Posts Tagged ‘online casino complaints’

Sega Casino Shuts Down in Less Than One Year From Launching on the Web

Monday, September 20th, 2010

SegaCasino

Yours Truly will be the first to admit when I’m wrong. I will also be the first to admit when I’m right. It’s only fair, is it not? Now, aside from digging up some old articles and forum posts that I dished out about Sega Casino (okay fine, I alread dug them up), let me just say, “I told you so, I told you so, I told you so”. Okay, now I’m annoying myself. And not that anyone was disagreeing with me, it just seemed like when Sega Casino was first launched online earlier this year (they have already closed up shop), there was a lot of what I like to call “misplaced hype”.

Basically, Sega Casino began recruiting affiliates in preparation for launching it’s real-money online casino using software powered by Playtech. Yes, they tried to recruit Online Casino Suite. Obviously, we did not buy into their promise of being a “premiere online gaming” destination. For one, there was no proven track record, other than the riding off the popularity of Playtech and Sega. Secondly, besides the fact that we were a little concerned Sega could potentially attract an underage gambling crowd (yes, it’s the same SEGA that brought you Sonic the Hedgehog and a spew of cool video games), people involved with management were spamming our forums with the most ridiculous and annoying spam that you can think of.

And not that spam just by itself isn’t annoying, but in this case, we were hit by a deluge of that mindless kind of spam that just makes you want to poke your eyes out (or rather, the eyes of the spammer). But since that doesn’t solve anything, your’s truly was left to police the forum and wash away the stain that was Sega Casino spam.

Let me give you an example, because I don’t think anyone can appreciate just how bad it was. Let’s say there was a thread discussing the finer points of Blackjack strategy. One of these spammers would sure enough enter the convesation and directly respond to a question like, “Should I split a pair of sevens?” with “Go to Sega Casino for an unheard of slots bonus worth thousands in free money!. I call Sega home and never want to leave!! There’s so much to play here!”

After giving repeated bans to a few members (who were probably the same person), I gave gave them a golden chance to just be up front about their association with Sega Casino, and then in time (after making some real forum posts and helping other members), we would think about letting them to post more promotional things. Heck, at that point OCS might have thought about becoming an affiliate. But no! The spammer actually had the lack of sense to deny the association. They claimed to be a player. And pray do tell, what player repeatedly posts SEO links to online casinos with car-salesman lingo?

Anyhow, considering this run-in, I am not at all surprised that Sega Casino has already called it quits after only being online for less than one year. Let it be a lesson to anyone out there thinking about starting an online casino. Don’t resort to shady marketing tactics. Invest in your product, do the right thing, and the Casinos Edge will pay off in the end. For God’s sake, the odds are in your favor! And for all the players reading this, let it be a lesson to only play at online casinos recommended by OCS 🙂 I hate to say it (okay, maybe I don’t) but I’ll say it anyways: I told you so, I told you so, I told you so!

The GPWA Affiliate Program Sponsors Seal: What it Means for You, the Player

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

gpwa1Grande Vegas Casino was in the news recently, including a write-up here on the OCS blog. Just a refresher: Two lucky players were awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to the famous Foxwoods Casino Resort in Connecticut. If that isn’t giving away business, I don’t know what is!

Anyhow, Grande Vegas has been an approved online casino here at OCS for about a year now. Besides meeting all of our minimum requirements for a listing in our online casino reviews directory, Grande Vegas has a few other accreditations under it’s belt, and I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about one of these accreditations right now.

Introducing the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association (GPWA). For all you players who don’t happen to be affiliates of online casinos, the GPWA is a non-profit, professional organization composed of webmasters working in the online gambling industry. With over 10,000 members, the GPWA is the largest and most active organization of its kind. Free to join, the GPWA is financially supported via affiliate program sponsorship.

In essence, what the GPWA does is give online casino affiliates (such as yours truly) a union-like power that allows affiliates to wield their powerful influence in the online marketing sector. It also helps affiliates secure more favorable financial deals and ensure timely payment of commissions and advertising revenue.

