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March-01-2002,
Rescue Plan for Aces Gold Customers: A Proposal...By The Philosopher

I. Why a Rescue Plan at All?

Here.s the dilemma for any rescue plan: Why should a book offer anything to stiffed Aces Gold customers that it is not in their self-interest to offer? And if it is in their self-interest to offer it, why wouldn.t they already be offering it to customers in general, regardless of whether they were stiffed by Aces Gold?

If a book is to offer stiffed Aces Gold customers a better deal than they would give someone off the street, there has to be a reason.

Certainly no other book should be bailing out Aces customers because they are obligated to. The principals of Aces are the ones who owe you; no other book owes you a penny.

So what are the differences between stiffed Aces Gold customers and generic customers? Why would some other book even consider giving something .extra. to stiffed Aces Gold customers to partly or wholly compensate them for their loss? Here are four possible reasons:

1. Charitable motives.

Someone is robbed, and you decide to step in and help the crime victim, not because you.re obligated to, but just out of good will. Nothing more in it for you; you just want to aid someone who got screwed.

OK, I.ll pause while everyone stops laughing.

Interestingly, I don.t think the implausibility of this being a significant factor is necessarily based on a perception of bookmakers as greedy, selfish sons of bitches who don.t care about people in need or people who have been wronged. I have no reason to believe bookmakers on average have weaker charitable impulses than the general population; in fact, I wouldn.t be surprised if they are more willing than most to step up to the plate for widows and orphans and 9/11 victims and such.

No, the problem here is that the other books had to have hated Aces Gold, and to a lesser extent their customers, and I don.t think they.re in any particularly charitable mood toward either.

Why hate? Well, how would you feel as a book after about the thousandth conversation that goes like this?

Book: XYZ Sportsbook. May I help you?

Potential Customer: How much of a bonus do you guys have?

Book: We.re offering a ten percent sign-up bonus for all new accounts, and I.d like to point out.

PC: 10%?! Come on! There.s a place Aces Gold I heard about that.s giving, like, 15%.

Book: Well, yes, but.

PC: OK, so are there some days with no vig?

Book: Well, of course we can.t offer you literally no vig and stay in business, but we do have.

PC: Don.t give me that. That Aces Gold place has a deal on Fridays where you don.t pay vig at all. What about reload bonuses, or referral bonuses?

Book: At this time, we are not offering such bonuses, though on a discretionary basis we.

PC: But Aces Gold has real generous reload and referral bonuses.

Book: But you see, sir, if we offered you everything you.re asking for, there.s no way we could make it in this business. The numbers just don.t add up. Now, I feel we do have a very competitive.

PC: Well then how does Aces Gold do it? No way, man, if that.s the best you can do, forget it. I.m going to sign up with Aces Gold.

And then they find out months or years later that all these people that passed them by to go down the street to play at their flashier competitor are now wandering around in a daze looking for their money.

I.m going to go out on a limb here and guess that their first thought is not, .Hmm, wonder what we can do to help those poor unfortunate souls?.

OK, so you.re starting from a position of weakness. You snubbed and misused numerous other girls when you were drawn in by the girl with the biggest tits, you overspent on her, she kept all your lavish gifts and split, and now that you.re down and out you.re hoping one of the other girls will reimburse you what you lost on her. Don.t bank on their pity. They didn.t like her, and they.re not feeling particularly well-disposed toward you at the moment either. Rather than money, you.re more likely to get an attitude of .You made your bed, now sleep in it. (or as CRIS said smugly to Brett, "If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.")

Still, I won.t say that this factor is completely zero. As the books realize, a lot of sportsbook customers, including a lot of Aces Gold customers, are not wise guys, middlers, scalpers, bonus whores, or even savvy knowledgeable shoppers; they.re just ordinary folks who pick their one or two sportsbooks, put in their plays each week, send in more money when the account goes dry, and really aren.t privy to 90% of the rumors and information that we kick around on these forums. People like that really aren.t such unsympathetic characters. They were wronged. They absolutely did not .have it coming..

