Nov 15, 2015
I have written a number of Articles regarding online gambling promotions as well as the importance of paying thorough attention to the Terms & Conditions at online casinos, and I can say that many casinos in the industry have made some changes to the Terms in just the last few months that really bother me. I'm hoping that these changes don't end up being the, "New Normal," so to speak, so I would encourage players to attempt to play at Wizard of Odds APPROVED online casinos that have implemented as few (or, preferably, none) of these Terms whenever possible.
Here are my Top Four:
1.) Information Sharing w/ Other Casinos and for Promotional Purposes
I have stumbled across multiple online casinos that have decided that they have the right to share a player's information with other online casinos if they determine (in their sole discretion, of course) that the player(s) is attempting to play in a, "Professional," way or is making low volatility bets in an effort to take advantage of a promotion. While I acknowledge the rights of an online casino to restrict a player's actual play within the confines of their Terms & Conditions, I absolutely do not believe that they should have the right to share information on a player with any casino outside of their casino group.
The main reason for me to take this stance is that it seems unfair for an online casino to decide that a player is trying to play there at an advantage and then to essentially, "Warn," other online casinos about that player. If a casino really wants to solve the problem of a player playing there at an advantage, then the answer is simple: Don't offer any mathematically beatable promotions. There are a number of ways that online casinos can accomplish that goal by way of game restriction, utilitizing, "Sticky," bonuses, restricting the Max Bet during Bonus Play or making the Wagering Requirements to complete a bonus unfeasible for Advantage Play.
Basically the casinos are attempting to offer attractive Bonuses in order to secure players, but then they want to punish players who want to figure out how to beat said Bonuses in every possible way.
Many Terms & Conditions are also such that a casino essentially allows itself to publish the names of players for promotional purposes in the event that a player cashes out at that casino. In my opinion, there should, at a minimum, be an opt-out for this sort of thing. Also, I think players should get a better reward that merely winning at the casino in a game of chance for the casino to be allowed to publish their names, the casino should actually offer the player some Bonus play or something along those lines in exchange. Either way, I think it should be something that the player should have to agree to.
2.) Finishing Wagering Requirements-Win or Lose
Another somewhat recent development (that Bovada has unfortunately adopted) is that players must complete the Wagering requirements, win or lose, before being able to cash out or accept another Bonus. In other words, let's say you take a Bonus that essentially has a playthrough requirement of $50,000 on your game of choice, what would happen before is that if you made a total of $25,000 in wagers and lost the deposit and the bonus amount, you could then take another Bonus (if applicable) and start all over.
The way that it works now is much worse for the player. If the player fails to finish the Wagering Requirements of a given Bonus, then the player (upon making another deposit) must complete the Wagering Requirements for the bonus upon which they have already lost (make another $25,000 in wagers in my example) before being able to cash out or take another Bonus.
The most unfortunate thing about this change is that it actually punishes players for losing! As if a player losing his/her deposit was not enough, the player is now in the position of having to finish those Wagering Requirements before being able to try another Bonus. Meanwhile, the player who wins on a Bonus does not have to worry about that and can collect the next Bonus with no additional Wageriung Requirements.
Don't misunderstand, I would still be inclined to play at such a casino, at least, until the first Bonus that I lost.
3.) Confiscating Player Funds for, "Bonus Abuse."
There are multiple online casinos who have it in their Terms & Conditions that, in addition to any bonus and winnings, a player's deposit can also be confiscated if they deem that the player in question is guilty of, "Bonus Abuse." In my opinion, this sort of policy is no better than outright theft. If a casino determines that a player has abused a given Bonus offered by the casino and the casino chooses not to pay, then after whatever arbitration the player seeks, the player should be refunded his/her entire deposit, in full, with no fees whatsoever.
4.) Unspecified Restrictions on Betting
I touched upon this in the first point, but I also don't like it when online casinos restrict betting to the extent that they say that the players are not allowed to bet in a low volatility way that seems designed to take advantage of the casinos. In my opinion, the online casinos in question should have full control of how a player bets via the Bonuses that are offered, the Wagering Requirements, the betting limits, and by way of what games are or not allowed to be played.
To wit, if you don't want a player to take advantage of a Bonus by, 'Grinding it out,' on Blackjack, then the answer is simple, don't allow Blackjack to be played on a specific Bonus. If an online casino is concerned that the Wagering requirements are too low and a player will be able to grind out a profit from a Bonus taken, then simply raise the Wagering Requirements (they already do) on a given game.
The online casinos can make it so that the promotions that they offer still have a negative Expected Value, they are fully in control of that if that is what they choose to do. Therefore, I say that they have no standing whatsoever to blame a player for winning.
I want to emphasize that an online casino (within the boundaries of the law) is within its rights to have any set of Terms & Conditions it so chooses, but some of the Terms that some casinos are rolling out are patently ridiculous, in my opinion. It is important to note that a player who signs up for an online casino is going to be bound by these Terms & Conditions and that the Wizard of Odds APPROVED status is only going to help you as a player if you have played fully within those Terms & Conditions.
Therefore, it is still incumbent on all of the players out there to read through those Terms & Conditions before setting up an account and making a deposit. For the time being, if you do not like the Terms & Conditions at one online casino, you should be able to find some which are more favorable. However, it is your responsibility as a player to read and understand them because once you have agreed to them, even I have nothing to complain about provided both sides keep up their end of the bargain.