That said, it’s reassuring to know that Grande Vegas Casino is a member and sponsor of the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association, boasting the GPWA Seal on their website. Just as affiliates are upheld to high standards of responsible affiliate marketing, sponsor online casinos are held to a similar Code of Conduct. The provisions of which include the following:

– Abide by all regulatory and licensing laws of the jurisdiction in which business takes place.

– Does not engage in deceitful or misleading promotional marketing or boast false accreditations and business practices.

– Publicly discloses all rules and registration guidelines pertaining to players and affiliates.

– Does not engage in unethical marketing practices.

– Processes withdrawals and payments in accordance with published T&C’s.

– Promptly responds to and handles complaints by affiliates for both affiliate issues and those submitted by players of affiliates.

– Accepts responsibility for complying with the above terms.

If you are a player and reading this, you should know that you are in good hands when you play at a GPWA approved online casino. You are in even better hands, when you find an affiliate site, such as yours truly, Online Casino Suite, that publishes a recommendation to play at said online casino. In other words, if you have a complaint about Grande Vegas Casino, or any casino listed on our site – okay, any casino period 🙂 – please register at our player’s forum and post your complaint here: http://onlinecasinosuite.com/forum/

eCOGRA Reports Less Complaints Per Approved Safe and Fair Online Casino

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
eCOGRA Reports Fewer Dispute Mediations in 2010

eCOGRA Reports Fewer Dispute Mediations in 2010

In terms of raising the standards of online casino transparency, eCOGRA has definitely achieved the most success of any other non-profit (heck, for-profit) in business today. Operating with this end in mind, eCOGRA ensures online casinos are operating fairly and responsibly, and also provides player assistance if/when dispute resolution services are needed.

The eCOGRA “Safe and Fair Seal” is bestowed to internet gaming operators who pass a comprehensive inspection and audit, and who continually meet ongoing requirements to par with government regulation. In fact, eCOGRA’s seal requirements are more stringent than many a so-called online gambling commission. In terms of building player trust, there are no better sites than eCOGRA online casinos.

Unfortunately, most, if not all online casinos boasting the eCOGRA Safe and Fair Seal are closed to U.S. players. It goes to show what happens when the government attempts to impose bans rather than regulating, and consequently, putting an end to the underground market. But that’s for another blog post.

As for eCOGRA, let’s just say they have taken the complete opposite approach and are doing their job with flying colors. As mentioned, one of eCOGRA’s tasks is to provide dispute mediation for players at eCOGRA-approved online casinos. In a perfect world, there would be no disputes whatsoever. However, we all know this isn’t a perfect world.

The fact of the matter is that online casinos AND players make mistakes. When the two sides can’t exactly agree on how to fix said mistake, that’s when eCOGRA’s Fair Gaming Advocate, Tex Rees, steps in. As reported by Rees, the first half of 2010 has thus far generated less dispute mediation requests than the same time last year. What’s even more impressive is that eCOGRA has eleven more approved online casinos than last year.

Breaking the numbers down, Rees reports there were a total of 376 complaints, of which 287 were deemed valid. The remaining 89 invalid complaints were either due to insufficient detail, irrelevance, player abuse, anonymity or pertaining to a non-eCOGRA approved online casino.

Further attesting to the sway of eCOGRA, 76% of all valid complaints were resolved within 48 hours, of which nearly half (47%) were resolved in favor of the player. 43% of the disputes were pertaining to withdrawals (down from 51%), 21% regarding bonus issues and another 21% pertaining to locked accounts.

This averages to 11.03 disputes per week, which correlates to 0.34 disputes per awarded “Safe and Fair Seal” (lower than last year’s rate of 0.37). As Rees points out in her report, these numbers must also be gauged in light with increased transactions with players.

