If there is one legitimate objection that the, ‘Average player,’ and perhaps even the advantage player who doesn’t pull any shenanigans can make with online casinos; it would probably be that the Terms & Conditions are often too onerous and that same can be broken through virtually no fault of the player. In fact, there have been several instances in which I have been personally interested in perhaps attempting an online casino bonus play, took a peek through the Terms & Conditions, and thought, ‘Nope.’
In fairness, many of them are over the top! There are several online casinos that place a blanket restriction on whatever they deem to be, ‘Professional play,’ and while that may seem reasonable enough, it is completely left to the casino what constitutes their definition of a, ‘Professional,’ or what the casino considers, ‘Professional play.’ The casino does not tend to clearly define these terms, so when such blanket restrictions are thrown out there, my assumption on the definition of, ‘Professional play,’ that the casino(s) in question would use is, ‘Any method of play that yields to the player an expectation of profit.’ Obviously, I’m not going to play at an online casino unless I think that my expectation is that I am going to profit, so as a result, I tend to avoid online casinos that have that sort of blanket restriction.
In general terms, though, the Terms & Conditions exist because the casino is attempting to protect itself against forms of play that are both legitimate and illegitimate. For example, many suns and moons ago, online casinos would offer match bonuses on blackjack that were so juicy (mostly because of crazy-low wagering requirements) that a player could almost not help but win. The only real way to lose would be to become impatient, or go for the, ‘Kill,’ and bet substantial percentages of your bankroll all at once. In any event, the casinos eventually figured out what was going on and either increased the Wagering Requirements on Online Blackjack (it is very difficult to play with a bonus, straight-up at an advantage on online blackjack, at most online casinos it is impossible, and at casinos where it is not impossible, it’s probably not the best play) such that the game could either no longer be exploited in this way, or at least, not for that kind of expected profit.
Some casinos only placed these additional wagering requirements on Blackjack, however, not quite understanding the fact that it wasn’t anything special about the game of Blackjack that made it profitable, it was just that Blackjack was the best game to play due to the house edge. These casinos soon learned their lessons when players began exploiting Baccarat, Craps, Roulette and some other games in the same way. Of course, games such as those also had another weakness, at least in such cases where the casinos didn’t stop it, and that weakness was opposite betting.
Opposite betting is a manner of betting in which a player is either very unlikely to lose an individual decision, or in which a player is not expected to lose very much. For example, if a player bets both the Pass and the Don’t Pass at Craps, then the only way the player can lose anything is if a twelve shows up on the come out roll, in which event the player only loses the Pass Line bet. Some online casinos, at this time, even enabled Odds bets to count as part of the Wagering Requirements, so every time a point number (4,5,6,8,9 or 10) came out on the Come Out, a player could essentially load up BOTH sides on the Odds Bet and that was essentially free playthrough. For example, if the Come Out roll resulted in a four and a player had $10 on both the Pass/Don’t and the casino allowed for 10x Odds, then the player could bet $100 (to win $200) on the Pass Odds and $200 on the Don’t Pass (to win $100) and, as a result, the player was getting another $300 in playthrough at literally no risk whatsoever.
While this tactic was probably excessively greedy, and any players who did it usually would do it so they could put bigger bets out there at extremely low Variance and/or to virtually guarantee they would profit, (on a promotion that they were very close to guaranteed to profit anyway) it was technically a perfectly legal tactic until the casino adopted Terms & Conditions to prevent such from happening. The reason I would suggest is that the tactic is excessively greedy is because there was more than a sufficient advantage just by playing the game straight up, with a small amount of actual risk, that the player had no need to resort to such tactics. Furthermore, if players did not engage in this sort of offset betting, then the plays may have lasted longer.
