Several recent incidences of seemingly otherwise upstanding casinos using (what this reviewer considers to be) predatory terms to confiscate winnings have come to light. We have commented on them specifically in the World Casino Directory Forums. While we are not privy to every detail, we can safely assume by the lack of public response to the issues by the casinos in question that the players were valid and played within the general terms and conditions.
I think it’s reasonable to mention that I am a veteran player. I placed my first wagers online in the 1990’s. I am intimately familiar with online casino terms and conditions over the course of my gambling career and as part of my work over the years in various positions. I state this so the reader will know I am not naive or uninformed. I have seen the average T&C pages balloon from a short paragraph or two to what we have today; a lengthy document (or multiple documents) written in legalese and quite possibly beyond the understanding of the common recreational player.
Land based casino bonus terms are never more than a few paragraphs long and hardly possible to breach. There is no reason online casinos can not use their billions in profits to come up with something similar. Following is a “Sign Up Bonus” from The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. This is not unique. Over the years I have seen and taken advantage of at least half a dozen similar offers and was never disappointed. Three such offers have run in Las Vegas this year alone.
$100 ON US
Lose $100 in a Day & It’s On Us. Now Through June 30, 2013.
Play your favorites slots in our casino, and if you lose $100 in a day, we will reimburse you with $100 in Identity Play. Just bring your card to the Identity Membership Desk after your loss to receive your $100 in Identity Play. Players can receive $100 reimbursement one time only and the slot loss must be greater than or equal to $100 on that calendar date. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Available to new Identity enrollments only. Offer only redeemable once. Visit the Identity Membership Desk for more info.
The Cosmo is almost completely server based gaming for slots and video poker. What that means is that you are playing an online slot with the servers located right on the property rather than in another country. It is still server based gaming just like we see online. This particular offer has a 1x play through, or wagering requirement. Do 500 spins at 20 cents, 100 games at a dollar, or one big spin for a hundred dollars and whatever the result, it is yours to keep. (If this offer has a max cash-out it is the first.)
Whatever you win is yours to keep. It doesn’t matter if the funds came from your pocket, a line of credit, comps, winnings from another casino or a cash-back promotion from the casino. You will not be happily playing along and winning, call it a day and head to your room only to be met by security at the elevator where they snatch away your winnings. In Las Vegas a bet laid is a bet paid. Why is that not the case online?
“It’s a simple fact that players must read the terms and abide by them, nothing is going to change that any time soon” is the old saw you might hear from casino defenders, shills, and even some affiliates. How we got to this point can be compared to the old adage of placing a frog in cool water on the stove. Turn on the heat and he’ll get accustomed to it until he has boiled to death. Put a frog in water that is just a tad bit too warm and he will hop right out of the pot. We got here slowly and it has become the norm for people to accept unacceptable terms simply because they have no choice if they want to play with bonus money. And indeed, the solution could be to simply not take a bonus.
But we know bonus promotion is a huge part of online casino marketing and that fact will not change soon. It is this reviewer’s opinion that it is incumbent upon the casino and/or software and/or platform provider to program limiting conditions into the casino client that make it impossible for a player to place an “illegal” bet. If they accept the bet they should pay the result regardless of any term or any condition. Rather than repainting the same tired old slots with so-called new releases month after month, if a proper regulatory regime were in place to enforce the most simple betting contract, they might reinvest their profits in making the playing experience more enjoyable for all. It would certainly not be enjoyable to lose thousands of dollars as the players cases we discussed in the Forums illustrate.
Casinos and game providers have no motive to offer more safeguards than they currently offer. There is no profit motive, and these concerns are businesses. Many are huge corporations who have lost sight (or never saw) the value in providing a truly fair and transparent gambling experience for the recreational player.
We suggest that if our readers decide to play with a bonus that they read the terms closely, discuss them in public, and expect most casinos to void winnings if you deviate in the slightest from the terms you agree to play under. Soon we will be highlighting some of our trusted casinos that have the most reasonable terms and reasonable interpretations in case of a fair and accidental breach of conditions. These things happen. We will also highlight some of the casinos that have lightning fast payout times and always honor a bet laid with no draconian terms or conditions.