I want to make a plea for another kind of customer too. There are people.including some who posted about doing so here at Major Wager, and at least one who E-mailed with me about it.who made a conscious decision to leave some of their money at Aces Gold out of loyalty. They decided not to be a part of a run on the bank, and they urged others to join them in taking a stand for a book that had always done right by them. (I pulled somewhat less out of Aces Gold as football wound down than I otherwise would have due to this factor, but I.m thinking of other people who risked a lot more in order not to pile on a book when it was down.)

Now you might think they were dumb, or naï, or too trusting (though I think the bulk of that attitude is based on the usual 20-20 hindsight), but these are people who got hurt extra because they tried to do the right thing rather than just thinking of themselves. If there were a way.and I know it can.t be done because of the impossibility of recreating everybody.s motives after the fact--I would like the people like this who tried to do the honorable thing and got burned to move to the head of the line in any bailout.

So while as a group the stiffed Aces Gold customers are not exactly the .deserving poor,. it does suck to see people ripped off, and I could see a simple humanitarian motive being a small incentive for a bailout. OK, very small.

2. Generating good publicity and gratitude.

Precisely because no other sportsbook owes the stiffed Aces Gold customers anything, if they did come up with any kind of assistance, it could be some very positive public relations for them.

I still remember when Pinnacle was running its .Stung By a Bad Book. promotion where they offered a helping hand to those who had been stiffed. (I never had to partake of it, thankfully, but I believe the general idea was they would let you bet vig free, keep track of what you would have had to pay in vig normally, and let those savings accumulate to where they equaled what you had had stolen from you by another book.) And ever since then this is a book that.s had kind of a positive connotation in my mind.

I think the betting public will respect and appreciate books that come forward to help. At least some of the folks who came aboard for the handout will feel good enough about what you did to stay on and give you more business. People on the sidelines who do not need the bailout will still forever associate you with your act of saving a lot of people from a terrible situation (much as I described of my own feelings about Pinnacle above).

Your book could be the hero, the gallant knight on the white steed that saves the day.

Now, let.s be honest, though. This is something that would have to be done very carefully, or rather than a public relations boon, it could actually be neutral or negative for your book. Handle it wrong, and you.ll wish you hadn.t gotten involved at all.

In 2001, Five Card Charlie.s took over the defunct Fair Deal Sports. Players who were facing getting stiffed out of their entire balance suddenly found that their accounts were being honored again and that Fair Deal was back on its feet, taking wagers and processing withdrawals.

Great deal, right? Fair Deal customers are eternally grateful and people can.t stop talking about how wonderful it was of Five Card Charlie.s to ride to the rescue, right?

Well, not quite. If anything, public response was more negative than positive (in the forums, that is.hard to know about the perception in the broader sportsbetting community). And that.s because they decided to pick and choose which Fair Deal accounts they would honor. Apparently all the small and medium, and most of the large, accounts were honored, but at least one large customer was cut loose.

Five Card Charlie.s was beaten from pillar to post over this in the forums. The consensus seemed to be that you either save everybody or nobody; you don.t get to throw somebody out of the lifeboat just because you.d rather not have his type as a customer. Most seemed to believe that even giving people less than 100% of their accounts would have been acceptable, as long as it was equal for all customers.

More specifically, I think some of the negativity stemmed from a matter of semantics. If Five Card Charlie.s had simply offered some Fair Deal customers an account at Five Card Charlie.s equal in value to what Fair Deal had just stiffed them out of, I don.t see that anyone could have had much of an objection or insisted that they offer every stiffed person the same deal. If I pay for housing for twenty homeless people, I don.t think people are going to bash me and say that I have to either pay for housing for every homeless person in town or none at all. Helping some is better than helping none.

But what they did that people seemed to object to is they kept Fair Deal open and operating as a separate book. The consensus appeared to be that if you are going to do that--if a book remains in existence and simply changes ownership--then all of the obligations of the old ownership are transferred to the new, and you cannot decide that only some of the pre-existing customers are welcome to stick around for the new era and get the money they are owed.

