Posts Tagged ‘casino bonus money’

Rome Casino Graduates to OCS Homepage and Best USA Online Casinos Page

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

An amazing offer from leading USA friendly Rome Casino

An amazing offer from leading USA friendly Rome Casino

Rome Casino has been listed and approved here at Online Casino Suite for well over a year now. One of the very first online casinos to debut under the newly launched Top Game platform, we wanted to give Rome a fair chance at proving themselves, and were certainly hoping they would come through for the players, and consequently, for us as well! The Top Game software platform showed a lot of promise, largely in part because its developers had ties to the white-label Playtech platform, and there was a good deal of buzz on the initial performance of the Top Game platform itself.

However, taking the side of caution, we decided to just give their flagship licensee, Rome Casino, a test run to see how things panned out. Needless to say, the fact that Rome is still approved by OCS, goes to show they haven’t done anything to jeopardize our trust. There have been no direct player complaints (maybe one or two that I can personally think of, both of which were quickly and amicably resolved), and the sentiment within the industry at large is that Rome Casino, and just as important, Top Game, have made a place for themselves in this online business. Granted, the road was a little bumpy in the past. Yet, there are no unresolved issues at this time and there is nothing to lead us to believe anything contrary to Rome’s commitment operating a reputable and noteworthy establishment.

Since Rome Casino first showed up on our online casino reviews page, a steady stream of Top Game software licensees have come out – all mostly catering to the U.S. market. OCS hasn’t gone so far as to approve any other Top Game licensee just yet (many of them are lacking in transparency), but we are certainly open to doing so in the future as more licensees get up to speed with our requirements of being approved, listed and recommended to our readers. For the time being, however, Rome Casino gets our sole, wholehearted recommendation. In fact, as of last week, we have moved Rome Casino to the Online Casino Suite homepage, Best Online Casinos page, and even moved them up on our main Online Casino Bonuses chart.

The latter of these moves was mainly due to the fact that Rome has improved/increased its welcome bonus offer once again. Originally a 200% play bonus worth $200 Free, Rome increased this to a multi-deposit bonus worth a total of $5,000 Free (100% up to $1,000 Free on five consecutive deposits). Now, Rome has increased the initial bonus to a massive 400% up to $3,000 Free and increased the remaining bonuses (on the second, third and fourth deposits) by twofold, worth 200% up to $1,000 Free each – a total of 1,000% Free in bonuses.

The play-through requirement is a reasonable 20x on all casino games other than card and table games. Don’t be confused by the 75x play-through in the general bonus T&C’s – this applies to no-deposit bonuses, which have a maximum cashout of $150. For 25% cash back bonuses on video poker, blackjack and roulette bets (Copia’s Cash Back Bonus), the play-through is an amazingly low 1x. For more information, please read the OCS Rome Casino Review. If you do decide to open an account, please come back to this review and click the “Share Your Experience” link to tell us and other players about your experience at Rome Casino.

Free Casino Bonus Money Red Tape: Part III – The Play Through

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Continuing with the OCS blog series on casino bonus red tape, we’d like to discuss the concept of the play-through, and how this applies to bonus money and real money.

As you may already know, unless you are playing with a no-deposit bonus, a.k.a. free chip, all free casino bonus money is contingent on the amount of an accompanying deposit. The more money you deposit, the more bonus cash you will receive. This is usually up to a certain amount, although it is not unheard of to receive an unlimited bonus.

Depending on the percentage of the bonus, the ratio of bonus money to deposited cash will vary. A common amount is 100%, meaning that for every dollar deposited, 100% will be matched in bonus money. This is actually the correct meaning of a true “match” bonus. For a bonus less than 100%, technically, it is not a match bonus.

Let’s say you deposit $100. With a 100% Match bonus, you will receive $100 Free, giving you a total bankroll of $200. Now, here is where things become more tricky. Instead of having the $200 in a single account, the casino will keep your bonus money separate from your real money, until the wager requirement has been met. The wager requirement is the amount of times you must wager over your bankroll before you are eligible to cash out winnings derived from bonus credits. A 10x play-through will require you to wager $100 + $100 = $200 x 10 = $2,000, before you can cash out.

The way it works is that your balance will show the total amount of your bonus and deposit. Although it appears there is one balance, per say, a bonus balance and real money balance is tracked through the accounting/cashier section of the software. This determines how much of the play-through has been met, and how much in wagers is needed to be eligible for a withdrawal.

Some online casinos, such as Microgaming powered Jackpot Factory, use a bonus management system (in this case, the “ClearPlay Bonus” system) that automatically transfers eligible bonus money winnings to the real money account as the play-through is met in increments of $10. This money is eligible for cashout; However, keep in mind that all remaining bonus money is void. Most online casinos do not even allow players to cash out bonus winnings until the entire play-through is met.

