One thing is certain:
There are a few online gambling sites with a history as colorful as BetOnline. Most of the “big players” started their life knowing they would become relatively big. For BetOnline, they probably never expected to reach as far as they did. That said, they certainly did not run away from opportunities when they presented themselves.
Back in 1991, one man known as Joe Junior started a betting operation that would later become today’s BetOnline. Setting up the shop in New York, he and a handful of associates started running an illegal gambling operation. Not surprisingly, they had a couple of run-ins with the police during the early years.
The government did not look kindly on bookmakers who were in clear violation of anti-gambling laws. Even a relatively small operation was a thorn in their eye and after being charged twice, Joe Junior decided it was time to look for his luck elsewhere. He moved the entire operation to Costa Rica.
Setting up the Shop in Costa Rica
Known as a heaven for online gambling and other companies often conducting their business in the grey zone, Costa Rica was the perfect destination. Setting up their headquarters in a tiny office in the Central American paradise, they were ready to take their business to a whole next level.
The BetOnline name wasn’t their first idea. The company started its life as BestLineSports and they operated using the bestlinesports.com domain in the period 2001 – 2007. Things finally started to develop in the right direction and the company was on the right track.
Growing the Business: BetOnline Idea Comes to Life
The company may have started small, but few years after relocating the business, they started growing exponentially. The growth first started with another guy, going under John Magnum. Magnum was another bookmaker located in Costa Rica with a huge client base.
His business operation started back in 1996 and he became renowned for his personal touch and approach to his clients. This helped him build a sort of trust that wasn’t (and still isn’t) very common in this line of work. Not surprisingly, people were flocking to bet through his company.
It is not clear why exactly the two decided to partner up – but they did – and not long after they moved to bigger, much nicer offices, indicating good things to come. Additional funding came from a group of investors and in 2004, the company moved to Panama.
When BetonSports.com went under in 2006, Joe, Magnum, and others involved saw a window of opportunity. This was one of the biggest sites serving US customers and they knew this was their time to shine. The company brought on Dalto Wagner, former high ranking employee of now closed betting operation.
With Wagner’s contacts in terms of staff, new clients, and other persons of interest, they could do no wrong. Everything was now in place for the company to becomes a huge success and given the experience and business acumen the three of them shared, failure was not an option.
UIGEA Passage: Cornering the US Market
The year of 2006 was one of the most important years for online gambling, including betting and online poker, in the US. It was the year when the infamous Unlawful Internet Gamblign Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed, leading to everything that happened down the line, most significantly the poker’s Black Friday.
Many big operators, most notably Party Poker, were forced out of the market. The risk simply seemed too big for them. The massive exodus left a big gap that needed to be filled and BestLineSports had the guts to do it: hardly surprising, considering the men behind the operation.
It was in 2007 that the company finally became BetOnline, the name it goes by today. With experienced staff in all departments, they were in a great position to become one of the market leaders, as long as they didn’t have an issue with UIGEA’s stipulation prohibiting money transactions involving online gambling.
And they most certainly did not…
Aggressive Gamble Pays off for BetOnline
Was it their experience, willingness to risk, or the fact they knew something others didn’t, the fact is the gamble paid off for BetOnline. After they had set everything up, they went on to add new products, making their offer even more appealing.
It gets better:
In 2011, the US Department of Justice unsealed the indictment against all major online poker and gambling operators offering their services in the States. Their domains were seized and they were quickly pushed out of the market. BetOnline survived the Black Friday unscathed.
With the “big three” out of the picture, namely PokerStars, Full Tilt, and AP/UB, they were given a golden opportunity; it was a type of opportunity that the company like this would not miss on in a million years.
Although some of the original founders were no longer with the company, they hired some new, experienced staff to help them with the newly created situation, immediately added the BetOnline poker client to fill the gap, and ramped up their US-targeted marketing. It was a huge gamble, no doubt, because many who tried this ended up bankrupt.
BetOnline’s Status Today
Today, BetOnline is one of the biggest and most reliable US-facing online gambling and online poker sites in existence. They still have to face many issues regarding deposits and withdrawals, but of all the online poker sites offering their services to US citizens, they are by far the best in coping with these problems.
All things considered, the story of BetOnline is quite impressive. From a small backroom operation in New York, they’ve become a power to be reckoned with. Bold moves at the right time have so far really paid off for them and if nothing changes, they are looking at a bright future ahead of them.