Furthermore, bailouts in general are looked at with a jaundiced eye by some in the industry if there.s any even slight whiff of a set-up. If Person A steals $1,000 from you, and Person B gives you $500 out of the blue, you might at first be quite grateful to B. But if you then find out that they are actually in cahoots and planned it this way all along so that they could steal $500 from you and win your gratitude and loyalty at the same time, you may feel a little differently.

So whatever good feeling is generated by a bailout, there can still be an undercurrent of suspicion to it.

I don.t think that that suspicion can ever be reduced to zero, but it can be alleviated to a significant degree depending on how matters are handled. As sketched out in the Five Card Charlie case above, sometimes the details of what you do, and even the way you present it or the form you do it in, can make a huge difference in how it is perceived.

Another thing that I believe a lot of people can see through, and that can generate as much bad as good publicity is if you oversell your gesture. If you.re doing something that.s really not significantly different from what you might offer new customers in general, don.t bill it as something more than that. Don.t make it sound like you.re going to honor accounts in full, and hide in the small print all the hoops people are going to have to jump through. Don.t make people read to the end to discover that they aren.t covered by the rescue plan, or that they will only be able to recover a much smaller percentage of their losses than they at first were given the impression.

Whatever help you can offer is great, but don.t make it sound like you.re giving more help than you really are. People will see through it eventually and resent it more than if you hadn.t helped at all.

If I.m hurting financially, and you owe me nothing, and you give me $20, I.ll appreciate that. But if, accompanied by a lot of fanfare and self-congratulation, you very much lead me to believe you.ve got $500 for me and in the end you actually give me $50, I.ll think you.re a prick.

So while it would be a mistake for sportsbooks to think that whatever they do to help stiffed Aces Gold customers and however they do it, they will be hailed as heroes, I do believe that a well-conceived and well-presented bailout can be expected to generate a more modest, but still significant, degree of good will and appreciation for any books willing to make the effort.

3. The indirect benefits to individual sportsbooks of saving the industry as a whole from a major black eye.

The collapse of Aces Gold isn.t the fault of other sportsbooks. If anything, they.ll tell you they warned people about being sucked in by .too good to be true. bonuses and juice free betting, and thus deserve some credit that even more people didn.t get hurt.

But even though they are not the wrongdoers, they will suffer some of the punishment for the wrongdoing.

Customers aren.t going to discriminate the way the sportsbooks might like. They aren.t just angry at Aces Gold, or distrustful of the owners of that sportsbook; they are worried and pissed off about offshore sportsbooks in general. Fair or not, this is going to hurt every sportsbook. Some people will never play offshore again; many people will be willing to risk keeping only much smaller amounts in offshore books than they used to. People will be more suspicious of what sportsbooks do and say, more likely to put a negative spin on what they see. Runs on the bank will be more easily provoked than in the past, as people will rush to make sure they.re not the last ones out, no matter how minimal the signs of trouble.

It.s a bad situation, and really it is so unprecedented that we can only take educated guesses how much worse it could get. Could the loss of business take some sportsbooks under that otherwise would have survived? I think that.s very realistic. Even the.quickly retracted--rumors posted at the Prescription about Aces Gold in January caused not only a run on the bank at Aces Gold, but reportedly significantly higher than usual withdrawals at offshore sportsbooks in general. I can only imagine the impact of its actual collapse. From the ripples of January to the tidal wave of February.

Furthermore, unpaid customers cause trouble. Unpaid customers get weapons and attempt amateurish vigilante operations with unpredictable consequences. Unpaid customers complain to the press. Unpaid customers complain to law enforcement. Unpaid customers complain to anyone in their life who will listen, and those listening will be a lot less inclined to ever post up at an offshore sportsbook themselves.

Aces Gold is gone; there.s not a whole lot of retaliation that can be visited on them. But if Rage, Fear, and Frustration find that there.s no Aces Gold for them to wreak vengeance on, they won.t meekly disappear. They.ll pick a few other offshore bookies to beat the crap out of, just because it.s got to be somebody.

It.s too late for the demise of Aces Gold not to be a big negative for the industry as a whole. The damage cannot be fully undone. But the damage can be partly mitigated, and further damage averted, if the just demands that Aces Gold no longer can or will meet are satisfied to at least some degree by interested third parties, specifically other books.

