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Free Casino Bonus Money Red Tape: Part II – Multiple Accounts and Multiple Bonuses

4 March 2010 by Devon Chappell

As part of the OCS blog series about casino bonus red tape, we’d like to discuss the concept of “multiple accounts”. For most of the seasoned online gamblers out there, it is common knowledge that online casinos do not permit you to open more than one account. And not just one account per person. It’s one account per household. In other words, if both you and your spouse open an account, well then, when it comes time for either one of you to cash out your winnings, you will be denied – and that sucks. And it doesn’t end here either. There’s the notion of multiple accounts within a single online casino network. Sure, it’s allowed, but it’s a trickier matter when pertaining to welcome bonuses – more on that further in this post.

One of the main reasons why all online casinos impose this rule is because of bonus abuse and fraud, and hence the reason why the universal rule of one account per household should be classified as bonus red tape. Understandably, online casinos cannot afford to give unlimited bonus money to their players. They wouldn’t be able to stay in business. And a welcome bonus is just that. A bonus to welcome a new player to the casino. While it would be nice to receive such a grand welcome every time you login the casino, that’s simply not going to happen. Reload bonus offers will make due.

Now, of course you are not going to forget if you opened an account at a particular online casino six months ago. If so, well then, you need to start taking your Gingko Biloba. Players who say they forgot they had an account already opened or that a relative unknowingly created an account at the same online casino are full of it. 99% of these people what the industry likes to call bonus hunters. And truth be told, some of them probably do forget they previously opened an account because they have too many gambling accounts to keep up with.

So we can agree that you are not a bonus hunter and that you are taking your Gingko Biloba. No worries about opening multiple accounts, right? Wrong. Remember that part in the first paragraph about online casino networks? Yep, that’s where a lot of people go wrong. See, most online casino owners, operate and manage more than one online casino – some are more transparent about this than others. For example, a network like the US friendly English Harbour Gaming Ventures (see the OCS Vegas Techology Casinos page), maintains their own website with a listing of all their online casino properties, while a network like the Microgaming-powered Casino Rewards (non US) offers a comprehensive rewards program integrating all of their eighteen online casinos under one roof. On the opposite extreme, there have been several investigations revealing large numbers of rogue, blacklisted online casinos all being tied together by the same owner or network.

Now, assuming you are playing at an online casino that is part of a reputable and transparent network, like the aforementioned English Harbour Gaming Ventures (EHGV), you need to verify whether or not the network allows multiple welcome bonuses to be claimed. All networks will permit players to open a single account at all of their online casinos, in effect, creating multiple accounts. For example, at EHGV, you can have an account at English Harbour Casino (for the table games), VIP Slots (for the slots) and Millionaire Casino (for the high rolling action). However, you cannot claim the welcome bonus at all three of these online casinos – just ONE of them. Even if the welcome bonus if for a different percentage and amount of free money, the fact that it is a first-time deposit bonus is the deciding factor.

Now, here’s where things get messy, and is a rightful complaint many players have about an industry wide practice. Most online casinos will allow you to go ahead and claim the welcome bonus, even if you already claimed it at another online casino in the network. It’s not that the casino is purposefully setting you up for failure, although some conspiracy theorists will tell you otherwise, and I personally wouldn’t throw it past certain online casino networks (none which OCS would recommend, of course), it’s more that the industry does indeed have some catching up to do in terms of preventive measures.

The way they do it currently is come withdrawal time – your first time withdrawal, that is – the online casino will request a faxback verification form which consists of documents that verify you are indeed the person you say you are and that you are in good standing with the casino. It’s at this time they will verify if you are cashing out bonus winnings and whether or not you have claimed the bonus before, including welcome bonuses at other partner online casinos within the network. The casino’s argument is that the only players with multiple accounts or who have claimed the welcome bonus before are bonus hunters. In other words, you should have nothing to worry about if you are not doing anything you not supposed to be doing. But what about the newbie players who signup at an online casino after reading a favorable review that says nothing about the casino being in a network or revealing only one part of the bonus terms and conditions? It’s not until later the player realizes (oftentimes when making a withdrawal request), that they violated bonus terms and conditions. Indeed, this happens! Not every player who violates bonus T&C’s is a bonus hunter.

So, until online casinos adopt an industry wide practice of verifying player identities via the faxback process BEFORE said player makes a real money deposit and claims a welcome bonus, it is up to each and every player to verify for themselves what the bonus terms and conditions are. It is up to us to sift through the bonus red tape, including the part of the “one welcome bonus per player, per household, per online casino, per network”. Continuing with the OCS blog series on bonus red tape, next time we will be discussing the differences between a bonus account and a real money account and will touch on the basics of the play-through process…..to be followed by much, much more. But no worries, so long as you know how to recognize it, you’ll know how to get around it.

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