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So you got stiffed?

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It’s about 11:00 AM on Monday morning and I’m reaching out to one of my bookies regarding our conversation from the night before.


Hmm, weird. It doesn’t say “Delivered” below the message like usual. No big deal, I’ll continue going about my business. When I open the text conversation later on, the first cause for concern is staring me right in the face.


Oh boy. I’m looking at one of those disgusting green text bubbles. No big deal, he’s probably in an area with bad cell service. Who doesn’t go camping on Monday mornings? Nothing to worry about. He owes me $13,000, but we’ve never had an issue in the past. It’s been a few hours and just to be safe, let’s fire off one more quick message.


Straight to green. F*ck.

What does it mean to get stiffed?

Stiffing is the term sports bettors use for when another party is failing to pay them the money they’re owed. It’s one of the more derogatory terms you’ll find in the betting space and being labeled as a stiff is essentially a death sentence for future business. It means that your promises are no good and more importantly, you’re not good for the money.

Being a stiff is not the same as a “slow-pay.” A slow-play is a person that owes you money, but is taking an extended period of time to pay you in full. Too often, slow-pays and stiffs are lumped together as slow-pays frequently lead to stiffs. However, there’s a massive difference between the two. In one scenario, you’re eventually going to get your money. In the other scenario, the money is long gone. Yes, neither is ideal. But most of us will deal with a slow-pay if we have no other choice.

Join Rob Pizzola and Clive Bixby as they run through each game played on Sunday LIVE to give their instant analysis, reactions and opinions.

Who is likely to stiff you?

Not Gonna Happen - betting at a legal sportsbook (e.g. FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM) operating with a government issued gaming license is not going to stiff you. There are too many legalities and regulators involved to ever let something like that happen to a customer. Now, this isn’t to say you’re not going to run into problems with legal sportsbooks. There are times when these legal sportsbooks don’t know how to interpret their own rules. There are times when a customer has to contact a gaming commission to have the dispute settled by a higher power. But in 99.99% of cases, if you make a bet with a licensed sportsbook, you will be paid your money.

Likelihood Increases - betting with offshore sportsbooks (e.g. Bovada, Bookmaker, Heritage, BetOnline). These outlets are always considered the “gray” area of betting, but it’s really not that confusing. Many of the offshore books have admirable reputations and will treat their customers fairly a majority of the time. However, these are somewhat unregulated sportsbooks. They’re regulated by local jurisdictions, which happen to be places like Costa Rica and Panama. A United States or Canadian (I’m writing for The Hammer so I think I legally have to mention our little brother to the North) regulatory body cannot actively police offshore sportsbooks. If the offshores determine you broke the rules or violated their code of conduct, they will take action as they see fit. This can mean limiting a customer’s bet size, booting the customer altogether, and/or not paying out winnings from a bet.

Yes, there are forums you could reach out to for assistance if you feel as though you were mistreated by an offshore sportsbook. These offshores rely heavily on reputation, but the customer’s ability to seriously dent their reputations seems to be weakening each year. And again, it’s not like you’re able to call up your local legislator and explain that this offshore sportsbook, who’s not paying a cent into your country’s tax coffers, mistreated you and you would like action brought against them. I mean, I guess you could make that call. But it’ll be as useful as an AC unit in Antarctica.

It’s a Matter of When, Not If - betting into a local bookie. These bookies operate pay per head (PPH) websites that look and function very similar to any legal or offshore sportsbook. If you want a more in-depth primer into PPH’s, please check out my previous article for The Hammer detailing Betting Partnerships. The PPH’s are run by any random off the street that has internet access and can afford the $5-15 fee per customer.

Let’s be clear - this is not a legal “gray” area. Running an unlicensed sportsbook is illegal. Accepting bets, accepting payments, and making payments to customers as an unlicensed operator is most definitely breaking laws. I’m not here to judge or persuade bookies as to what they should or shouldn’t do, but I’m also not here to sugarcoat the details. They’re illegal, acknowledge it. However, placing a bet with these local bookies is definitely murkier. Those who I’ve reached out to have assured me that placing a bet is completely above board. If I can’t trust internet acquaintances who I’ve never actually met nor seen, well then I just don’t know what to think.