If stiffed Aces Gold customers can be given a shot to get their money back, even if they have to jump through hoops to get it, and even if they can never be fully restored to where they would have been if things had remained business as usual at Aces Gold after the Super Bowl, then the Rage will be replaced by a milder discontent, the Fear will be replaced by an unnerving close call, and the Frustration will be replaced by something approaching relief.

Any book or books that step forward now to help will be saving the industry as a whole from further embarrassment and loss of consumer confidence, and thereby benefiting themselves in the long run.

4. Material benefits.

We don.t know yet, or at least I don.t, what.s left of Aces Gold. Was it stripped bare, or are there computers, phones, office furniture, etc. still there? Hopefully there are things of value that can be given as partial compensation to any book or books that are willing to bail out Aces Gold.s stiffed customers.

Of most potential value of course is the customer list itself. (And indeed if this list is unrecoverable, and there is no way to ever know who had how much on account at Aces Gold when they went under, then much of what I will propose below is moot.) Aces Gold must have had a huge number of customers, from the squarest square to the sharpest sharp. I doubt there are very many sportsbook customer lists that would be more prized.

But whatever remains of Aces Gold should go to whoever is willing to take on the task of at least partly satisfying Aces Gold.s financial obligations to its customers.

It.s hard to even guess what the remaining assets of Aces Gold are worth, except that it.s not the millions of dollars it would take to cover all that they owe. But at least it.s something, especially with the customer list, and adds a little bit more to the incentive for a bailout.

So in summary, there are several reasons to offer some kind of bailout plan to stiffed Aces Gold customers that is more generous than what it would make sense for the same book to offer the public in general. The factors I.ve listed.humanitarian assistance for crime victims, reaping the good publicity of being perceived as the hero, mitigating the industry-wide damage of this debacle, and obtaining whatever tangible goods and information of value still remains in the Aces Gold ruins.taken alone likely range from minimal weight to somewhat small weight in motivating a bailout. But taken together, I believe they do provide pretty significant incentive.

Enough that sportsbooks should rush to simply hand stiffed Aces Gold customers whatever cash they are out? No. But significant incentive. Enough to provide an answer to the question .Why should we give anything more to stiffed Aces Gold customers than it would be in our self-interest to give to any of our customers or potential customers?.

Whatever that cumulative weight is, that.s the extent to which it makes sense for a bailout, and that.s how much .extra. stiffed Aces Gold customers should get.

II. What General Form Should Such a Rescue Plan Take?

I believe any rescue plan, to be legitimate, must fulfill two conditions (which I have pretty much implied above already):

1. Stiffed Aces Gold customers must receive more than the book would be willing to give other customers.

2. The amount of the Aces Gold balance that they recover must be calculated as precisely that difference between what they receive and what another similarly placed customer would have received who is not a part of the bailout.

If Condition #1 is violated, then basically the rescue plan is a sham. Any connection between it and the bankruptcy of Aces Gold is purely rhetorical, a marketing ploy.

This is the problem that I have with some of the things that have been proposed thus far. They generally seem to want to coax the bookies into offering such a rescue plan by adding so much in the way of rollover requirements and posting up your own additional funds, etc. that whatever they seem to be giving away as part of a bailout, they really aren.t, once you factor in all the strings.

I think we have to be frank and say, no, in fact there cannot be hidden or subtle charges to the deal such that you.re not really giving the player back any of his Aces Gold losses after all (and, again, really not doing anything beyond what you might just as well offer to all your customers). You are giving something away. You are covering losses that are not your responsibility, and doing so for the reasons outlined in Section I. The strategy must not be to set things up in a convoluted enough way that the player thinks he.s getting his Aces Gold money back, when in reality he is not.

Sick Gambler, for instance, has done a good job revealing this flaw in some of the suggestions, showing that really the player being .rescued. would not be any better off with these plans than if he counted his Aces Gold money as permanently lost and simply signed up for whatever sportsbook deals are floating around out there for generic customers.

