Update at 12:20pm PT 11/24/11: BetOnline has decided to pay the $65,000 player. There are still other players owed money but this is the biggest one. Below is their public statement:
After an exhaustive and extensive investigation we have of the players activity we have taken the decision to honor the players claim to his winnings.
As a new poker platform we believe it is essential to maintain the utmost security in our systems for the safety of our players and to conform to our regulatory obligations of our license. It’s not a fast process but ultimately it is the fairest.
We appreciate the patience of the poker community during this process and wish best of luck to you all.
Several players have posted in poker and sportsbook forums complaining about BetOnline. These players have had their accounts locked by BetOnline. BetOnline accuses them of participating in chip dumping. Chip dumping is when one player intentionally loses chips to another player. Chip dumping is usually the result of a fraudulent deposit. A player deposits with a stolen credit card and then loses it to their friend hoping to cash it out before the poker room finds out. That is not what happened at BetOnline.
BetOnline accuses one player that has $65,000 in his account of participating in chip dumping. That player’s account was lock and the money seized by BetOnline. There has been no accusation of fraud being involved with it. BetOnline has also refused to email the player hand histories proving their accusation. Poker rooms that believe chip dumping has occurred but no fraud has been detected typically warn players not to do it and let the players continue to play. BetOnline decided to just help themselves to over $100,000 in player funds on these chip dumping accusation without providing any evidence to the players.
Sportsbook Review Involvement
Sportsbook Review has gotten involved but they have yet to go anywhere with BetOnline. BetOnline is a sponsor that has a B+ rating even though this scandal has surfaced. Sportsbook Review’s grading system has come into question due to this and the fact that these issues have not been reported on their home page even though it is a hot topic on their forum. Sportsbook Review also gives rogue operator Betfair an A.
BetOnline Network Controversy
BetOnline’s poker offering was controversial from its launch. Earlier this year, BetOnline opened their poker room. The poker room accepted U.S. players. They told many poker news sites that they were on the Hero Poker Network. This turned out to be untrue. BetOnline is in fact on the troubled Action Poker Network. Action Poker has had payout issues that go back two years. Either Action Poker did not want it known that they had a skin with U.S. players, or BetOnline did not want people to know they had joined a network that was known to be in financial trouble.
Major Software Security Issue
The software is also not secure. I logged in to BetOnline and Action Poker at the same time. I then sat down at the same table and played myself heads up. There is no safeguard to prevent a player from occupying more than one seat at a table.
What is BetOnline’s Motive?
BetOnline is either incompetent or running out of cash. It is possible that their poker security is very poor or not trained in online poker security. It is also possible that this money was won from Action Poker players and that Action Poker cannot pay BetOnline the money they are owed and BetOnline had to do something to get out of paying or buy time.
Regardless of the reason, I feel it is time to warn players about BetOnline. If you win a lot of money in their poker room they may decide not to pay you and refuse to provide any proof to back up their accusation. There are far better choices for U.S. players than BetOnline.