Said Rees, “We can attribute a portion of this drop in disputes to the fact that we have now been working with many of the Seal operations for several years and as a consequence a number of policies and procedures have been developed that translate to less cause for disputes. Our operators are also better equipped and motivated to deal with disputes at the operator level, which results in eCOGRA receiving fewer complaints.”

Summing it up, Rees stated “This level of performance is satisfactory and well within the standards we have set for our operators.”

Well, considering all the complaints Online Casino Suite receives regarding non-eCOGRA approved online casinos (and non-OCS approved casinos at that), we can’t disagree. Congrats eCOGRA! Keep up the good work!

Casino Affiliate Programs (CAP) to Implement Community Certification of Programs

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Affiliates Have a Say at CAP

Affiliates Have a Say at CAP

Just as CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com (CAP) announces the introduction of a new community certification program that allows affiliates to offer input and have a say regarding which affiliate programs are approved and listed in CAP’s directory, one such recently approved program was at the core of a scandal unearthed by players posting on the Casino Meister forum board. In a way, you could say the introduction of the program hasn’t come at a better time.

Not going into too much detail about the drama on the forums, let’s just say that the Jackpots Heaven online casino was recently given the green light by CAP, only to be found out by players of running a questionable business, if not a sham online casino altogether. What matters now is that CAP does indeed get this community certification program off its feet and the participation of it’s 10,000+ affiliate members.

The way the system will work is that in order for a new affiliate program to be considered for approval, the program must be established for a minimum of six months, and have a dedicated affiliate program manager who is active in the CAP community. A handful of programs meeting such criteria will then go up for a vote before CAP’s affiliate community. After 30-days of voting, if the affiliate program has received an 80% approval rating, it will be endowed with CAP’s Community Seal to display on it’s property websites, and will also be highlighted on the CAP website. Each month, new programs will go up for a vote, with those not receiving 80% approval permitted to resubmit at a later date.

CAP is also implementing a new complaints program allowing affiliates to post complaints about affiliate programs, ie, slow/non payment of earnings, player abuse etc., out of which private mediation services will be provided by CAP representatives.

From the perspective of a player, news like this is not only good, it’s relevant. In the world of affiliate marketing, it’s difficult to keep bias, ie., money, out of influencing which online casinos get promoted the most. The same is true for affiliate programs seeking a listing in the CAP directory, or any affiliate network for that matter. With the new community certification program, the bias-factor is greatly reduced, for it allows approved affiliates to each have their say.

Affiliates, albeit middle-men, hold great sway in the success of online casinos – those which the affiliates promote or review, at least. Dominating the search engines and being highly skilled in the affairs of Web technology, the best affiliates help to make the entire online gambling industry go round and actually drive the bulk of revenue that goes into the thousands of internet betting destinations out there.

So, when an online casino is acting up and threatens the good name of the online gambling industry which many of the 10,000+ affiliate members of CAP have worked hard to develop, enough affiliates can make sure that online casino goes out of business, whether it be via a mass blacklisting or simply a collective choice to abstain from doing business via the casino’s affiliate program. Think of CAP as being a giant union with tremendous bargaining power. With the introduction of the community certification system, CAP proves why it is the most respected and trusted (albeit a few slipups over the years) online casino affiliate programs in business today.

Jackpots Heaven Online Casino Under the Knife at Casino Meister Forum

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Jackpots Heaven Casino Gets Prodded!

Jackpots Heaven Casino Gets Prodded!

For anyone out there who thinks the days of lawless online casinos are no more, think again. Sure, it’s certainly not as bad as it used to be, but the fact remains there are rogue online casinos out there in the business of stealing your money, your identity, and certainly your peace of mind. This is no scare tactic folks. Them be dangerous waters out there!