Yes, a book can probably be talked into giving a huge bonus (and calling it a reimbursement for your Aces Gold losses) if you agree to a one hundred times rollover requirement. But they aren.t doing you any favors. They.d be happy to give the same huge bonus (and not rhetorically connect it to the Aces Gold situation) to anyone who would agree to such an extraordinary rollover requirement.

As further elaboration of Condition #2, consider the Royal plan that has already emerged. It is, in effect, a deposit bonus plan with multiple levels, and I won.t explain the whole thing here. But just to use one level as an example, Royal states that if you were stiffed by Aces Gold and you post up $4,000, they will cover $1,000 of your Aces Gold loss, giving you $5,000 in your account, on the condition that you roll this amount over a minimum of six times.

Now, the question I have is, what is the difference, if any, between what this customer would receive, and what any other customer would receive? (Complicating things is the fact that the plan is basically on the honor system. But leaving that aside, I.m talking about what a customer would receive who is known to have not been stiffed by Aces Gold, not what would be received by someone who successfully deceives Royal on this point.)

First off, let me specify that I.m just going to toss out some ballpark numbers for the sake of fleshing out the example; I haven.t contacted Royal to find out exactly what these figures would be. Let.s say that for a deposit of that size, with that rollover requirement, a normal customer could get 15%, or $600. (The average sign-up bonus is probably more like 10%-12%, but that.s a higher rollover requirement than the norm, so the average for someone who agrees to roll it over that many times I.m guessing would be more like 15%.)

So there is a differential (with my hypothetical numbers, anyway) between what the stiffed Aces Gold customer would get ($1,000) and what the regular customer would get ($600). Thus Condition #1 is fulfilled by the Royal rescue plan.

But that differential is $400, not $1,000. Thus if Royal presents it as giving you $1,000 of your Aces Gold money, Condition #2 is violated.

In some ways, this is just a semantic point, just a point about honest versus dishonest marketing. But it can have practical ramifications as well. For instance, if the money you lost at Aces Gold was only, say, $400, then the way Royal seems to be describing their plan so far, you could only get their 25% bonus on the first $1,600 you deposit. My way of describing it, which I think is the non-deceptive way, you could deposit anything up to $4,000 and get that 25% bonus.

Or say somebody a month from now comes along and takes over the Aces Gold accounts, maybe just the smaller ones, and chooses to honor them in full. (Unrealistic I know; I.m just using this as an example.) You had a balance of $1,000 when Aces Gold went under, and you took advantage of Royal.s offer by depositing $4,000 and receiving a $1,000 bonus. How much, if anything, do you now have in your account at Aces Gold, which is suddenly active again? (Or how much do you still have there if some other book comes along with another piecemeal rescue like Royal`s and you want to participate in that too?)

To me, Royal only covered $400 of your loss. In principle, you still have $600 coming to you. I think that.s the only fair way to calculate it.

But in any case, the kind of plan Royal has come up with, if properly described and calculated, is an example of what I have in mind.

Participating sportsbooks would have, in effect, a two-tiered system. If they give a sign-up bonus, they could add a few percentage points for the Aces Gold rescuees. Same with reload bonuses, referral bonuses, etc. If they give rebates on losses or rebates on total action, they can add a few percentage points. Maybe even things like covering transaction fees that they don.t normally cover, and deduct that from the Aces Gold balance. Or, like Pinnacle, they could give certain juice breaks to the Aces Gold rescuees that they do not offer to all customers across the board.

Again, though, for the integrity of the rescue plan, it has to be unacceptable to offset any such comparative advantages by smuggling in some disadvantages for the Aces Gold rescuees. There can be no, .Oh I.m sorry, sir. We don.t allow you to combine promotions. And since I see you.re in here for the Aces Gold rescue, I.m afraid you.re not eligible for our..

The problem is, a lot of the things sportsbooks give us are discretionary, vary from customer to customer, are haggled over, etc. So it.s not always so cut and dried what the .base. is that the customer would receive were he not an Aces Gold rescuee. Even if they don.t have an explicit policy to deny certain benefits to that set of customers to make up for their .rescue. money, it would be hard to keep them from using it at some level as a factor in their decisionmaking. It would only be natural for a sportsbook manager to, say, be less inclined to give a certain customer a discretionary reload bonus because he.s already given him $1,000 in Aces Gold money that he never owed him in the first place.

