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Placing a Super Bowl bet on the Eagles? Use these tips to recognize costly scams

As Pennsylvanians gear up to watch their Philadelphia Eagles compete for a Super Bowl championship this weekend, state officials are urging fans to also watch out for illegal scams.

In addition to sports betting scams, common swindles surrounding the annual Super Bowl include fraudulent game tickets and merchandise. Those risks are heightened for Pennsylvanians as the Eagles head to Arizona to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, acting Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said in a statement.

“Everyone enjoys the Super Bowl, and in Pennsylvania, we are all excited that the Philadelphia Eagles are heading to the big game again,” Henry said. “However, big sporting events like the Super Bowl also attract scam artists, and our Bureau of Consumer Protection stands ready to protect consumers if something goes wrong with their ticket purchases.”

Pennsylvanians are projected to spend more than $65 million in Super Bowl bets, according to gambling industry site PlayUSA. In total, the game could prompt a record-breaking $1.1 billion in bets across the legal sportsbooks in 33 states, plus Washington, D.C., according to PlayUSA’s forecasts.

“Pennsylvania has become a reliable workhorse for the US sports betting industry, seemingly unphased [sic] by launches in neighboring states and the effects of fatigue that are appearing in some mature markets,” Eric Ramsey, the lead analyst of Catena Media, an online gambling marketer, told PlayUSA. “It’s hard to quantify the impact of the Eagles’ participation as it relates to volume, but it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see local operators blow this forecast out of the water.”

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The heightened betting market surrounding Super Bowl LVII brings increased risks for consumers, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent warning. The bureau’s scam tracker says it’s already receiving reports from victims who’ve fallen for new scams.

“I deposited money to put a wager for a sports game. I won the bet [and] attempted three times to cash out and three times it was declined. Spoke to their representative, and they needed a picture of my driver’s license, a photo of myself holding my ID, and a blank check from my bank. With all the run around I’ve been given, it prompted me to read their reviews. All horrible reviews of a scam. Called my credit card company to file a fraud report,” one victim reported to the BBB Scam Tracker.

It’s hard to avoid scams entirely, but there are steps you can take to keep your money safe. Here’s what you should know.

How to spot a sports betting scam

Sports betting scams have evolved over time, but most seek to illegally elicit consumers’ money or steal personal information such as Social Security numbers and credit card details. Consumers who bet on illegal sites have no legal protection on their wagers, their identity or their financial information.

The best way to avoid a sports betting scam is by placing bets with established, approved services, often known as “white-listed” sportsbooks. Bettors in the U.S. can browse this updated ESPN list, also available at, to see where sports betting is legal.

More than a dozen legal online sportsbooks currently operate in Pennsylvania, including, but not limited to, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Barstool and BetRivers. Before placing a bet, make sure you trust the service you’re using. All legal betting services in the commonwealth are required to display the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board logo somewhere on their site or app.

Pennsylvania’s legal betting services are required to display the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board logo somewhere on their site or app. Photo provided
Pennsylvania’s legal betting services are required to display the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board logo somewhere on their site or app. Photo provided

Additionally, remember to look for responsible gambling resources, including deposit and time limits, which the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board requires sportsbooks to make available. An absence of such resources can indicate an unregulated platform.

Establishing trust with a sportsbook is a key step before moving ahead with betting. Some popular sportsbooks, such as DraftKings, may require consumers to provide personal information such as their date of birth and Social Security number before they’re allowed to deposit or participate in live games. Providing personal information to untrustworthy solicitors can be costly.

Also, make sure you know the difference between legal and illegal bets in Pennsylvania. Per the state’s gaming control board regulations, legal sportsbooks can offering betting markets that cover:

  • Professional athletic events

  • Collegiate athletic events

  • Professional motor race events

  • International team and individual athletic events

However, Pennsylvania prohibits wagers placed on sports-related events that occur outside the field of play, including the following:

  • NFL Draft

  • Non-game-related Super Bowl props (including the coin toss, the color of the post-game Gatorade bath, etc.)

  • Player props in college sports

  • Award shows

  • Amateur sporting events (unless otherwise approved by the board)

Consumers are encouraged to avoid tempting advertisements, including email spam and gambling-related pop-up ads. Be sure to read the fine print on any agreements offering incentives or bonuses for placing certain bets. Much like a sales pitch, they can be deceptive, the BBB warns.

If something seems too good to be true, there’s a chance it is.

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Make sure you read up on the terms of service for any sportsbook you use. Even legitimate betting sites can freeze winnings and restrict user activity due to frequent success or “irregular playing patterns,” Lifehacker says.

Cryptocurrency is not an available payment form on legal betting sites in Pennsylvania. Sportsbooks that offer it as an option for wagers are likely illegal, according to industry site BettorSafe.

BBB resources are available to help consumers spot lookalike websites and detect scam apps.

Quick tips to spot sports betting scams

While sports betting scams are varied and complex, there are a few general pointers you can always keep in mind:

  • Legal sportsbooks in Pennsylvania are required to display the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board logo on their websites and apps. They must provide responsible gambling resources and will never accept payments in cryptocurrency.

  • Be diligent in your assessment of online sportsbooks. Even official outlets may ask for your personal information.

  • Illegal sites may offer enticing first-time offers to trick new consumers. Thoroughly read the terms of service before offering payment or signing any paperwork.

How to report a scam in Pennsylvania

Those who believe they are victims of a betting scam are encouraged to report their stories through the BBB’s ScamTracker, which archives reported scams for public use. In 2021 alone, the database helped consumers avoid losing approximately $31 million to scammers, the nonprofit said.

Visit the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s website to file complaints and disputes with online and land-based casinos, online sportsbooks and more. Submissions are accepted within 30 days of reported incidents.

Those who believe they are victims of a Super Bowl ticket, travel service or merchandise scam are encouraged to file a complaint with Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting the office’s website, emailing or calling 800-441-2555.

If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, help is available by calling 1-800-522-4700. A full list of resources is available by visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling’s website.