SBR (SportsbookReview.com) went deep into damage control yesterday as it was revealed BetIslands.ag was closing, stealing all customer funds in the process. BetIslands was a sportsbook essentially developed through the SBR brand. SBR helped promote contests, giveaways, and extremely favorable coverage on its forums and news wire to help build BetIslands. It has been estimated over 350 customers lost a total of $1.5 million in this scandal, a vast majority of those customers coming from SBR.
SBR’s response has been discouraging to most of these users. SBR’s Bill Dozer says the clients bear the bulk of the blame: “A book sponsoring the forum is not a guarantee. Everything on the site, including the posters poll and discussions, is information for users to make their own decisions.”
SBR has repeatedly refused to point out who it is that provided the financial backing for BetIslands, despite the fact that strong ownership was the reason for BI’s miraculous rise in SBR’s ratings. BI went from an ungraded sportsbook to a B rating (upper 10% of all sportsbooks according to SBR’s grading scale) in just over a year. “The owners of books aren’t always public and it’s not up to us to make it so,” said Dozer.
Reaction from its posters has been sharp:
“I thought SBR was providing transparency, reliable reviews, and disputing claims as well. Turns out their business model is providing a captive audience for the books, marketing/touting to said audience, and profiting from their relationship w/ the books.”
“SBR abused their power to lead everyone to the slaughter, and now turns their head away from people who lost 1.5 millions combined.”
“I spent the last few years criticizing Covers, which is obviously a very crooked site. Now it turns out SBR is on the same level. I was completely fooled.”
SBR is in no danger of going out of business like its failed business partner. They have, however, been exposed. Once seen as a light shining on the cockroaches in the online gambling industry, they are now shown to have been a cockroach all along. That sort of reputation is hard to erase.