So you’re betting into a PPH and the relationship is fine. You pay on time, the bookie pays on time, everyone is happy with the arrangement. But maybe you start winning consistently. It could be by accident, it could be that you’ve truly found a way to beat the lines. Either way, you’re winning more than you lose and you start to notice the bookie doesn’t seem super thrilled when the weekly settle arrives. It may have even gotten to a point where the bookie has determined they’re sick of giving you money and the breaking point has been reached. They’ve decided you’re not getting paid your hard earned winnings.

The bookie will normally make the first move (e.g. blocking your phone number) when it comes to stiffing and the chess game officially begins. Actually, hold up. A bookie playing chess is unrealistic. Generally speaking, bookies are far too dumb to play chess. I know I made it seem like anyone can run a PPH, but I have it on good authority that local bookies have to take an IQ test to qualify for the profession. Based on the results of this IQ test, they get the following options:

IQ Score



Employed by The Action Network


Run a local book


Be friends with Joey Knish


Qualify as a normal person

When you’re stiffed by a local bookie, the options you have available for collection are extremely limited. But to state the obvious, you can’t go to local authorities. Even if you worked up courage to tell them about how you bet into a local and he’s not paying you, there’s about a 0.2% chance they care to investigate. Hell, there’s a higher probability the officer is betting into that local than of them helping you get the money. So what are you going to do? Who are you going to call? Please don’t say Ghostbusters, you smartass.

Do’s/Don’ts and other things to consider.

You’re going to be upset when you realize a stiff is happening, especially if you haven’t dealt with many in the past. Let that anger fuel you, but don’t let it impact the decisions you make. Try to develop a logical process you can follow as you attempt to collect your money. Listed below are things I would remember, consider, and prioritize as I’m dealing with a stiff.

  • They are in the wrong - not you!
    • Humans are weird. We’re conditioned to live with the status quo and not kick up a fuss when things don’t go our way. We’re afraid to send food back when the server brings us something we didn’t order. We’re supposed to push through and learn from the experience so it doesn’t happen again. Be obedient little boys and girls. Well, I’m not okay with any of this. There’s a scumbag attempting to withhold money you won, fair and square. They made the decision, not you. They put you in a bad spot. They are in the wrong. I’ve talked with people who got stiffed and I swear, by the end of their story, they’re making it sound like it’s their own fault, not the bookie. It’s absolutely absurd! Never forget who the bad guy is.
  • It’s 2022, not 1952.
    • Physical violence isn’t happening. We live in a world with rules and laws. Would you like to take a crowbar to this lowlife bookie’s knees? Yep. Are you actually going to do this? No, because you’re a sane, rational person who will spend many years in prison for dishing out sweet justice for an amount of money that’s relatively insignificant. Threatening any type of physical violence is unrealistic and counterproductive to your end goal.
  • Figure out who you can reach out to for help.
    • The gambling community frequently gets a bad rap, and much of the time, it’s well-deserved. However, you would be surprised at how many people are willing to help you resolve a stiffing situation. It’s such a terrible, unfair decision on the part of the bookie that it causes people, who wouldn’t normally interact with one another, to work together against a common enemy. Start reaching out to people you’ve seen Tweet about stiffing. Send some messages in chats that are filled with other sports bettors. You may think you’re alone, but you’re far from it. Best case is that you encounter a person that can help you get paid. Worst case is no one is able to help and you’re in the exact same position. There’s only upside in reaching out to the community.
  • The stiff doesn’t want to work this out with you.
    • They’ve probably blocked your number because they don’t want to pay and they don’t want to argue about it. I’m a very direct person and I always want to talk through an issue. “If we can talk this over I can get them to see the light!” This is a stupid thought. Do not let this stupid thought enter your brain. I’ve realized bookies have no plans of discussing why you’re being stiffed because it makes the bookie admit to several things, such as:
      • They’re a scumbag piece of shit.
      • They’re in the wrong and making a terrible decision.
      • There’s almost no scenario in which they come off looking like a good person.
      • They’re a brokedick loser.

