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Betting The 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament Online: Exercise Caution

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Mar/15/2011
Betting The 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament Online

The online gambling sector has evolved into something of great stability over the past couple of years.  Few fly-by-nights can gain the necessary exposure outside of a handful of industry-exclusive portals and Web forums.  The strong have survived for well over 10 years, including all of those companies represented on the Gambling911.com website (see here)

With that said, one must still exercise a certain amount of caution when betting the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament online. 

Case in point, the insolvency of World Sports Exchange, one of the first online sports betting establishments.

Players report nonpayments while a lucky few have received payouts after waiting several months.

World Sports Exchange is hardly classified as a “fly-by-night”.  They’ve been around since 1996 and the company was once featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. 

Unfortunately, they were recently profiled as part of a CNBC special regarding Internet gambling where founder Jay Cohen espoused the notion that the company he founded several years ago remains as solid as they come.  That’s hardly the case.

“Thank God for Google!” said Payton O’Brien, Senior Editor of the Gambling911.com website.  “We are on the first page with an article warning of World Sports Exchange, as are other websites.  Anyone conducting even the slightest bit of research will now be quick to avoid this desperately underfunded business.”

But not everyone is going to Google “World Sports Exchange” and customers who signed up long ago, not knowing the current state of this company, may feel comfortable enough to re-deposit funds during the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament. 

“WSEX.com has ignored its customers requests for payout status but they have little problem sending out generous re-up bonus promos to those on their extensive player list,” O’Brien observed. 

Cohen himself gained a reputation in the past for berating competitors for offering similar bonus structures.  He is now said to be in hiding, quite possibly in Antigua, having ballooned to over 300 pounds. 

Cohen returned to Antigua after becoming the first man convicted on federal charges of running an illegal offshore Internet sports gambling operation.  He was sentenced to nearly two years in prison.

World Sports Exchange’s current financial woes are said to be a combination of debts incurred by Cohen’s legal defense (his lawyer was the famed Mob attorney Benjamin Brafman) and the company having lost significant funds in the besieged bank owned by convicted Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, though Cohen once told Gambling911.com Stanford would never do business with gambling establishments due to his “deep religious convictions”.  

“World Sports Exchange is a rare exception when it comes to established online gambling firms going under,” explains Christopher Costigan, Founder of the Gambling911.com website.  “We’ve only seen it a few times where major businesses in operation for more than 10 years have closed shop and stiffed players.”

BetOnSports comes to mind.  This was once the largest betting operation offshore catering to the North American market.  They were forced to shut their doors after the US Government indicted close to a dozen company officials.

Some years ago, Sports Market/Aces Gold wiped out a number of high rollers after its owner fled with the sportsbook’s funds following a brutal Super Bowl loss.   Charlie Therwhanger has yet to re-emerge.  His company advertised heavily on various industry-related Websites and in sports handicapping publications. 

 

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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