-good-to-be-true bonuses, and always read the small print before accepting any bonus offer.

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7. A $500 Fixed Match Ticket is Fake

Never EVER trust anyone who claims to have a “sure thing” or a “lock” on a sporting event. These types of bets almost always turn out to be scams, so stay away from them!

Yes, match-fixing exists. But given the risk and likely jail term a fixer faces, you’ll hardly see the tickets going for only $500. A recent example of match-fixing was when six people in Britain, including Blackburn forward DJ Campbell, were arrested, and it sent shock waves across Europe. The National Crime Agency made the arrests after the release of a report from FederBet – an organization created by online bookmakers to watch over bets flow within Europe.

Over the past few years, the National Rugby League (NRL) has also been plagued with allegations and investigations into widespread match-fixing activities among its players.

In both cases, however, those arrested or under investigation faced charges ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions and jail terms— clearly way above $500! So stay away from anyone peddling “sure wins” for less than what you’d pay for your wagyu beef.

8. They Require You to Bring Referrals for Bonuses or Payouts

If they ask you to sign up on a specific website or refer them to more customers before they pay you off, chances are, you won’t get paid after doing so.

9. They Don’t Offer an Escrow Service

When you’re making a large bet, it’s important to have some security in case the other party decides not to pay up. Legitimate sports betting sites will have escrow services available, which are third-party organizations that hold onto your money until the wager has been settled.

sports betting scams

If the site you’re using doesn’t offer this service, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

10. Their Customer Support Is Unresponsive or Dishonest

If you ever encounter any problems with your account or have any questions about how the site works, customer support should be there to help. However, if they’re unresponsive, take much longer to get back, or the site doesn’t have customer support, you’re probably dealing with a sports betting scam.

Some of the best sports betting sites have 24/hour customer support by live chat or even phone so that users can get help as soon as possible. If they don’t offer any customer service, it could be because they know that many people will have issues and complaints about their site, which is never a good sign.

A second-rate site will just point visitors towards FAQs instead of giving them access to real people who can solve problems for them promptly via live chat or phone call.

11. They Don’t Have Any Responsible Gaming Policy in Place

If you’re an avid bettor, you should already be aware that gambling addiction is a grave issue for some people. Most reputable online sportsbooks will include information on how players can keep track of their spending and make sure not to gamble more than they can afford to lose.

However, a scamming site will want you to spend as much money as possible, so they won’t have any responsible gaming policies in place. This is a major red flag that should make you seriously consider whether or not you want to sign up with the site.

12. The Website Looks Like It Was Made in a Hurry

If the website looks like it was made in a hurry, it’s probably because the people behind it didn’t put much effort or investment into making it look legitimate. This is another huge red flag, as it means you’re dealing with dishonest people.

A credible betting site will feature modern designs and security features, while a scam site will likely look outdated and unprofessional.

13. The Terms and Conditions are Unclear

While we always skip the T&Cs while signing up, they’re still very important. They contain useful information, including how much each bet will cost you and what kind of bonuses are offered. If the terms and conditions are unclear or ambiguous in any way, it’s probably because the people behind the website don’t want you to know what you’re getting into. This is yet another major red flag.

14. You Can’t Trust the Reviews

Great reviews are always a sign of credibility, so scammers nowadays are smart enough to write fake reviews on their behalf. To spot those, you should check the date of each review and see if it looks authentic or not. If the first three reviews were written in 2015, but then there was a gap for two years, followed by a bunch of five-star ratings from 2017 onward, that’s probably because they’re fake ones paid for or written by the scammers.

So, there you have it. Our top tips for avoiding sports betting scams. Remember to be vigilant and never let your guard down, especially when money is on the line. Before you hand over your hard-earned cash to that smooth-talking online sportsbook or casino, make sure to do your research and ask the right questions.

And if you feel like something doesn’t quite add up or seems too good to be true, trust your gut and walk away. 

Have you ever been scammed when gambling online? What tips would you add to our list?

Is sports betting rigged?

Sports betting is not rigged, generally speaking. Although the occasional rigged sports game may occur once in a blue moon, sports betting is generally not rigged (unless you consider the juice).

Is sports betting a waste of money?

Sports betting is and is not a waste of money depending on who you ask. We would guess sports betting is a waste of money for 95% to 98% of sports bettors but for the 1% or 2% sports betting is NOT a waste of money.

Can you go to jail for sports betting?

By Jeanne MurugamI

Freelance Sports Betting Writer

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