Sports Betting Sites has added Anonibet to our sportsbook rating guide at C-. Their sportsbook launched in 2011 as a website for wagering bitcoins anonymously. For reasons they are the most established bitcoin gambling site, and since June 2014 have been a Gold Member of the Bitcoin Foundation, they have some leverage to use in their marketing. However, we advise non-members of the bitcoin community that are just now discovering them, to read this article before making a deposit.
Lack of Detailed Betting Rules
One of the first things we noticed in our evaluation of Anonibet is that their website lacks detailed betting rules. Most online sportsbooks spell out rules specific to each sport. The most legit ones use rules that are fair for both the player and themselves. These cover all possible scenarios and then are used to govern or mediate any occasional disputes that come up.
The only place we found betting rules at their website was section 3 of their terms and conditions which is less than 900 words. Half of those cover explanations and additional terms. What is left covers only the basics. While other bitcoin books we spot-checked have followed the top fiat currency ones in listing detailed sports specific rules, for some reason Anonibet has not done so.
Poor Odds Offset by Risky Bonus Terms
This is by far the biggest issue for players to be aware of, and it will take multiple paragraphs to explain it in full detail. The short is that Anonibet offers poor odds on the surface, but these are offset by a deposit bonus. The bonus is however highly exploitable yet lacks clearly defined rules that govern what is and was is not allowed.
Their terms and conditions then give them to right to remove bonus (plus winnings from bonus) from players’ accounts retroactively in the case of bonus abuse, a term which is not defined anywhere on their website. Again there are no rules to cover what is and what is not allowed. This is all explained in more detail in the sections below.
Without a Bonus, Anonibet’s Odds are Poor
For the easiest to view illustration of poor odds visit their live betting platform. Next, a more popular sportsbook, www.5dimes.eu has a section accessible only when logged in called Live Betting Plus which is an exact match. These two sites use the same provider. Every match and market that Anonibet offers in-play is also offered at 5Dimes. The time in which odds move and get taken offline and everything else is all synced. Compare them side by side, and you will quickly notice, Anonibet NEVER has the best in-play odds because their margins are higher (they use more juice).
For prematch markets it depends what are betting on how competitive the odds are. There are some wagers that are near industry standard. For example at the time of this review I’m looking at a La Liga football (soccer) match. For the 1X2 market of home/draw/away they are using a 105.27% overround, which means they stand to average paying out 100 per 105.27 they take in bets. Better is available elsewhere, but this is still in the range of what many European books offer.
For the same match covered above Anonibet has draw no bet, which is moneyline betting, priced at home 1.50 (-200) / away 2.40 (+140) which gives them a 7.7% advantage. The same exact odds are used for the primary over/under market. Thus while there are some reasonable margins, there are MANY others that are poor for the player betting soccer here.
Looking next at NBA basketball, for this sport Las Vegas and full juice online sportsbooks offer point spreads at 1.909 (-110 American odds). Most bitcoin books including Nitrogen and Cloudbet, as well as some fiat currency books such as Pinnacle and 5Dimes, offer these at 1.94 (-106 American) or better. At Anonibet these are 1.90 (-111.11 American) thus their odds have higher margins than found elsewhere. I leave it at this for examples and encourage bettors to compare other sports and markets on their own.
Anonibet Bonus Offer
As already mentioned, their poor odds are offset by the fact they offer deposit bonuses. As long as a player has had no withdrawal in the past 48 hours, each deposit they make is matched 10%. The bonus is very similar to being a cash bonus. How it works is any wagers you make use the bonus cash first. If you make a bet that involves bonus cash and win, you still have the bonus. While you can’t cash out the bonus, you can keep betting with it until it is lost. Where it gets odd is this bonus carries only a 1X Rollover of deposit + bonus before full balance can be cashed out.
The ways in which this can be exploited number more than I care to count. It is even possible to do the 1X rollover at any odds including 1.01 (-10000 American). The full terms of the bonus are as follows:
5.05 The minimum deposit eligible for the Deposit Bonus is 10 mBTC (0.01 BTC).
5.06 The Deposit Bonus will always remain as a bonus and cannot be withdrawn. The Deposit Bonus winnings can be withdrawn when the following criteria is met. In order for the customer to withdraw his deposits and winnings (including bonus winnings) without affecting the Deposit Bonus they need to place bets equivalent to the amount deposited (1 time rollover).