I had a friend who owned his own mortgage business. I worked with him briefly and got to see his business from the inside. For a time he had a promotion where any time a person he had already done a loan for brought him a new customer, he would knock $500 off the deal. (I think he gave each of them $250; I don.t remember the details.)

Anyway, we were talking once about this promotion, and he admitted that really the rebate is worthless. There is so much that you can play around with about the interest rate, terms, fees, etc. that he would find a way to charge approximately $500 more to these referral customers, so after their rebate he.d end up making about the same amount on their loans anyway.

This is an example of a sham discount. They weren.t getting their promised $500 off because the base was so ambiguous and so easily manipulated. And if something analogous to this is done in the Aces Gold case, it makes any such .rescue. bogus. Makes it worse than having offered nothing, in fact, because of the deception.

We can think of this as a third condition, but really it.s just a reiteration of the first two. Basically this third condition would be: .And you can.t subtly, surreptitiously, violate Conditions #1 and #2..

So an Aces Gold rescue could come in the form of any kind of .extra. (provided it is calculated and described appropriately, and not subtly revoked in some other form). But now I would like to suggest one specific such plan.

III. A Suggested Rescue Plan

Independent of any and all other current or future promotions, all stiffed Aces Gold customers are to receive a 1% rebate on all money risked, up to a maximum of $10 per wager, payable into their account at the end of each week. A running tally will be kept of how much money has been recouped in this fashion. If and when the total matches what the player had in his Aces Gold account when they went under, the rebate will end.

A few notes about this suggestion:

. This is intended as a very conservative, modest suggestion. Obviously I.d much prefer to see 2%, 3%, 5%, etc., or a higher ceiling or no ceiling. But I.m using a figure that I hope will be low enough that sportsbooks will judge that the considerations I laid out in Section I make it worth it. If they can go above that, then all the better.

. The plan does not make recouping one.s losses an .all or nothing. matter. It is possible in principle to recoup all of your losses eventually, which I see as a big positive, psychologically if nothing else. And doing so would require the equivalent of an enormous rollover requirement. But you don.t have to be intimidated by the seemingly insurmountable task of having to give the sportsbook that huge an amount of action. You can ultimately stop after giving half that much, or a quarter that much, or a twentieth that much, and thereby recoup that same proportion of your losses.

. The cap gives the plan a built-in bias for the small and medium player, which are the level players most sportsbooks would most like to recruit in the first place. A player who lost $200 or $2,000 at Aces Gold can realistically get it all back with this plan. A wise guy who is out $200,000, while there is no explicit rule saying he can.t give enough action to get it back, realistically he.s not going to reclaim more than a small fraction of his loss. But after all, a sportsbook can.t really be expected to agree to a system whereby it gives $200,000 to somebody else.s customer, whereas it might, under certain circumstances, be willing to pick up the pieces for the smaller fry and earn their gratitude.

. If a book chose to, it could extend this to credit players as well as post-up players, which it could not do with a deposit bonus, for instance, since credit players by definition do not deposit.

. The player retains a great deal of flexibility over how much he is willing to risk in offshore accounts, which is a big concern for many right now. So the amount of his losses he is able to recoup is not relative to a lump sum that he posts up with. He can post up with whatever amount he wants, and he can keep his account at whatever low level he is comfortable with. The amount of his losses that he recoups is based solely on how much action he gives the book.

. In keeping with the conditions enunciated earlier, if the book already has in place a rebate on action like this (Game Day, Casablanca, and a few others have modest ones), then of course this means 1% more, not 1% total.

. At least some books I have talked to claim that they would much prefer to wean players from the sign up bonuses and base their promotions on vig discounts or frequent player incentives like this, but that players just won.t go for it. This is an opportunity to get them used to such a promotion. If they turn it down because they.d rather get a conventional sign-up bonus, then they.ll never see their Aces Gold money, so surely almost all of them would be willing to get their money in this form. Then perhaps in the future, more of them will decide that they prefer this to the sign-up bonuses after all.

