For 25 Years OSGA has had gamblers' backs
Do you remember Black Friday? How about the arrest of David Carruthers? The disappearance of Aces Gold? The kidnapping of 5Dimes Tony? OSGA does, because we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and throughout all of those years we have seen it all in the offshore gambling industry.
Founded as a watchdog group for the brand-new off shore gambling industry back in 1998, the OSGA has now served the public for a quarter century by providing exceptional services to tens of thousands of customers. Their efforts have resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in the realm of gambling and sports betting, making them a true originator in their field.
OSGA persevered though several massive sportsbook shut downs, the fall of industry giants like WSEX and Legends, and disappearances and stiff jobs from so many places, like the Dunes, Cascade Sports and BetMayor, while also providing assistance to players and serving as a watchdog for offshore gambling under the guidance of founder Jim Quinn.
Quinn started OSGA with partner Rich Moss in 1998 when there were just a handful of operators and the Internet was accessed through dial-up connections. Moss coined the original company catchphrase – “What Good is winning if You Don’t Get Paid?”, and the company used that motto as a cornerstone for helping players throughout the years. Unfortunately, Moss unexpectedly passed away in 2004.
"When Rich and I started, the offshore gambling industry was truly the wild west and most business was still done by phone. There were only a handful of operators and even fewer that had legitimate websites where player could place a bet," recalls current CEO, Quinn. "We listed three websites for players to go and play safely, SBG Global, Go Sports and ABC Islands. And, all three still operate in some form or another today!"
Quinn continued to build and honor the original company values and over the last nearly 20 years, OSGA Jim has become well known throughout the industry for helping players looking for assistance and sportsbooks who had fallen on hard times. “I am proud of the fact that in all of these years, only one sportsbook that we recommended ever went under, jeopardizing players' funds. But, we still did not sit idly by and when Golden Bets looked like they were on the rocks, we jumped in and orchestrated a deal with another sportsbook in Costa Rica to take on most every client and get them paid.”
Massive Books Shutter Doors
But the biggest hurdle for the fledgling online gambling industry occurred in 2006 when the U.S. government arrested the CEO of BetonSports, David Carruthers, as he travelled through Texas. This was the first domino to fall as BetOnSports, and its affiliated companies were eventually all shut down due to insurmountable legal troubles, causing tens of thousands of players’ funds to lurch into limbo.
"At the time of the shut down, BetonSports was on of the top three or four sportsbooks in the world and we weren’t about to let every single customer get stiffed," said Quinn. "We stayed on the story, hired extra phone operators and worked tirelessly to ensure that players, even those without Internet access at the time, were put in touch with a corporate liquidator to recoup money lost in the sportsbook. Sadly, though we helped over 3000 players get 'on the list', the receiver only paid out pennies on the dollar to players, which was certainly not the outcome anyone wanted."
From the arrest WSEX founder Jay Cohen to Black Friday and the regulation of sports betting companies in the U.S., OSGA has always been on the forefront of the latest gambling scandals and topics. Writers like Hartley Henderson, Glenn Greene and Quinn himself kept the gambling public aware of what was going and what might be coming through the Offshore Insiders, Betting Scene and Rumor Mill weekly columns.
But Quinn and the Off Shore Gaming Association are really known for helping players. Every complaint to OSGA gets researched and every sportsbook or casino that receives a complaint is contacted. The OSGA has handled more than 30,000 complaints and recovered more than 2 million dollars for players, due in part, to the relationship that OSGA has had with operators.
"At one time, I can say, we had met with more sportsbook operators than anyone on the planet. I’ve personally been inside over 50 sportsbook and casino operations and met with everyone from scam artists like Rodrigo Castro to the top bookmakers in the business, like Ronnie Sacco. It’s those relationships that can help players when problems do arise. And they do, at every place, especially years ago."
The OSGA used to spend time hunting down rogue operators and reporting back to the gambling public, but now there are just not as many operators, especially smaller ones. U.S. regulated books have come along and taken quite a large share of the offshore business, while really putting the squeeze o smaller offshore operators. And, the public has gotten smarter over the years recognizing a scam shop and steering clear (or contacting the OSGA first). Thus, the amount of new scam shops is almost nil and most players are more than content to play at worse odds, with smaller promos, in a regulated environment.
"I don’t know if we’ll make another 25 years," Quinn recently joked. "By then, I’ll be Rolling Stones kinda old and 47 states will have licensed and regulated operators." But, Quinn added that there will always be a place for offshore operators. Who knows, maybe more consolidation in the U.S. sports betting market will reduce the amount of choices and then finally, offshore operators will be given the opportunity to get licensed, which is really what everyone offshore has wanted for the last 25 years.