5.07 The Deposit Bonus will not be given to customers who would have made a withdrawal 48 hours prior to the deposit.
5.08 In cases of abuse by players, the Deposit Bonus and its winnings will be cancelled without explanation. Anonibet reserves the right to change the promotion rules and to terminate the promotion if it deems it necessary.
These are of course vague and the problem comes with rule 5.08. It is obvious that optimal strategy, if allowed, would be to only bet when having their bonus. But their rules are super vague and simple without any real mention of what is and what is not allowed. They just have that catch all rule which gives them the right to after the fact retroactively remove winnings that came from bonuses by claiming “bonus abuse”. However bonus abuse is an entirely a subjective term not defined anywhere on their website. So here is what I was thinking in terms of potential ways they can benefit from this set up:
- Betting without a bonus, players average worse odds here than they could most everywhere else. Most markets at Anonibet are only competitively priced when a bonus is used to offset their high margins. Recreational players who do not know any better are the concern here.
- When players that used a bonus cash out, they have added risk. It is within their terms and conditions for Anonibet to look at this player’s betting activity and decide if any of it constitutes bonus abuse. Again, bonus abuse is not defined on their website, and this decision can be made while owing the player a payout and is all done under only their own discretion with no explanation required. If they wish, they can then make adjustments paying this player less than expected.
- Serious bettors as opposed to bonus whores, arbers, and recreational players, don’t think in terms of bonus but rather in effective odds. They handicap the match, calculate their effective odds and Kelly stake based on these. A player doing so who had similar betting activity as someone under scenario 2 who happened to lose is certainly not going to get their balance adjusted in reverse. This one is important to understand. Players who have a clue and do what might have been considered “bonus abuse” under the above scenario had they won, but happened to lose, are not going to get equal treatment. This adds to giving Anonibet a huge unfair advantage.
After considering the above, at this point in my evaluation of their website, I became concerned enough to ask Anonibet directly in their support thread over at bitcoin talk about this. To try keeping it simple, what I asked is, if someone only bets the amount of their last deposit + the bonus, on two way markets priced 1.90 on each side, and repeats and repeats never betting without a bonus is this bonus abuse? If so, what if they did this 50% of the time is that bonus abuse. How about 25% or 10%. Where is the threshold that defines abuse? Because again, optimal strategy is to only bet with a bonus. What I was attempting to determine with my questions is how often can we then bet with a bonus and have Anonibet not decide to call it abuse and take our winnings after the fact.
They did comment in that thread, but either missed the full nature of, or dodged, my specific question. But my concern proved to have merit. The first response from a player to my question was from someone who appears legitimate (owns a precious metal company marketed on the web). He showed up claiming to be one of their latest victims. He alleges he had over 5 BTC deducted when requesting a payout by them claiming bonus abuse. He disputes the merits of the deduction and demands payment. I further tried digging to get my questions about bonus abuse answered, before their rep provided the forum with this response:
We do not enter into this kind of discussion, however I would like to underline few points.
1. Yes, we are proud to be the first Bitcoin bookmaker to be launched in 2011, when only few people knew about Bitcoin. The next Bitcoin sportsbook was launched 1 year after us.
2. Michael Hoshford is NOT CEO of Anonibet. In fact Anonibet does not have a CEO. We have 35 employees in total for the time being and we are actually hiring more people to grow further Anonibet.
3. The Deposit Bonus we are giving can be subject to abuse, we are perfectly aware of it. In fact we launched the Deposit Bonus in order to encourage NON-Bitcoin punters to switch to Bitcoin. We are fervent believers of Bitcoin, and we are putting all our efforts to promote it anywhere anytime. Unfortunately, some people pretending being from Bitcoin community are abusing our Deposit Bonus by placing 300 single bets per day on odds as little as 1.01 in order to make some extra Bitcoins. Bonus hunters only job is to place bets all day long to make few Bitcoins, this is a clear abuse and it is our right to cancel their bonus and bonus winnings (only).
