Consumers should watch out for deceptive online sports betting companies, especially when wagering on big events such as the Preakness Stakes, taking place Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown warned consumers on Friday to be aware of companies enticing bettors with so-called “risk free bets” that appear more attractive than they actually are ahead of the running of the Preakness. The state’s online sports betting industry, launched in November, operates through websites and mobile apps.
The AG’s office said in an advisory that the fine print may contain limitations that negate promised benefits. Bettors should be on alert as online gambling has become a target for cybercriminals, the advisory said.
Consumers can check a list of sports betting companies or sportsbooks that have been approved by Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
“Deceptive practices and scams have the potential to overshadow the excitement of sports betting and leave Marylanders vulnerable to financial losses,” Brown said in the advisory, urging state residents to “remain vigilant, conduct thorough research, and exercise caution to avoid financial loss due to misleading tactics.”
The attorney general recommends reading the fine print; checking consumer reviews and ratings with the Better Business Bureau; making sure to use official websites of approved, established sportsbooks; and checking conditions placed by sportsbooks that may limit how and when bettors can cash out winnings.
Consumers also should ignore online gambling pop-up ads and unsolicited emails, text or social media messages that could link to fraudulent websites, the attorney general said.