The casinos would often attempt to refuse to pay players who did this on the grounds that they, ‘Cheated,’ of course, there was nothing in the Terms & Conditions that said the players could not play this way. Ultimately, certain provisions were added to most sets of Terms & Conditions such that, ‘Bet structuring,’ was not allowed, bets while on a bonus could be restricted to different maximum bets, playthrough requirements were increased, a player’s maximum bet could not be more than x amount times the player’s lowest bet and usually some combination of these elements. In some cases, the casino would simply disallow those games from being played at all.
The two things that remained constant, and do remain constant, is that there are still some ways to beat the games that are offered and that some players blatantly do not abide by the Terms & Conditions in an attempt to blatantly defraud the online casino. Once again, I fully support (and do myself) any advantage playing that takes place fully within the boundaries of the Terms & Conditions, the casinos have a fundamental advantage in that they get to write the Terms & Conditions, so if the player stays within those boundaries and finds a way to play at an advantage...awesome!
However, one thing that I do not support is any attempt to blatantly defraud the casinos, and nothing that I have said above (in my opinion) counts as doing so because all of those things were within the Terms & Conditions at the time. I cannot say, ‘Good for you,’ to someone who blatantly violates the terms that they have agreed to with respect to their dealings with an online casino because it would be hypocritical of me to expect the casinos to honor their end of the bargain and not the casinos.
Recently, we have been notified of a major scam against an online casino by which a player, taking advantage of various promotions, straight up opened several different accounts. However, Betat Casino discovered the scam, and made sure they had absolute proof before refusing to pay these players. In fact, the syndicate involved in this scam is being actively investigated for cyber-crimes.
There are a number of ways, certainly not entirely legitimate, that a player can take advantage of an extremely lucrative promotion multiple times. Many of these ways are not excessively blatant, and in some cases, are virtually undetectable.
When a player comes across an extremely beatable promotion, for example, that player can play it himself and encourage friends and/or family members (in different households) to play it. For the purposes of depositing, the player could make the friend or family member an authorized user of his/her credit card (a different card number is usually assigned) and as far as the casino can tell, it’s an entirely different account. Some casinos even allow for the use of prepaid debit cards, and when that happens, a player could purchase one of these cards and give it to a friend or family member in order to deposit in the casino. For a cut of the money, the player can then go to that person’s residence and play the promotion, (or anywhere, really, as long as it is a different IP address) or the person can explain to the friend and/or family member how the promotion is best played.
The question really becomes one of whether or not the player in question trusts the friend and/or family member to give them the money upon cashing out, in the event that the account in question wins. The casinos have a difficult time figuring out when this is going on, and sometimes will launch an investigation into these accounts, but the only common link is what games are played and how they are played, which is at best circumstantial. In cases such as these, which almost undoubtedly go on with some frequency, one can assume that the casino usually ends up paying out because as far as the paperwork goes, everything checks out, and other than playing and betting structure, there truly is no way to tell that the two accounts have anything to do with one another.
Furthermore, any bonus that I have personally taken advantage of usually involves some sort of weakness in the wagering requirements, and enables a player to play some sort of table game straight up for a profit. In other cases, it involves taking advantage of bonus funds by taking a different table game that is allowed, making huge variance bets in an effort to drastically increase my bankroll, and then grinding out the wagering requirements on something else. I tend to stay away from slot machines and keno games for two different reasons:
- I’m not well-aware of the payout distributions for online slot machine games, nor am I well-aware of the overall returns. While some slot games are undoubtedly beatable, I would have to invest significant time in the, ‘Play for fun,’ version and then HOPE that the, ‘Play for real,’ game is set up exactly the same way. Of course, this requires substantial time and effort because I would essentially be doing this by, ‘Trial and error,’ which could involve trying out many different slot games before finding one that I believe to be at an advantage.
- The keno games generally cannot be played at an advantage with promotions, mainly because online video keno paytables tend to be, ‘Bottom-heavy,’ meaning that there is not so much Variance due to the fact that much of the payout percentage is in small wins as opposed to big wins. For example, on a ten-spot, most online Keno games also pay for 0/10 and often pay a half or a full credit on 3/10. While this enables the player to play for a long-time on a lower sum of money (more frequent wins) the infrequent wins tend to pay less in order to compensate for this fact.
