One of the oldest and most newsworthy online sports books in history has closed its doors. World Sports Exchange, most often referred to as WSEX, went offline in the past 24 hours. Visitors to the website are now greeted with a hastily posted message with glaring typos:
“We have been forced to halt business activities at this time due to inadequate capitol resources. The financial position of the company is currently under review and we will keep you informed as to the future plans for WSEX and the repayment or transfer of your balances.”
We sincerly apologize for this unfortunate situation and will be doing everything we can to rectify it as soon as possible.
This closure has been long expected. WSEX fell out of favor back in 2009 as its ability to process payments to players slowed dramatically. The book had previously accepted echecks and a number of these transactions were never processed, similar to what affected Full Tilt Poker’s ability to operate.
By 2010 it became obvious that WSEX was in serious trouble. WSEX sold its share of Matchbook, a US facing betting exchange that was not affected by slow payments, in 2011. This sale did not help clear the backlog of about $1 million in payout requests that were pending. The company eventually lost their license in Antigua but continued to operate.
World Poker Exchange Closed
In 2012, WSEX closed its World Poker Exchange online poker room. The WSEX poker room was the first existing online poker room to attempt rake free poker. This was done as a loss leader to attract poker players that may place casino or sports wagers. It was a great idea that was executed poorly and it eventually hurt the brand’s reputation.
Customer Service Disappeared
WSEX stopped grading wagers or posting new lines earlier this month. Calls to customer service were not getting answered either. It became obvious the book was going to eventually close. Today, it became official; World Sports Exchange is closed permanently.
WSEX Player Balances Likely Lost
There seems little hope for players with a balance at WSEX. Management hints at a potential bailout but if this was a feasible option then it is safe to assume that it would have already happened. Some sports books that fail have been able to find large books to bail their players out. These players are then given a wager requirement to cash out their funds. WSEX has likely been looking for such a bailout for years and never found one. The brand is worthless and most of the players are in the US where authorities have been cracking down on illegal offshore activity.
WSEX and Jay Cohen Indictment
World Sports Exchange was once the leader in online sports betting. The US facing online sports book became the first major target of US law enforcement due to this. Jay Cohen and other WSEX management were named in an indictment. Cohen decided to fight the charges claiming that his actions were not illegal because his company was licensed in Antigua. Cohen lost his fight and served 18 months in a Nevada federal prison. He was also ordered to serve two years probation and agreed not to reenter the online sports betting business. Cohen would ignore the sports betting ban and rejoin WSEX in later years.
WSEX is not the only online sports book to close its doors this week. Legends Sports went offline after being indicted by the US Department of Justice. The group is hoping to find a bailout for their players at this time.