Over the Easter holiday weekend, visitors to the site were greeted with a notice indicating that the site was “now closed.” The notice instructed players with outstanding balances to contact an email address to resolve their situation. Bitcoin-only online sportsbook Coinbet.cc has closed its doors mere months after the site first launched.
All outstanding debts and accounts will be paid out in accordance with the arrangement made by Coinbet and the sale of all related assets. Despite these vague assurances, few Coinbet players appear convinced they’ll be made whole anytime soon. Estimates of the total sum owed to Coinbet players range as high as $5m. Players responding to the notice have been contracted by a "liquidation firm" claiming to have been retained by Coinbet "to ensure proper liquidation of all assets".
Michael Katz and the Bonus from Hell
One Coinbet player who likely won’t be getting satisfaction is poker player Michael Katz, who claims Coinbet stiffed him for $340k. Just one day before Coinbet’s site went dark, Katz started a lengthy and screenshot-heavy thread at Bitcointalk.org detailing his frustrations with attempting to withdraw funds from Coinbet.
In a nutshell, Coinbet claimed Katz had failed to meet his bonus rollover requirements and therefore wasn’t eligible to withdraw any funds. Katz was betting tens of thousands of dollars at a time, depositing 28 times and zeroing out his account on 25 occasions, yet his rollover requirement continued to grow, ultimately topping $2.2m.
Suspecting Coinbet was employing some kind of cumulative rollover requirements, Katz contacted Coinbet support, who initially told him he “would only need to clear your CURRENT bonus, to meet rollover requirements.” The support staff went on to say they’d “never heard of ‘cumulative bonuses,’ but it certainly doesn’t sound fair or reasonable.”
But a later email from Coinbet support told a different story, saying Katz had never zeroed out his account and therefore “you’ve always been betting on a portion of bonus funds.” Seems Coinbet’s software would only display player balances in terms of dollars on the home page, while showing the true balance – which displayed dollars AND cents – on a secondary display on the transactions page.
While Katz argued that the $0 balance displayed on the home page led him to believe his account had been emptied, Coinbet insisted that his account had never actually hit absolute zero, therefore his rollover requirements continued to climb. Katz eventually convinced Coinbet support to reduce his rollover requirement to $554k, only to have the company reverse its position after getting “a lot of pushback from management about this.”
The First Rule Of Coinbet Is...
When a frustrated Katz told support he was thinking of going public with his problems, he was told that doing so would result in the immediate closure of his account. Sure enough, Katz discovered this clause in Coinbet’s Terms & Conditions:
“By joining CoinBet.cc, you agree to keep all experience, winnings, losses, payouts, disputes, and gameplay confidential and are forbidden from releasing any information publicly, including but not limited to, message boards, news agencies, forums, blogs, or other websites, without the express written consent of CoinBet.cc. Any information publicized without the express written consent of CoinBet.cc will result in immediate termination of the account in question and forfeiture of any winnings or account balances.”