As OCS has recently launched a Complaints Forum to help mainstream issues and disputes that players might have with ANY online casino operator, the value of such a forum has become clearly evident in the first post alone. In this particular case, a player had received a promotional mailer from Cleopatra’s Casino, which needless to say, is NOT an online casino listed and approved in the OCS online casino reviews directory.
The mailer was advertising a $25 no-deposit bonus, which is basically $25 free to play with – no additional deposits required. Albeit the terms and conditions for this bonus were posted on the Cleopatra’s Gold website, they were not posted on the flyer itself. The player, being a somewhat newbie to online gambling, thought “Great, what do I have to lose?”, and decided to take advantage of the no-deposit bonus, not reading the full T&C’s.
Now, wouldn’t you know it, but luck would have it that this player hits a large jackpot while using money from the $25 no-deposit bonus to make wagers, and consequently, meet the wager requirement. For this bonus, the play-through was 60x, meaning the player would need to wager $25 x 60 ($1,500) before they would be eligible to cash out any winnings. First of all, 60x is a little high. But oh well, right? Hit a $4,000 jackpot and that’s a piece a cake.
But this is where things get tricky. There is also a term that says the maximum amount of free cash that a player can withdraw from no-deposit bonus winnings is one-half the bonus amount. Ya, you did your math right. That would be $12.50. So, here we have this player with a $4,000+ balance, and all she can cash out is $12.50. Does that sound fair to you? Well, it doesn’t to me either. However, since Cleopatra’s Casino has this term posted on their website, technically, they are protected. The fact that they did not post the terms on the mailing is unethical and shady, and precisely why you should avoid playing at Cleopatra’s Casino.
The one bright side of all this is that at least the player did not make a huge deposit of their money, only to have it frozen and not paid out. Needless to say, there are plenty of lessons to be gained from this experience: 1) ALWAYS read the terms and conditions of a bonus before claiming it. Look it up on the website, or if you can’t locate the T&C’s, get them sent to you in writing via email. 2) Always think twice before claiming any bonus, especially no-deposit bonuses (generally, these have stricter wager requirements). 3) Don’t play at Cleopatra’s Casino. Not only do they impose unrealistic terms on their bonuses and engage in unethical marketing, they are associated with a very shady group of betting sites – Futura properties.
This also brings up another lesson: deciphering whether a bonus has a maximum withdrawal requirement. The fact of the matter is that most people just want to know what the play-through requirement are, i.e., how much money has to be wagered before becoming eligible to withdraw, restricted games and time restrictions. Most players don’t even realize there might be a maximum cashout on bonus winnings! And the casinos don’t make this information that readily available either. Oftentimes, this particular condition is buried further down on the bonus T&C’s page and not included with the section dealing with play-through requirements. Once again, don’t ever assume. Always read the ENTIRE terms and conditions.
Now, it just so happens the player in the above-mentioned scenario was from the U.S., and admittedly, there simply are not as many good bonus options out there (at least as they once were). In other words, U.S. players need to be even more careful than the rest of the lot. Online Casino Suite’s topmost recommendations are the EHGV Casino group: Millionaire Casino, English Harbour, Super Slots, VIP Slots and Slots Galore and the approved RTG Casinos listed Here (aside for Pure Vegas, which imposes a maximum $100 cashout on their no-deposit bonuses). If you choose to play at Go Casino, Crazy Slots or Online Vegas, keep in mind that all sign-up bonuses at these destinations have a $500 maximum cashout.