I’m not saying to give up trying to contact the bookie. But when you do finally find a way to reach him, your sole focus is getting paid the money you’re owed. As tempting as it may be, do not dig into why the stiff is happening or attempt to figure out why the bookie did this in the first place. Your only goal at that point is to get the money.

  • The stiff is going to dish out some impressive spin zones.
    • There’s a chance the stiff doesn’t actually block you on all communication platforms. Instead, they continue speaking with you and coming up with an incredible combination of guilt trips, lies, sob stories, and excuses. When you do this long enough, you’ll eventually hear all the classics.
      • “Sry bro, a bunch of my players lost but they won’t pay me. Imma try to get you next week.”
      • “”Sorry man, been going through some crazy family stuff. Will try to get something to you in the coming days.”
      • “I was told you were using a bot. That’s against our rules and I’m not paying.”
        • love this one. Not only do they have zero clue whether a bot was being used, but they’re citing rules on an illegal betting website. It would be like robbing a bank, but having rules during the robbery….”No guys, we DO NOT push the bank teller to get them to fill the cash bags faster. NOT COOL.”
  • Determine how far you’re willing to go.
    • Alright, this is where it gets extremely subjective. You’re pissed off that you’re being stiffed and emotions are running high. We’ve already established violence will not be used, but with that off the table, what routes are you willing to take? I would recommend taking stock of your current personal situation. Questions to ask yourself:
      • Is this an amount of money that’s worth pursuing?
        • I’m a vindictive SOB and want to go after any book that’s trying to stiff me any amount of money. THEY NEED TO FEEL THE WRATH. Don’t be like me - evaluate whether this money means something.
      • Are you single or do you have a family? 
      • Do you have a public facing job? Would it hurt your career if this financial spat somehow became known around the office?
      • If you go super hard at this bookie, what kind of potential blowback is there in the future?
      • Are you breaking the law?
    • Whatever you end up deciding to do, be prepared to live with the consequences. We’re all guilty of wanting a one size fits all solution to our problems, but every stiff is unique and should be treated as such. Make decisions that help get you paid, but ensure the decisions aren’t going to cause unwanted collateral damage.
  • There’s a good chance you aren’t getting paid.
    • It’s pretty simple - this guy is trying to stiff you because they probably don’t have the money. So many of these bookies are operating a book that relies almost entirely on the losers to pay the winners. It’s why the normal setup is for losers to pay on Monday, winners get paid on Wednesday/Thursday. While this is a common method of running a book, you can see why it lends itself to a bookie stiffing. They don’t want to take the chance of being stiffed themselves, so they pass the responsibility to their other players to get you paid, when in reality, their other players have absolutely nothing to do with your weekly performance.
      • Side Note: if you find a bookie that pays you first thing Monday morning (or even late Sunday night) without you asking, you’ve found a unicorn in the betting space. Maintain that relationship, treat him well, be fair. That’s the way a bookie should run their business. Also, on weeks you lose, return the favor. Reach out to them first thing Monday morning and ask where you can send the payment. Send the payment in full, be professional, be polite.
    • Back to the original point. You essentially have to enter into this chess match assuming you’re not getting paid. Even when the bookie does have the money to pay you, they’re going to try every deceitful and scumbag rationalization to not hand over the cash. If you have to swallow some pride and accept some insults, I recommend doing it to the point you can take. Maybe you have to accept a slow-pay over the course of multiple weeks or months. In my opinion, getting something is better than nothing, but don’t ever settle for less until you absolutely have to.

Effective methods of getting paid.

Based on my networking, I’ve heard that the following methods can persuade a bookie to do the right thing and pay you the GD money you’re rightfully owed.

