Posts Tagged ‘casino bonus scam’

Warning! Phishing Scams Show up on Internet Gambling Forums

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

But you've never even gambled at an online casino before? Photo by Stomchak

But you've never even gambled at an online casino before? Photo by Stomchak

If you’re no stranger to the OCS online gambling forum, you may have noticed a recent string of forum posts by so-called “players” in our Casino Complaints Forum section. Not the usual kind of complaint – you know the one’s: delayed payments, bonus abuse disputes, etc. Rather, these complaints are pertaining to an unnamed casino that is leaving messages on cell phones notifying the “players” they have won a large jackpot.

On a surface level, it sounds feasible, does it not? The actual act of receiving a phone call from shamsters, trying to get you to claim your winnings by giving them your bank account number, seems like a scam I’ve heard before. Oh yes, the Nigerian email scams. Ring a bell? Usually these involve some long lost relative or a random person who just so happens to know you (never mind you’ve never met them before), and whose long lost relative has died and is leaving them $10 million, which they need for you to transfer to your bank account. And sometimes, it’s the infamous “you’ve won the lottery which you’ve never played at” email scam.

That’s what this one’s like. But here’s where the crooks are getting a little more slick – not that the Nigerian email scams were ever “slick” to begin with. Instead of posing as the casino or lottery representative, they are posing as random people asking for help to get their money from the online casino. And what better place to do it than in the Complaints and moderation section of the OCS forum? Their plan is to get someone to help – whether it be OCS staff or another forum member – by eventually using their own bank account to collect the funds. Needless to say, you know what happens after you give your bank account information out.

To make things less suspicious (in some posts), the crooks are prefacing their posts with something along the lines of  “I was told to call the following number (insert digits) to claim my winnings from (enter generic online casino name, such as Casino Euro)…Please help!”, in hopes that others will call the phone number, hear a pre-recorded phone message and then leave their own bank account information to claim the funds for their self!

So, to make a long story short, do not try to help these people out. The only help they need is that of a criminal psychotherapist. In fact, don’t bother responding to the posts at all – even if your intent is to call them out. These crooks will not respond back being that they simply want you to call the mysterious phone number to leave your bank account information. Simply flag the post and warn others to not call. OCS will be around to delete these posts and forum members as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A Call for Industry Reformation: Making Online Casino Bonus Terms Unbreakable

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Here at Online Casino Suite, we have seen our fair share of complaints from players regarding non-payment of winnings. Now, you might be wondering how an online casino could possibly get away with not paying players. The simple answer is that they simply do not pay – that’s how. Needless to say, online casinos like that have a place on the OCS Online Casino Blacklist.

But what if the casino has a right not to pay? This is where things get messy. And yes, the bulk of non-payment complaints we receive are when the casino has a right not to pay. In other words, the player is shit out of luck.

What ends up happening most of the time is that the player claims a bonus, does not read the fine print for cashing out winnings derived from bonus play, then, inadvertently breaks one of these very terms. Come cashout time, the casino says it’s a no-go, and the player responds by crying bloody murder and usually goes on a rant to defame the online casino.

Certainly, the casino does have a right to deny a player winnings when those winnings were incurred while breaking the rules. However, the casino does not have the right to be an irresponsible online gambling operator and bait the player into claiming a bonus, while making it nigh impossible to find the bonus T&C’s. Nor should they allow players to wager on the exempted games, knowing all to well, they will be denied a withdrawal sooner or later…more likely, later. But here, my friends, is where we enter the territory of “industry reformation”.

You see, there are no industry regulations requiring that an online casino must ensure a player has read the T&C’s before claiming a bonus, i.e., a check box that must be clicked at the bottom of the posted terms before the bonus can be issued. Furthermore, there are no safety mechanisms in the software platform that automatically blocks certain games from being played while a bonus play-through requirement is still being met.

And I don’t want to hear the excuse “it’s too complicated”. If online casinos can impose wagering limits and blocks on player accounts, the technology is certainly available to place blocks on certain games. FYI, the number one reason why players are denied winnings from bonus play are because exempted games were wagered on with bonus money before the play-through was met.

In the meantime, yes, it’s the player’s responsibility to read the bonus T&C’s. Those players who have been burned – usually for the first time claiming a bonus – you can bet your bankroll they won’t make the same mistake again. However, what the online gambling industry as a whole fails to realize is that many of these newbie players don’t even give online gambling a second chance. Rather, they go around talking trash about the online casino and online gambling in general, and the industry’s credibility suffers as a result.

What it comes down to is fostering a higher standard of operator responsibility. Online Casino Suite is devoted to this cause. Are you? If so, leave us your comments with ideas. In the meantime, OCS will be starting a lobbying campaign to get regulators and software developers to address what has a become a major issue – one if left unchecked will continue to give the online gambling industry a bad name.

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… 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!