However, there has recently been found to be an individual who set up a slot simulator and site with a calculator that a user can go to, input the information (deposit amount, bonus amount, desired bet size and wagering requirements) and the calculator/simulator will give the person the best game to play and inform the player as to what his/her advantage is. The calculator in question is available for purchase on that site which basically works in a manner similar to a subscription site.
Ironically enough, the layout and verbiage of the site is such that it looks like a complete and total joke, similar to some kind of betting system or sport tout website, however, the information on this particular website is actually deadly accurate.
There is more to the website (and what it advertises) than simply taking advantage of exploitable bonuses, the current runs much deeper than that. Among other things, the site has been found to exchange copies of passports and other forms of identification that can then be used to send to the casino to make it appear as though multiple players are actually collecting the bonuses. As with most other bonuses, they tend to be limited to one person per household and IP address, so this information is necessary for a single player to take advantage of an individual promotion multiple times.
Secondly, they have also been found to pool their resources as a syndicate in order to take advantage of bonuses.
The investigation started out when the Betat’s player tracking system, as it would, took notice of similar betting structures (within a short period of time) being utilized by players taking advantage of a particular bonus. Once again, this is something that an individual will occasionally do on a smaller scale with friends or family members, but when this happens, there will often not be enough, ‘Common threads,’ to rise to the level of being stronger than circumstantial evidence. In fact, if one used family members and/or friends to take advantage of a lucrative bonus only a handful of times (let’s say five or fewer) it probably would not generally be detected. Obviously, you might avoid using family members who share your last name or live in the same town, and having done that, there would be nothing in the way of an obvious, ‘Common thread,’ between yourself and those people even if foul play was suspected...which it probably wouldn’t be.
In the case of this syndicate, the casino in question made a number of additional determinations, that rise WAY beyond merely circumstantial, in order to come to the conclusion that there was something more than mere coincidence happening.
For one thing, none of the players in question signed up by way of an affiliate traffic link, which is extremely unusual. Wizardofodds.com, WizardofVegas.com, LatestCasinoBonuses.com and the entire LCB family of websites exist as online casino affiliates, which simply means that we advertise for online casinos. That’s how we butter the bread around here. The online casinos basically need the affiliate sites because there is really no other way information about the product they are offering is going to get out. Trust me, if an online casino could drive players to their website in the same numbers without paying for advertising, then they would be more than happy to do that!
However, they can’t. What you have in this particular incidence is a casino getting hit hard and heavy, over the course of a week, with a bunch of players seemingly independently happening upon the online casino in question, with no affiliate link whatsoever, and taking the same bonus.
Even if that weren’t enough to come to the conclusion that some kind of greater collusion was taking place, it wouldn’t have to be.
The casino does advertise without the use of the affiliate sites, because they operate in the United Kingdom and are fully regulated, they are free to advertise in any fashion that they wish without any encumbrance (other than paying for the advertising) including terrestrial means of advertising. The casino in question, however, did no such advertising right around the time of this tremendous influx of players (relative to the usual numbers) and furthermore, the players did not use any links or codes that were happened upon by way of online media. (Think of commercials that take place when you are watching an online video, for example)
In other words, you had a bunch of players who were basically all finding this site out of nowhere and using the offers promoted directly on the site as opposed to some other affiliate link or other means of advertising. Normally, this would seem like a fantastic position for the casino: Here they are getting all of this new traffic and these new signups and the best part is that there are no affiliates to pay! Fortunately, for the casino, this is one gift horse they decided it might be wise to look in the mouth.
The only reasonable answer is that the casino must be killing it on Google, or some other major search engine, and as a result, traffic is being driven to their site via that avenue, right? It turns out that was wrong, too, of all of these players NOT ONE had any referral link from Google Analytics that drove them to that particular online casino. If there were not a major syndicate attacking this casino in a controlled and coordinated manner, then only one thing could be happening, a bunch of people were finding this casino, all at once, for absolutely no discernible reason whatsoever!
