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August-05-2005,
BCN dispute resolution and analysis...By Russ Hawkins

The last week at MajorWager has been a rough one. Here is the synopsis of what happened.

Three players, of which at least one, was tipped off by moderator Fishhead at the RX that a Sportsbook, BCN, had a bad/stale line and signed up to bet the bad/stale line. In return for this the Moderator was paid a referral fee by the book. To further complicate the matter the Sportsbook, BCN, was an advertiser at the RX who paid a set monthly fee for advertising at the popular site. The advertising agreement was due to expire on the first day of August. BCN had no intention of renewing this agreement and had made that clear.

The players then proceeded to bet baseball futures on the Oakland A.s to both win the Pennant and the World Series. The prices were 100 to 1 and 200 to 1 respectively. The bets were made in a series of small wagers over a period of 2 days. The majority of the bets were 20 dollars. One player made a series of 20 dollar bets throughout the 2 day period. At the time the plays were made, the market odds varied from 10-1 to 30-1 to win the Pennant and 20-1 to 60-1 to win the World Series. We will use the median number which allows fairness for the .boutique. typically horrible price books and for the .Costco. wholesale type shops that typically offer more reasonable lines. So we can boil this down to 40-1 on the WS and 20-1 on the Pennant while the players bet 200-1 and 100-1 respectively.

The next day or so, the Sportsbook, BCN, notified the players that the wagers would be cancelled as they were betting into a bad line. Vigorous debate then ensued as to whether the lines were bad due to a technical error or just simply asleep at the wheel. After speaking with the linesman that was in charge of adjusting the lines, he told MajorWager that he was updating his lines one morning and had put the wrong numbers in for both the WS and the Pennant race. Looking at the historical and current future propositions offered at BCN, a reasonable conclusion would be that the Sportsbook would always be on the very bottom of the value scale never offering lines anywhere near the .Costco. type shops. It would be inconceivable that the lines offered at 200-1 and 100-1 would ever been available on the A.s at BCN which leads me to beleive that BCN made an error. An example would be that is CRIS were dealing 100-1 on a proposition, most likely BCN would be dealing 20-1. This is not typical of just BCN but of all books that are better suited for the recreational player.

The factors in the situation that were handed to MajorWager were this. A moderator referred a player to bet a stale/bad line at a book that was paying the Site to advertise. The Sportsbook then told the players they were canceling the bets based on the .bad line. rule. The Site then posted that they were removing the Sportsbook.s banners unless they honored bets and the public shellacking of the book followed. The facts are that the Sportsbook had no intention of renewing the ad contract and the banners were being removed for that reason alone. The book felt that they were setup by a moderator and unfairly treated by the site when they declared they were removing them for the wrong reasons. Hard feelings ensued to the point where all discussions broke down.

In comes MajorWager. At this point it is very difficult to negotiate any type of settlement after people and reputations have been dragged over the dirt. Unfortunately, that is just human nature. I had to laugh when one poster suggested that even if the player was slashing the Sportsbook owner.s tires while making the bet on the bad line, the line should still be honored. Perhaps that.s the case in utopiaville.

For the most part it becomes a no win situation on the part of the Sportsbook. We did our best to get all the information and try and ascertain whether the line was either bad, stale or a clerical error for the end goal of finding a reasonable solution for both of the parties involved. It became more and more difficult as the 20 dollar player seemed to relish in the fact that he bet a bad line and the book should just shut up and play. After further investigation into this player and his partner, we discovered that this seems to be a rather regular occurrence. I was contacted by two Sportsbook.s who informed me that this was a very typical method these two use in day to day practice. Find a stale/bad future, bet it in small increments so they stay under the radar, then go to the forums if the bad line is not honored. After searching the forums, this would be most certainly the case. I don.t think we need to discuss any further the style of players we are dealing with.

That in itself is no reason to cancel wagers. Unfortunately when dealing in these situations we need to take into consideration all of the extenuating circumstances in order to arrive at a reasonable solution. Therefore they are being discussed now.

MajorWager has a very strict policy of defending books against players that are only trying to take shots by betting errors and bad lines. In fact, MajorWager takes a progressive stance in trying to rid our community of these players or at least make the books aware of whom they are. MajorWager also tries to identify players that use the site as a means of cyber extortion. (Bet a bad line, get caught and threaten to go the forums)

Recently we went through a situation that MajorWager was very proactive in. A player suggested that Royal had stolen 20k from him. All the usual forum nonsense occurred. The usual, .protect the scammer posters. defended the player till death do us part and only until the player failed a lie detector did they run off with their tail between there legs. A lie detector test was not necessary to determine the guy was lying. Common sense was all that was needed. The same crew always returns when the next .I took a shot and got caught. situation arises. It is almost as if it is pre-scripted. The mantra being, I don.t care if it was a bad line or the bookmaker.s wife was raped in the process, the bets must stand.

We at MajorWager disagree. We are not defense lawyers that are bound to defend less savory individuals. We believe in fair play by both sides of the fence. We expect players to not knowingly take advantage of a Sportsbook and we also expect Sportsbooks to not knowingly take advantage of the players. Although MajorWager is not able to snap its fingers and make this a perfect world, we do have the choice of who we defend. A few days ago we set a policy that we would no longer get involved with situations where we put ourselves in a position of helping people that are a detriment to the industry and we intend to honor that policy. Have no fear however, if you are a fair person and not looking to rape and pillage Sportsbooks you have no worries. MajorWager will be here for you. On the other hand if you spend your days looking for errors and bad lines and have a history of then coming to the forums to complain, find another site. It is your choice how you conduct your day to day business just like it is ours who we chose to help.

In closing, it is our conclusion that the line was not ever intended to be available at those odds. The players were very aware that the line was, at the very best, stale. The players continued to bet the line in small increments to avoid detection. The player.s bets should be honored at a price that a similar book offered at the time of the placement of the wagers.

Further comments:

1. The argument that the line moved therefore the bets should stand is not correct. If the line was not intended to be dealt, any further wagers placed on the movement of the original bad line would be considered bad as well. The book did notify the players that the bets were cancelled in a timely fashion considering the .under the radar. style of play.

2. There are no winners in this situation. It is a shame that this unfolded the way it did. Had people used Mediation and conducted themselves in a reasonable fashion it would never have progressed to this stage. Unfortunately it has and it did.

3. There is never any hard fast rule when it comes to betting stale and bad lines. For the most part common sense is all that is necessary.

4. BCN needs to very quickly monitor and change their future lines or not deal them. The next time it will not be handled this way.

Russ Hawkins CEO, MajorWager.com



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