We’ve all heard the old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably…” well that seems to be the case with a “sweepstakes” casino for American players that popped up overnight in mid-August called Slotwow.com. We reported on the operation 3 days after their domain name was registered. The domain is now offline, emails bounce, players have complained about not being paid, and the operators have not responded to voicemail left on the company’s answering system.

One reader here left a comment stating, “This is not a Churchill Downs company. It appears to be a fake.” But when we tried to contact them for further information the email bounced. Another reader commented, “Churchill would have their IP yanked so fast it would make your head spin.” And perhaps they did.

We first learned of the website, that claimed to be an affiliate of Twin Spires and  Churchill Downs through a posting made on the LCB “no deposit casinos” forum that appeared the same day the website went live. That forum is monitored for new subjects being posted but once a thread gets going moderators may not see anything out of the ordinary unless alerted by a member. Looking through 5 pages of comments nothing seems amiss until September 8 when a member posted, “well they took the money and ran. nice scam though.”

In a brazen act of “robbing the bank closest to the police station because they’d never expect it,” the now vanished operation went so far as to run a slot tournament with an entry code of LCBPROMO and used a customer service email for the event of lcbpromo@slotwow.com. The only problem with that is the tournament was not sponsored nor even approved by anyone at LCB. When made aware of the bogus tournament, moderators placed a warning sign on the subject header. However, with the site offline, slotwow can no longer accept deposits.

While it’s a long shot, it is possible someone simply went out to walk their dog, had the slotwow server running as an app on their smartphone, got hit by a truck and then abducted by aliens. If that’s the case, players owed money can expect to see it in their accounts as soon as things return to normal at the sweepstakes casino. Until then, caveat emptor, buyer beware. Novice online players who might have fallen for such a scam in the future can count themselves lucky the website is no longer online, and they can learn a painless lesson.

There is no way to know how much money is owed, but unless the operators were highly skilled hackers they left more than a few bread crumbs for authorities to follow. And while some of the more obvious fingerprints left in their wake may be red herrings and dead ends, clues are sometimes left in plain sight. It’s also possible that the operators may feel they crossed a legal line somehow and got cold feet. If that’s the case they can return all players’ deposits, face the music, and be more careful in the future.

For now, we can only hope that technical difficulties are the only thing standing between slotwow players and their winnings, or at least their deposits. The website service was advertised as sweepstakes. If players did not receive their prizes they could contact their payment provider to reclaim deposits.