The only way to possibly explain this sudden influx of players, then, would be word of mouth. Is it possible that the players had all went straight to the website by way of word of mouth, or perhaps some sort of referral on social media that wouldn’t be obvious to the normal means of tracking where new players are coming from? While that would represent an extremely outside possibility, technically, the casino could not rule that out completely, so the casino would have to do further investigation into these accounts before throwing accusations around.
The first common thread is that all of the players accepted the welcome bonus. In fairness, it’s hardly unusual for a new player to take a welcome bonus from an online casino, considering that is the entire point of having a welcome bonus to begin with. In fact, there can be no question that it would be more unusual for a player to NOT take a welcome bonus than to take one. While it might be considered unusual for every single player signing up for Betat Casino within a certain period of time, during which there were an inordinate number of signups that all seemingly came from nowhere, to all be taking the bonus, it is not technically impossible.
The next common thread was that all of the players deposited the same amount of money. While many would consider that to be damning and render a conclusion as such, presumably, the amount of money deposited would reflect taking the max bonus offered by the welcome promotion. If we assume that all of the players are taking advantage of the promotion legitimately, while it would be unusual not to have any players deposit less that the full amount, again, we haven’t reached the realm of the impossible yet.
The kicker in all of this is that all of these players played the same games, which is what takes us from the realm of advantage play to a sophisticated and coordinated strike against the casino in question. Not only were the same games played, but every single player engaged in similar betting patterns against these games. We have officially reached the realm of impossibility, it’s all too coincidental to be coincidence, this has to be a coordinated attack.
Rather than close all of the accounts immediately, refuse to pay and call it a day, Betat Casino decided to try to devise a way to actually prove what was happening in order to make us (as well as other casinos that could be affected) aware of the problem.
Fortunately, for the casino, they have automated systems in place that enable them to search for activity of the player outside of the website. Obviously, not all of these players would use a fabricated identity, fake passports and the like, some of them played under their own names. The sophisticated automated researching systems used by the casino, in effect, enabled them to scour social media, and the Internet at large, in order to do searches for these players and try to come up with any information as to how they were being scammed, and the source of the scam in question.
The process of joining the website that tells the players specifically how to beat the casinos, I will admit, is about as intelligent as it could be. The first thing that happens is that the player pays for membership to the site, however, the site does not actually take place on that site but rather on Facebook. After paying for the access, you will receive an E-Mail directing you to sign up on Facebook (if you’re not already) and adding a specific individual as a friend. At this point, the website itself will vet the account to ensure that it is a genuine Facebook account, if they determine it is not, then it will be reported to Facebook (as well as the E-Mail address) as fake. They will also check the IP’s (on their website) and insta-ban any accounts with IP’s from certain other areas.
For those of you who might ask, “We’re talking about what, twenty people?”
The secret (invitation-only) Facebook group consists of 7,000 members!!!
From there, Betat Casino was able to find all of the websites that were affiliated with the greater scam in one fashion or the other, one common denominator is the fact that the owner of the different websites has his name somewhere on the pitch on the homepage, in most cases.
Some of the information for paid members is perfectly legitimate to share and information that we offer for free on WizardofOdds.com for some games, for instance, turtorials of Advantage Play and learning how to determine expected value. In fact, I have written extensive Articles here about precisely that, with respect to specific casino promotions, in fact, but I have always encouraged individuals to remain within the realm of the Terms & Conditions...so the casinos are not particularly concerned about me. In fact, one article I wrote was essentially requested of us BY a casino because they wanted to show that a promotion was generally an advantageous promotion. They wanted people to know! Of course, while high-percentage, it was very low $$$ value, which is why the casino probably wasn’t overly concerned with me explaining how to beat it.
Other information, however, consists of the sharing of copies of passports, logins for different sites, to that player can give the impression that they are different people and take advantage of multiple accounts, or alternatively, so that low bankroll players can pool their resources together to play against the casino.
