In a past life, I was the editor of a consumer publication that covered Internet gambling and I was consequently faced with the task of fielding complaints from disgruntled Net bettors. Nearly every complainer believed he was being ripped off, and most of those who believed they were getting ripped off thought so because they requested payment and did not receive it. The good news for the consumer is that most of the complaints were resolved.
But, what gives? Why so many mistaken victims?
When you walk into a sportsbook or a betting shop with a betting receipt and request payment on a winning bet, you receive it promptly. When you come up big playing blackjack or craps, you can expect to walk out of the casino with cash in your wallet. Even when you request payment for a winning telephone wager, you know that your account will be credited immediately and that you’ll have relatively quick access to your winnings.
Enter the era of Internet gambling. They say this Internet thing is all about convenience, but you’d be surprised how inconvenient it can be when it comes to getting your money.
Most Internet gambling services are operated out of the Caribbean, and many inexperienced Net bettors don’t quite understand that things don’t always move along quickly there.
Despite advancements in payment processing technology, winnings are still most often paid out via bank wires, money transfer services or personal checks. That means it’s up to the folks that run the site to either issue and mail a check or prompt their bank to wire the money. But the thing is, when those wheels get rolling on the islands, they don’t always roll quickly.
When you visit the islands, you leave concepts like haste and urgency behind, and this relaxed mentality is widely prescribed to throughout the region. Add to this the fact that the communication infrastructure in many island locations is lacking, and it should come as no surprise that your money might not fly out of the Caribbean with lightening speed.
Then, when you call customer service, they might tell you that the money is on the way, but what you don’t realize is that “on the way” in “island time” can mean “being processed and will be sent eventually.”
A few additional translations: “The check is in my Slot Online hand and will be mailed right away,” often means, “The check is somewhere on my desk and it will be mailed whenever I get around to it.” Likewise, “The money will be wired to your bank account within one week,” can mean, “We typically try to have the money wired within a week, but sometimes it takes up to four.”
So, my answer to bettors who complained that they requested payment “three hours ago” and still haven’t had the funds moved was always, “I’m sorry to hear this. Call me back in a week if you still haven’t received payment, and we’ll see if we can help resolve the matter.” Very seldom did I hear back from them, and very seldom was it a case of the customer getting ripped off. Instead, most instances were cases of the customers getting very poor service.
In the early days of Internet gambling, customer service and prompt payment were severely lacking. Improving technologies and increased competition have changed this quite a bit for the better. Even most of the online sportsbooks and casinos in the Caribbean have figured out how to circumvent island time. But, be aware that there are still many that haven’t yet adopted the concept of speedy service.
There are consumer advocate groups put together for victims of scams, and by all means use seek their assistance if you’ve been had, but you don’t necessarily need to rush to them at the first sign of trouble. If your payment doesn’t show up right away, and customer service doesn’t seem to be responding, don’t immediately panic and move onto the offensive. Grab a piña colada, throw yourself into a hammock and give it a few days. (Or if you’re not so much into the island spirit, at least use your time to seek a site that offers better service.) More often than not, you’ll get your money.