How to Spot Fake and Unlicensed Online Bookmakers

Gambling. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Demand for online betting significantly rose in recent years as more bettors find it more convenient to find good lines and place bets online. As a result, countless online bookmakers have appeared offering various kinds of bets from sports to esports, attracting more bettors to play online.

However, bettors should always keep in mind that not all online bookmakers are trustworthy and legitimate. Some platforms have taken advantage of online betting’s popularity to trick or scam bettors. Whether you’re new or experienced in the industry, take note of these telltale signs to spot fake or unlicensed online betting sites easily.

The bookmaker’s website is broken or full of bugs.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to check if an online betting site is legitimate is to look at the website. Are the pages properly loading? Or is the website full of bugs or errors? Take note of the website’s appearance as well. Is it professional-looking? Or does it contain lots of pop-up ads? 

While this may simply be a technical fault on the bookmaker’s side, it’s still advisable to stay away from buggy websites as there’s no telling what these glitches might do to your data or funds. 

They change their website address.

Be concerned when your online betting site suddenly changed its website address. This might not be just a simple server change, rather, this may be a sign that the bookmaker is ‘hiding’ from authorities.

Usually, regulating authorities block unlicensed betting sites. That is why some illegal online bookmakers change their website address to trick local licensing authorities and keep them off their tracks. By switching to a different mirror site, the online bookmaker can continue accepting bettors. If this happens to your online betting site, close your account immediately, and find a better site before it’s too late.

Payouts are delayed or rejected.

Some unlicensed betting sites may look very legitimate before and after you sign up, and even after you have played. However, the scammy part happens right before you withdraw your winnings. Delayed or rejected withdrawals are the most common practice among illegitimate betting sites. These fake platforms will use different excuses to avoid giving your winnings.

Usually, withdrawals take some time to process, especially during busy seasons. However, delays should not be by weeks or months. If you experience this issue, it’s best to report the website to authorities and immediately close your account to avoid further scams.

Customer support is poor or unresponsive.

Have you tried getting in touch with the betting site’s customer service? If yes, were they responsive? How did they handle your concern? Often, fake online bookmakers either have poor customer support or a completely unresponsive contact. Very few sites even provide non-existent contact details, meaning you will not be able to reach them at all if something goes wrong.

While customer service is not a major defining factor for fake betting sites, it’s still advisable to avoid these kinds of sites to prevent any frustration on your part in case of a future concern.

They offer ridiculously high offers.

Unfortunately, some bettors get tricked into playing on illegitimate betting platforms because of the sites enticing offers. Remember that if a betting line or bonus seems too good to be true, then it most likely is.

For example, no bookmaker will offer a 400% welcome bonus. For proper bookmakers, that is not a sane financial practice. Another example would be seeing lines that are too off from the average market rate. While betting platforms can have varying lines, it should never be too far off from the market average. When you see these instances in a betting site, stay away from these sites.

What does a legitimate online bookmaker look like?

Licensed and reputable online bookmakers offer quick payouts, provide responsive and helpful customer service, use a secure and operational website, and have good reviews from the online betting community. Decent bookmakers should at least have these qualities. Whether it’s online or mobile sports betting, always be wary of illegitimate sites or offers to protect yourself from getting scammed.


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