There was a player who was singled out for questioning as the result of making multiple mistakes: For one thing, he made statements about his account (bonus information, live chat logs, withdrawals) on Facebook under his actual name that referenced an account being played under a different name. Furthermore, this player also made the obvious mistake of signing into multiple accounts using the same IP address. Of course, the player in question probably tried to avoid doing the latter, but just got sloppy. Talking about accounts that belonged to him but were not in his name on Facebook, however, was just stupid. It reminds me of all of those stories in which people confess to crimes on Facebook, or in which wanted people inadvertently hand their locations directly to police by posting where they are and what they are doing!
Furthermore, the individual in question also makes references on Facebook to the status of his, ‘Accounts,’ on one website, note the plural. Interestingly enough, the individual in question also made an account under his name, which hadn’t been verified (because the casino already suspected him of multi-accounting) and during that time, the player made a post with respect to withdrawals that he had pending.
There was also some dissention in the ranks of the group as multiple people within the group pointed out, and I’m paraphrasing, this is a small group of casinos which might normally enjoy just a few new player signups per day, all of a sudden we hit these casinos en masse with a crapload of signups all taking the same bonus, how did you expect us not to get caught? It was at this point that the leader of the syndicate bragged that he has done this over one hundred times, recommended over 100 individual casinos, and had only had problems with the two casinos in the group in question.
Ultimately, Betat is going to terminate all of the accounts of anyone in the Facebook group, which is unfortunately a process that has to be done somewhat manually. As a result, the Facebook group has encouraged players to make complaints against the casino so individual players can attempt to receive a withdrawal before they are discovered. While I cannot be sure, I should like to assume that the casino put a temporary moratorium on withdrawals until the whole thing was sorted out.
There have been many occasions in which online casinos have offered exploitable bonuses that have yielded positive Expected Value for players while playing within the Terms & Conditions, in fact, our family of sites (and our owner’s fortune) was built upon taking advantage of such promotions. Not least among these promotions was the fact that, several years ago, bonus promotions involving online blackjack were eminently beatable due to having insanely low playthrough requirements.
As online casinos realize that they are offering beatable promotions, they will often change their Terms & Conditions, or change the promotions themselves, in order to render them not so easily exploitable. In some cases, the promotions will remain the same because the casino in question is not offering something so lucrative that they are afraid of players taking advantage of them.
In this particular instance of actual cheating and defrauding of casinos taking place, while many might say, ‘Good for those who made money,’ the truth is that this is bad both for players who seek to (individually) take advantage of lucrative promotions and for casual players alike. This is a negative development for those who wish to take advantage of promotions, on an individual level, because it is more likely than not (given such events) that casinos will be loathe to offer any promotions that are beatable.
The casinos might take countermeasures to ensure that their promotions are either more difficult to beat, or that the EV of an individual promotion makes it not worth the time and resources it will take it exploit it. The casinos may not offer games that are as good for the player, may increase playthrough requirements, or as many have done with table games, will restrict some slot machines and/or keno games for applying to the wagering requirements...or even being allowed to be played with a bonus at all.
This is also a negative for all players because the sort of vetting that led to the exposure of this massive syndicate, some of whom were engaging in blatant fraud and identity theft, may be applied to all players who wish to withdraw their winnings from an online casino. Furthermore, online casinos work with a number of verification agencies whose job it is to vet the information given to them by a player to attempt to ensure the authenticity of that player’s information. While I am not 100% cognizant of how these agencies actually go about doing this, I do understand that such agencies exist and often, when there is a delay in the player getting paid, it is because such an agency has not been able to verify the legitimacy of a player’s information, to that point.
Once again, we have a situation of a betting syndicate here in which players deposited the same amounts, took the same bonus, and played it in the same way. Unfortunately, players who are playing individually but following the advice for beating certain promotions that I have disseminated in some of my articles would also be playing in roughly the same manner, but obviously, I am not running a syndicate of any kind. However, the online casinos might eventually decide that certain forms of bet structuring (and some casinos have already done this) will no longer be allowed which will render many of today’s best legitimate plays obsolete.