  • Calling the bookie at work.
    • Remember how we established running an unlicensed sportsbook is illegal? Well funny enough, many of these bookies aren’t actually doing this as their sole source of income. They have regular jobs where I assume they function as a regular human. So weird, because you’re seeing them behave as an asshole, POS human. Anyways, figuring out where they work and placing a call to their office line seems to really catch their attention. It’s so weird - it’s like they don’t want to talk about their booking business while at work! Please be as pleasant as possible, explain why you’re calling, and maybe ask how their day is going. Manners go a long way, people.
  • Create a website.
    • There are so many free website options available I don’t need to list any. But to catch the bookie’s attention, you may want to create a website devoted to them and all of their wonderful accomplishments. You can highlight their financial success by posting screenshots of the payments you made to them through the various cash transferring apps. You can highlight their business acumen by posting screenshots of text convos where they explained how big their “business” has grown. You can highlight their superb knowledge of the legal system by posting the bookmaking laws of the state they reside in - there’s no way they haven’t memorized these, right? This is your chance to give the stiff the love they deserve - get creative!
  • Reach out to mutual acquaintances.
    • Maybe start with the person who originally hooked you up with the account. Now, based on what I’ve heard, there’s a good chance the bookie proactively blocked anyone that could contact them on your behalf. Even when those other contacts did absolutely nothing wrong. If that’s the case, look into their social media following. Try to DM with people you know they’ve interacted with. Again, even if it goes nowhere, you’re back in the same spot. Cast a wide net and see what you come up with.

From the Community

Having a great stiff story is a badge of honor in the betting community. We like to swap stiff stories as if we’re old war heroes recounting our glory days battling the enemy. Below are a few stories that should help you connect with the rest of us recovering stiffees.

#1: Everyone is a Tough Guy…..Until They’re Not

I did have a bookie in Chicago back in 2014.  It was a referral from a guy who was a regular at my neighborhood bar.  Lived in one of the high rises at the base of this local bar.  Was called Jefferson Tap in the west loop if that matters.  Anyways, the book owned a Toyota dealership in the city.  I got a small account. I went on an insane heater and couldn't lose.  And I always had a habit of taking screen shots of every bet placed and then every bet graded cause these fuckers love to delete bets if they get in too deep.

So I was betting nickels and the bulk of the winnings came on NFL halftime parlays.  I was parlaying 2h moneyline dogs to the total of the same game. Some books allow it, some don't.  This one did.  And I hit some nickel parlays of +300 to the -110 total.  I won like 18k and change or something like that.  And the guy went back and deleted all those bets saying they weren't allowed.  And he claimed he did it before the halftimes were done.  But I knew that to be false cause I had the screenshots.

So my buddy from the bar who gave me the account is in the middle of it and wants out so just puts me in touch with first his agent who was a real wanna be tough guy telling me to get fucked. So I had my buddy give me the info of the actual book who owned the Toyota dealership. He tried to tell me the same shit.  Bets were deleted shortly after they were made blah blah blah. But going back to if the book can actually pay and if they have something to lose, he absolutely could and absolutely did. So I made a website about him. But this website I doxxed everything. His name, DOB, SSN, and copies of his credit report.  Knew a guy in Vegas who could get all that shit.  I put it on a site and sent it to him.  Said he could pay me for the website admin. Otherwise it was getting sent to every dealership employee. Dude paid that week.

#2: Sorry honey, but I would just hate this dog.



So this kid owes me a few thousand dollars. He’s also an “anonymous” twitter tout. Of course he blocks me on all cash payment apps, social media, everything. All the while he’s still posting plays on his twitter, but has removed replies. So I look him up (based on previous payment transactions) and there’s a ton of public information about him. Where he went to school, where he works, etc. So I contact his mom and play it off like we’re good friends. Make some small talk, make her laugh. I tell her to tell him to give me a call because I haven’t heard from him in a while. He unblocks my number, messages me he will have the money over shortly, and pays the debt in full.

Stiffing is no fun, stiffing will happen to everyone.

Getting stiffed money you legitimately won hurts, it really does. It can really skew your view of the betting world, and I don’t blame you one bit. We all want to operate in a fair and just environment. Please remember that when it happens, there are things you can do and people that are willing to help. Oh, and karma is a real thing. That stiff will get theirs one day, I promise.



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by our Community Content writers do not reflect the opinions of The Hammer Betting Network nor our affiliates. The Community Content opinions are based upon information that the writer considers reliable, but neither The Hammer Betting Network nor its affiliates, nor the companies with which such participants are affiliated, warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such.