This brings up an important question. When do you know when the play-through is met? Keeping track of it yourself – wager for wager – also called “micro managing” your bonus, is timely and difficult. Not every game contributes to the play-through and of those that do, most do not even contribute the same percentage amount. Furthermore, certain bets, such as the Gamble Feature on many slot machines do not count toward the play-through.

But don’t worry. All online casinos have a system in place that keeps track of it for you. When the play-through is met, any winnings exceeding the maximum amount of bonus money earnings that can be cashed out (most bonuses have a maximum cashout) will be removed from the real money account. Remember, being “play” bonuses, no actual bonus money can be cashed out – just winnings earned off that bonus money. Some casinos will also remove the bonus winnings that is eligible for cashout and make it a “pending” withdrawal.

But remember, this is IMPORTANT – in all cases, the player must request the final withdrawal and should always withdraw ALL winnings derived from the bonus. Otherwise, if any bonus winnings are left in the account, all future winnings will be subject to the original bonus terms and conditions. In other words, it is vitally important to keep tabs on your wager requirement. For me personally, if this means micromanaging, then so be it.

Case in point is the player who recently was robbed of a $5,000 jackpot win, because his bonus winnings were still in his account. Even though the player had met the play-through, he had not withdrew his funds yet and was still playing on excess bonus winnings. His jackpot win was hit making a wager with such winnings, and therefore, was subject to the max bonus cashout – far below the $5,000 jackpot.

Do online casinos do this on purpose – throwing in just one more variable that will make it harder for you to win? Probably. Does that mean you have to let them win. No, it doesn’t. When you know the bonus red tape, you are one step ahead of the curve.

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

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

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.

Free Casino Bonus Money – Getting Through the Red Tape: Part I

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
dog wagging tongue

Oh Boy, oh boy, oh boy! I'm drooling for Milk BONUSES!

Claiming bonuses at online casinos and actually getting your bonus cash withdrawn are two entirely different things. Needless to say, free money at the online casino is never 100% free. Sure, it’s possible to walk away with more than you started with – courtesy of a beefed up bankroll on bonus bucks. However, any seasoned online gambler – you may be one yourself – knows that online casinos like to make it very difficult to withdraw your bonus money.

Some casinos are more transparent about this than others. Yet, the bottom line is that no online casino wants to make it overtly easy for players to walk away with free bonus cash. You might think the infamous “wager requirement” aka, play-through, is all it would take to do this – but it’s not. FYI, the play-through is the amount of times a player must wager the sum of their deposit and bonus before any winnings earned from the bonus are eligible to cash out. Notice how I said “winnings earned from the bonus”. That’s because the bonus money itself can never be cashed out!

To make a long story short, there is all sorts of bonus red tape that can get between you and your winnings. And depending on the online casino and/or software provider, you could be dealing with red masking tape as opposed to red scotch tape (and no, red scotch tape doesn’t exist). Bonus abuse, whether intentional or unwittingly is the number one cause of disputes between players and online casinos, and consequently, the complaints that always follow. Sure, some casinos could do more to keep bonus abuse from happening in the first place (chalk it up to the old bait and switch routine or downright laziness), but that’s neither here nor there. If you want the bonus, take full responsibility and no matter how trustworthy the casino or solid their reputation, do your homework and get your hands sticky unwrapping the tape that is certain to come with your bonus. If you still have unanswered questions after digging through the T&C’s, ask a casino rep and get your answers (hypothetical or not) in writing.

To aid you in recognizing and understanding all this bonus jargon, OCS has decided to create a blog series dedicated just to online casino bonus red tape. If you haven’t done so already, bookmark this post and check back often. Just look for the photo of the happy dog drooling for his milk bonus. That’s supposed to be you by the way 🙂 The tags at the bottom of this post (free casino bonus money red tape) will be linked up with all future posts pertaining to the full series. Or, you could just sign up for our online casino newsletter, which we use to send out timely information, the latest and greatest bonuses (err, I mean milk bones), and tips on how to keep from drowning in the vast sea of online gambling. Dog paddling, of course.

What exactly will OCS be covering in this blog series? Here’s just a taste:

Claiming bonuses with online casino networks, bonus accounts vs. real money accounts, the play-through process including how to know when you’ve met the play-through (it can be very tricky), bonus micro-management, game restrictions, maximum winnings, time expirations, bonus claim codes, automated bonuses and how to remove them from your account, the free play bonus, and the notorious no-deposit bonus, aka, free chip.

All of this encompasses what is ultimately your responsibility as a player, for let’s just say that online casinos won’t do it for you. The only thing they will do for you is not pay up when they’ve deemed that you have violated the bonus terms – even if they could have stopped you from the get-go!

What can I say, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. That doesn’t mean you have to eat other dog’s to survive. But if you’re not looking out, they will sniff you out and eat you and your stash of milk bones up in a heartbeat. So, stay tuned!