This is also a simple case of greed by the individual who heads up this syndicate and all who work for them. Much less than a simple case of altruism and wanting to see online players win money, this is an individual who has sold his knowledge, created a syndicate, and helped engage in finding ways to defeat the security measures of, as he claims, roughly 100 online casinos for a not insignificant fee. In other words, it wasn’t enough money for him to know what games could be beaten and take advantage of the promotions himself, (and perhaps have friends/family also do it at his behest) but he also wanted to make as much money off of it as possible by demanding a not insignificant fee for the information.
In addition to being exploited by these players, the casino in question may have also suffered some undue and unfair damage to their reputation. In the Facebook group, the leader of the syndicate (and others) encouraged the players to complain about the delayed withdrawal tactics on various sites in order to put pressure on the casino to pay out the illegitimate winnings. That is harmful both for that specific casino as well as online casinos (taken as a whole) as such public statements make the entire online casino industry appear to be a scam, despite the fact that the only scam, in this instance, was that undertaken by the syndicate.
The result of all of this is that it makes it more difficult for individual advantage players, who play promotions/bonuses fairly and without any hint of subterfuge, to take advantage of promotions for a wide variety of reasons. Not least amongst these reasons is the fact that legitimate players will become increasingly concerned that the casino is not going to payout the player’s winnings because they look around online and see the casinos being accused of slow pays, no pays and delayed withdrawal tactics. Furthermore, it does take longer to get paid as individual accounts (and players themselves) are vetted to ensure that the games were played fairly. If huge undertakings, such as this syndicate, didn’t happen, then the casinos would not have to go to such great lengths to reaffirm the veracity of individual players.
It is also undertakings such as the one undertaken by the syndicate that result in the worsening of the bonuses offered by an online casino. If hundreds to thousands of accounts, even involving fake identifications in this case, are going to be set up for the purposes of exploiting a promotion, the online casinos will eventually structure their bonuses such that they either cannot be beaten or are not worth beating. One bad apple spoils the bunch, as it were.
Once again, I am all for any form of advantage play that legitimately seeks to exploit a bonus that yields unto a player a positive expectation, provided that the player is taking advantage of the bonus pursuant to the Terms & Conditions as written by the casino. In fact, I actively encourage and take part in such behavior!
Furthermore, while I consider it violative of the Terms & Conditions to actively recruit friends and family members to effectively take advantage of a promotion multiple times, that kind of a behavior on a smaller scale is probably not as harmful to the advantage player community at large because it is much more difficult to detect as long as the individual coordinating the effort is intelligent about it and does it as carefully as possible. Again, I am referring to working only with people with a different last name, preferably not located in (or near) the same town, using different IP addresses and ensuring that the credit cards are indistinguishable as being from the same account if that is the method used.
However, syndicates such as these hurt everyone except for those within the syndicate (and also occasionally them, too). The reputation of the casino in question can be harmed for no due reason, the casino (obviously) loses a ton of money prior to the discovery of the syndicate, it makes it harder for individual advantage players and casual players to take advantage of promotions and make withdrawals in a timely manner and those participating in the syndicates themselves can also be harmed because they pay to join the syndicate and might occasionally lose money if they are found out. Furthermore, the actual individuals (and those who may unknowingly be associated) might find themselves on massive online casino blacklists in a real hurry.
Perhaps most importantly, we do not know where the copies of the passports and other forms of identification came from, and as such, this could also be a blatant case of identity theft taking place. If that is the case, then there are a number of criminal charges that can be levied against the players who knowingly or unknowingly used identifications that were disseminated without permission. If any such occasions come about in conjunction with this story, you’ll hear about it here in a follow-up article.
As always, good luck and may all of your positive expected value meet with positive results, as long as it does it fairly.