3 tips to avoid deceptive online betting companies ahead of the Super Bowl


New York Attorney General Letitia James warns of misleading online betting companies ahead of the Super Bowl.

It’s the first major sporting event New Yorkers can bet on online since sports betting was legalized in the state last month.

“I urge all New Yorkers watching the Super Bowl and betting online for the first time to be careful – don’t let scammers play your bet,” James said in a statement. “Before placing a bet, do your research on the platform, read the fine print of the offer and follow our other tips to avoid any red flags and keep the odds in your favour. Online sports betting companies that grope in their publicity to deceive New Yorkers can expect to hear from my office.

The Attorney General offered potential bettors these three pieces of advice:

Find out what other users are saying about the platform

Avoid reviews from sites that may be related to the sports betting industry.

Read the fine print on bonuses and other promotions

Platforms sometimes require users to play their own money before accessing the bonus they advertised. One platform advertises sign-up bonuses of up to $1,000, but to receive that many, users must gamble up to $25,000.

Be aware that not all bets count towards access to promotions. One platform excludes bets “placed in tournaments…or in play money areas” from the account for certain promotions, and other platforms have even more conditions.

Risk-free betting may not be what it seems. Some platforms offer “risk-free bets” of $1,000 or more (depending on the amount deposited by the user). But if a user loses his bets, he does not get his money back. Instead, it becomes a credit that can only be used to play on the platform.

Online players could be penalized for acting strategically. Many users register on gambling platforms because they want to take advantage of a good deal – the advertised bonus – without spending too much money. It’s a common way to shop, and most regular businesses accept this behavior (like a local bakery that leaves free samples). But at least one gaming platform treats “bonus mining” as an offence. It has a long list of activities that it considers suspicious, and if you engage in it, it may prevent users from withdrawing funds from the account and/or withhold winnings from the player’s use of the bonus .

Beware of unexpected restrictions on access to your account

The platforms reserve the right to restrict a user’s activity without warning, not only on suspicion of illegal conduct, but also for appearing to have an ‘unfair advantage’ or ‘irregular playing patterns’. The platforms exercise this right. Users have posted complaints online about their accounts being frozen when they are doing well or when trying to withdraw winnings.

“Hedging strategies” are an example. Online gamers might see them recommended by someone online. The strategies consist of placing bets on opposite sides of the same match. At least one platform considers the cover a violation of its policies and will prevent users from withdrawing their funds as punishment.

Users report struggling with red tape or simply being ignored when they want to withdraw funds from their account, even if it’s just their initial deposit with no winnings or bonuses involved.

James has also provided the following resources for anyone who thinks gambling is a problem for yourself or someone you know:

24 hour helpline for gambling problems – 1-877-846-7369, TEXT: HOPENY (467369)


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