BitcoinSports.eu is one of our nastier scam reports.
They didn’t last long, and they went out in a bad way (owing lots of money).
But things didn’t start of that way. In fact, players loved their sportsbook. When they got started in February 2013, this is what they offered:
- No account needed.
- Live odds on all games.
- Parlays and teasers.
- Best odds and the largest selection (for bitcoin sportsbooks).
- 1st period, 1st half and full game options.
- Asian spreads and totals on soccer games.
- US and EU odds for all betting options.
Players loved that they had their lines ready before other books. That they paid out winning bets faster, had more lines and better odds.
The only complaint I found was that the vig was too high. But after awhile BitcoinSports.eu fixed that, too.
So they were a legit book.
Until they started to take investments.
August 2013: BitcoinSports.eu Peaks
About 8 months following their launch they decided they were going to take on investors. This was their (initial) deal:
Invest and receive a share of the site’s profits (or losses) from each bet, based on your investment’s percentage of the entire bankroll
15% commission charged on net profits when your investment is cashed out, or each Sunday at 11:59 PM EST, whichever comes sooner
The max profit of each bet is 1% of the site’s bankroll
Detailed statistics are available including total invested, wagered, profit, and number of bets
And players invested.
How could they not? Many claimed that it was the best sportsbook for bitcoin.
But it wasn’t long thereafter you saw no or slow play complaints.
In fact, in September 2013, users complained that the supposed owner (Bit365) would take money owed to a customer/player and pay investors instead. And he failed to pay out more than .25 BTC in any given week.
Bit365 made a post (shortly before leaving for good) that stated they were having problems with their cold storage files – they couldn’t find or recover them.
What’s worse is they stated they knew about the (cold storage) problem for awhile prior to posting, yet they didn’t want to tell investors so not to freak anyone out.
(Pretty shoddy, if you ask me.)
Shortly after they started paying players again, so it was hard to tell if the cold storage post was merely a way for them to buy some time.
In any event, things trudged along okay through November and the first part of December. They continued to take bets and pay out for their forum signature ads. Random, small time players even collected small bits of money owed to them.
But that didn’t last long.
Bit365 eventually went dark. He still visited the forum, yet no one received any more coins or replies to their messages.
He left a lot of scammed investors in his wake, too. Some players were owed nominal amounts – less than a bitcoin.
But some guys, they invested more than 50 BTC!
Here’s a post from one of them:
I am the owner of http://www.bitcoinsports.eu/inv/01e4d. I made the 50btc investment because I really believed in Bit365 and the site’s model. I hoped that my large investment would raise the max bet size and really help to grow the book. I cashed out my successful(!!!) 53btc investment on November 18th as the rise in btc represented a larger monetary risk than I was willing to take. I emailed Bit365 on November 20th and asked to expedite my cashout. He responded the next day saying he was experiencing investment grading issues and it would be resolved “within the next day or two”. Needless to say I have still not received any amount of my investment back.
What really irks me is that I have not received one response from my numerous emails I sent after the first response, even when the rare updates mentioned how important keeping communication is. I am bothered that there are tiny investments made after mine being paid while I haven’t received any bitcoins. If the liquidity is not there to pay everyone I would like an equivalent amount that is being paid out to the smaller investments paid to me. I don’t want the size of my investment preventing me from seeing any payout
I am happy to see people starting to get paid and hope it continues without neglecting the large investors.
And he wasn’t the only one. There is an entire list of investors still owed money.
Players may have believed in BitcoinSports.eu and Bit365, but from an outsider’s perspective, it’s hard not to be skeptical of this entire operation.
You have to wonder if this was their plan all along.
Vigilante Investigators to the Rescue?
The most interesting part of this scam was the effort made by some of the members to track this guy down.
You got to remember that one of the perks to bitcoin is anonymity.
(That should also be the biggest red flag.)
One member spent weeks – months even – trying to track Bit365 down. He was working with investigators, and was even trying to collect donations to get an investigator on retainer.
He was confident that he’d have Bit365’s details by the end of January, and tried to threaten him with that, but eventually he had to stop the search due to needing to find a job.
Who knows how close he really was, or what would’ve happened had he found his details.
We’ll never know, I guess.
Another member started to pick up the slack, saying he already knew who the guy was, had his information and that he’d be seeing him within the next 2 weeks. He knew him on a more personal level – a friend of a friend, sort of thing.
But no one believed him. He was a new member and had a low post count. Some of the other members thought he was Bit365 under a different account to try to throw everyone off his scent.
This guy eventually faded away, but not before making this post:
No one wanted to believe that I have his personal information, first and last name and address. I have already started a pool with members on here, and I will be seeing this man within the next 2 weeks. I’m working from home since I got laid off and heard about this scum bag through friends that know him personally. I have spoke to different users, some in which he owed 50+ BTC. I have the information, problem is, if I post it will David disappear and never be heard from again and no one get paid.
I was at a College reunion with a couple of friends 2 weeks ago when I met a man named David, he was their because apparently he had attended our College and was friends with one of my friends named Mike. We all were eating at a Restaurant when some one mentioned BitCoins and then suddenly David said he had a website which accepted BitCoins than could be used for betting on Sporting events. So someone of us asked him what his website was, and he gave us the URL which to my surprise, being in the field of Sports Capping I wanted to do it with BitCoins which was started on here a couple of days ago. So about 1 week ago, I came to this thread and was in Shock, how I could possibly meet a member or affiliate of this Scam website and not know it. Now I don’t know if he is the owner for sure, but he definitely is affiliated because he gave my buddy some sort of bonus onto the Website.
I have not released any of his information, so OP if you do NOT refund these poor people, I will take actions into my own hands and come pay you a visit. My other post on this thread was deleted, and I’m wondering if a Moderator was working with him. I have already had 3 people come forward with their Bet Slips that I will present to him, if he fails to acknowledge this, he better move Countries and FAST.
I have already spent quite some money trying to confirm this 100% and I have. There seems to be more than 1 person running this show, but I think I have found the biggest part.
If anyone is interested on information or how you can help. Feel free to email me personally, email@example.com
And it doesn’t look like anyone got his information. I’m pretty sure it would’ve leaked and the forums would’ve blown up had that information got out.
The Lesson to Learn
It’s unfortunate that so many people got scammed by this guy (or group).
And remember… they invested when bitcoin was still $600-$1,000 each. So, some guys lost the equivalent to $50,000.
The only good thing they can take away from this (if you can call it good) is that bitcoin dropped so much in value, that had they not spent it elsewhere, it’d be worth 1/3 their investment today.
That’s still around $16,000-$17,000 for some people, though.
That being said, there are some lessons to be learned here.
The first is to be skeptical of any new operation. So many people see a half decent sportsbook and freak out because there are so few of the good ones.
They forget the company is new, and has no track record.
Another lesson – unless a company is truly going public, I don’t think it’s wise to invest in them – especially when they’re anonymous. Did no one think of requesting a name and address before investing?
I’m sorry, but that’s lunacy.
But lesson learnt, I guess.