. Though this could be a plan instituted by just one book, I would like to see multiple books join in, thereby sharing the burden, but also giving the players more flexibility of where to play, and not giving them an incentive to risk all their post-up money in one place.

. Returning to a point I made in the preceding section, the integrity of this plan is out the window if the book disadvantages the stiffed Aces Gold player in any respect compared to its other players. One wishes that there could even be some system of anonymity, where an auditor tells the book how much has been recouped by players collectively each week and disburses it appropriately, without the book even knowing which of its players are or are not participating in the plan. But in any case, certainly we.ll want the book to commit to the Conditions of Section 2, and to encourage players to report possible violations on the forums (e.g., you and your friend are in virtually identical circumstances except you have been getting the 1% back through this plan and he has not, and he gets offered some kind of discretionary bonus that they do not offer you).

. One of the arguments against bailouts in general is that, in the long run, capitalism is better off when people are allowed to fail. The idea would be, if people are reimbursed for the cost of their dumb decisions, then there will be no disincentive to repeating them in the future. People will just go on chasing the highest bonuses and lowest vig, since they now know from experience that someone will bail them out if there.s a problem later. I don.t think that.s really a problem here. I would say that with this plan, first people are scared half to death by the Aces Gold collapse, and then, depending on how much they lost, they have to play weeks, months, years, to get their money back, with even that not being enough time for some to get everything back. Every time they get that little weekly rebate, it.ll be a reminder of what they lost and how long it.ll take to get it back. And there will be no guarantees that they.ll have it even this good next time. That.s hardly a painless outcome that they cannot learn from. It just means that when they touched the hot stove they got burned, rather than having to have their hand amputated.

. The deal can make especially good sense for certain types of books that want to tout certain aspects of their business. For instance, books that are in regulated countries, books that set aside their customer account funds separately, books that don.t have high bonuses, etc. can use their newfound connection with the desperate Aces Gold victims to take the opportunity to send them E-mails and such welcoming them into the plan and lecturing them on why what happened at Aces Gold cannot happen here. (Rather like the Salvation Army making sure you don.t get your free soup without hearing some good old fashion religious propaganda.) Or it could be ideal for a new book like The Devil.s .Majorbetting. or whatever it.s to be called. The day he opens for business he.d have a huge number of customers and a foundation of good will to build on.

. Though the participating books can decide this detail as they choose, I.d like to see the Aces Gold account figure used be the one pre-Major Wager insurance rather than post. Thus if a player lost $3,000 when Aces Gold went under and has so far gotten $500 of that back because of the Major Wager insurance, I.d like to see this gradual rebate plan taken to $3,000 rather than $2,500. Once the player has gotten his remaining $2,500, he can keep giving the book action in order to slowly accumulate Major Wager.s money as well and reimburse them. Major Wager took a huge hit here, and some way of getting them something back would be a positive aspect of any plan.

. Non-sportsbooks can look for ways to facilitate this plan and do their part to control the damage done by the Aces Gold debacle. For example, Major Wager and the other watchdog sites could put up a free banner of some kind for a year or some specified period.called .The Ring of Honor,. .Certificate of Appreciation,. whatever.listing the book or books participating in the plan and thanking them for coming through for the sportsbetting community and its players.

. Alas, as mentioned previously, this plan can only apply to bailout situations where there is an accurate record of player account balances when the sportsbook went under. Time will tell if such information becomes available in the Aces Gold case. If not, this proposal will have to stand as a suggestion for future cases (perish the thought). If no one can ever determine who lost how much money at Aces Gold, then I am not convinced that a genuine bailout plan of even this conservative magnitude can be justified. Anything that must instead be on the honor system would have to be either a much more modest bailout than even what I have proposed, or the kind of sham bailout I described above.

This is an urgent situation. If you can do more, then do more. But let.s get as many books as possible to step up and commit to doing at least this modest 1% plan, to kick in if and when they obtain access to the records of the Aces Gold customers and their final account balances.



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