4. These abusers will not stop Anonibet efforts to promote Bitcoin to NON-Bitcoin communities. We will introduce new terms and conditions in order to prevent them in the near future.
This post was not directed specifically at me, but they acknowledged they do not have these types of discussions and failed to address my concerns in specific which had been raised more than once. Again, if someone bets 100% of the time with a bonus, is it abuse? If they bet 50% is it abuse? How about 25% or 10%? As already covered, having subjective terms, not clearly defined, can allow them a huge unfair advantage. They get to decide after the fact to make adjustments with no guidelines on what is and what is not abuse.
Positive Things About Anonibet
Not all of course is negative about this website. They have a lot of things going right and I began my research evaluating them without having a bias either way. To discuss some positives, Anonibet has the most accessible customer support of all bitcoin betting sites. They have live chat right on their website and have a considerable presence at bitcoin industry forums.
They also use an ideal banking policy that forces deposits to always be sent to a new address. This helps prevent e-wallet exchanges that their clients might use from detecting the nature of transactions. Thus it keeps their own bitcoins safer and client’s access to their e-wallet accounts for future transactions safe as well.
They offer optional 2-step authentication. They have neat features for quickly finding matches that are about to start. And have many other positives going for them as well.
For players interested in supporting the bitcoin industry as a whole, the fact Anonibet is a Gold Member of the Bitcoin Foundation is a positive too. For everyone else this is neutral. As the foundation states:
Membership in The Bitcoin Foundation, Inc. is not an endorsement by the Foundation of any company, individual, or entity. The Bitcoin Foundation does not endorse, certify, or otherwise approve of any service, product, content, or information offered or displayed by any member, whether via its website or otherwise.
Simply put, being a Gold Member means Anonibet joined the foundation and pledged at least $25,000 per year in annual membership dues to support core bitcoin development. Again, to bitcoin enthusiast this is a plus, to everyone else it is mostly neutral.
Our Rating of Anonibet Explained
There are many factors we consider when evaluating a website. One is how fair their betting rules are. We also look for gotcha terms that can be used to rob players. When we find sites where everything appears fair, we next look at how their risk management appears. Do they have reasonable betting limits. Are there areas to exploit such as slow moving odds, badly priced alt markets, etc. If there are, do they limit player. The list goes on and on. We go further from there, but…
Our evaluation of Anonibet just didn’t go well right out of the gate and stalled with the above. Their terms and policies found in print do not conform to industry standards of fair gaming. One big reason is just a lack of detailed sports specific rules. From there, if they actually offered all players what they claim to with the bonus, they would go broke in a hurry. It is highly exploitable. Thus, we want to see terms and conditions and software functionality that offsets this. Instead we found…
They are using a model that involves poor odds offset by a bonus. That bonus has vague terms which has a catchall subjective rule as the only safeguard against bonus whoring and advantage play. This combination can be used in a way that gives Anonibet an unfair advantage and can also put even recreational players at undue and unexpected risk.
Now chances are reasonable enough that what is covered above originated without malicious intent on their part. But, if so, it could suggest a lack of experience in the gambling industry or carelessness which would be causes for concern too.
In summary it is difficult to know if they are at all even remotely serious about adhering to generally accepted industry standards of fair gambling principle. Plus, in our strong opinion, their model of odds/bonuses offered have a long way to go towards being acceptable too.
The ideal way for an online sportsbook to offer a bonus, is to have the software block anything that is not allowed. How it works elsewhere is if a site lists in their rules that bonuses can only be bet at odds 1.50 (-200) or greater, at that site it is not even possible to use the bonus at odds that are less. So they should figure out a fair bonus and use their software to block anything allowed. Next, ideal terms should only reserve the right to terminate player’s eligibility for future bonuses on an account by account basis, but should not allow a site to make retroactive adjustments to a player’s balance over bonuses they took before becoming ineligible. That’s one of the biggest areas they need to fix.
Of course, there are also risks the mere nature of anonymous gambling poses. Those are however outside the scope of this article, as there were these more pressing issues about Anonibet to cover. Hopefully, this article did a good job explaining those. We will reevaluate them in the future. For now they are rated C- as there is just too much to advise players about before sending them there direct.