While OCS is not here to deliver any guilt or innocence in regards to what this post recounts, players need to make up their own minds based on the information that is out there. Case in point was the recent turn of events that brought about the micro-surgery of Jackpots Heaven Online Casino. Nevermind the fact the casino is still online and taking player’s money, as far you should be concerned – since you are reading this – well…you need to think carefully before playing at Jackpots Heaven. Here’s why:

A player and longtime forum member of the highly respected online casino watchdog portal, Casino Meister, started off by making a forum post – innocently enough – expressing doubt that Jackpots Heaven Casino was not delivering fair odds on their Baccarat game. This prompted other forum members to give a closer look at Jackpots Heaven, and ended up revealing a whole lot more than unfair odds!

The irony of the situation is that the original forum post to begin with was not entirely justified, considering the player’s test sample of the Baccarat game was not large enough to accurately verify a discrepancy in odds. In other words, there was no “proof” per say, that Jackpots Heaven Casino was delivering unfair odds – the player was merely raising suspicion. But, considering what was dug up thereafter, it’s certainly understandable why the red flags were drawn.

The “thread” that started undoing the sweater of Jackpots Heaven was wielded by a Casino Meister forum member who decided to do some fine-print investigation by means of reading over the terms and conditions posted on the Jackpots Heaven Casino website. What this gumshoe found was certainly concerning. In one section of the terms, it was stated that Jackpots Heaven was licensed in Costa Rica under a company registration license #, followed by a random chain of digits, yet in another section of the terms a different set of numbers was used for licensing credentials. That’s worthy of an eyebrow raise.

On top of this, the terms also stated that Jackpots Heaven was regulated by the “Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Costa Rica”, when in fact, there is no such entity. Apparently, the owners, who are virtually based in the UK, were either trying to ride off the credibility of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, which is one of the most respected online gambling jurisdictions in operation today, or simply did not know any better. Turns out it was the latter.

Here’s the catch – Even with Jackpots Heaven being licensed in Costa Rica, there is no regulation of online casinos in Costa Rica – the Costa Rica Commerce, Industry and Economy Ministry merely hands out operator licenses, but does not enforce regulatory standards. In other words, unless there’s a history of trust and a good reputation, playing at a Costa Rican based online casino poses more risk on average. The fact that Jackpots Heaven casino servers are not even based in Costa Rica, but rather, registered in the UK, where the server address is being sent to a cloaked dns server leading to Panama (which a Costa Rica gambling licenses does indeed allow, mind you – a remote license of sorts), will understandably draw suspicion – especially when there is no transparency about such a trail of redirects.

As more Casino Meister forum members began to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, an increasing number of red flags were revealed about Jackpots Heaven. Another member found a passage in the terms directly lifted off the website of another questionable online casino, Casino Riva, thus bringing about suspicion that Jackpots Heaven was associated with Casino Riva. The player then proceeded to engage a customer service rep via live chat and asked if the two online casinos were indeed associated, to which the rep replied “Yes”. As the player began to dig more, the rep mysteriously turned on a dime and said the two were not associated – definitely something that makes you go hmmmm? Furthermore, screen shots of the software being used by Jackpots Heaven reveal graphics trademark infringement against top-shelf software developers, Playtech and Microgaming.

At one point, a rep/manager for Jackpots Heaven going by the name of Raphael Taub stepped in and embarrassingly tried to offer an explanation for the blunderings of the casino customer service rep. Getting nowhere with the players on Meister’s forum who persisted to ask the simple questions that Taub either could not or would not answer, he only dug a deeper hole for Jackpots Heaven, and eventually resorted to making legal threats.

The fact of the matter is that not every online casino, sportsbook or poker room based out of Costa Rica or Panama is a crook. We can’t for certain say that Jackpots Heaven Casino are crooks. Although regulations are more lax in Costa Rica, there are a good handful of top tier online gambling operators doing a fine job to ensure they are regulated by third parties. It all comes down to the history of the operator of their standing in the online gambling industry. But considering the fact that Jackpots Heaven went out of its way to hide where it’s based from, not to mention suspicion of association with Casino Riva and trademark infringement of Playtech and Microgaming Software, OCS believes this warrants a warning. And thus Jackpots Heaven Casino goes onward to the OCS Online Casino Blacklist for the time being.