Gambling online has not been easy for Americans since 2006. That is the year the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement was passed that made it illegal for U.S. banks to facilitate financial transactions that were for the purpose of gambling on the Internet, where such gambling was already prohibited per US laws. However, it was not strongly enforced at first.
Later, on April 15, 2011, what is known to players and casinos as Black Friday, the US government seized the domains and assets of three major poker sites that welcomed US players. Then most other online casinos, sports books, and poker sites voluntarily quit taking US players.
Years later, Bitcoin made it much easier to avoid banking restrictions. In the last few years, more casinos have come along that take US players. One of those brands is Intertops. Notwithstanding the following story, I would say they have a good reputation, especially for customer service and fast payouts. A friend of mine who is an experienced bonus player recommend I open an account and play their many slot bonuses. So I did.
The bonuses on slots, offered about once a week, despite huge play-through requirements and a $10 maximum bet, can be quite lucrative. They have a lot of RTG slots to choose from, which are generally volatile to begin with, but Intertops are kind enough to give a volatility rating on each one. By choosing high variance games, like Paydirt or Hillbillies, and betting the maximum, I strongly believe an advantage can be had by betting the maximum every spin over as few pay-lines as possible (four lines at $2.50 each) with a shoot for the moon strategy or go bust trying. It is icing on the cake of the random bonus on a game is high.
That said, I made a deposit of about $1,000 in early 2018 and played through lots of bonuses. In the typical bonus, I would deposit $100 or $200, which would get a 100% match, sometimes more. Usually I busted out, but sometimes reached my play-through requirement with a small four-figure profit. After doing this for about a year, my balance was about $2,500. Then I heard through the grapevine that they were getting tough on bonus abusers and got worried. I still played a few more bonuses, which didn't go well. When my balance got to $2,000 I decided to cut and run.
After putting in a withdrawal, I got the following Email a couple days later:
Thank you for choosing Intertops.
This e-mail is to advise you that your pending withdrawal via Bitcoin for US$1998 has been declined as in checking your account the terms and conditions were not adhered to.
Casino Terms & Conditions
Section 2: Bonus Promotions & Slot Tournaments
2.3 If customers withdraw money from their account and then return it, they will not be eligible for a re-deposit bonus.
As a result of the above US$1137.77 has been deducted from your account as you are in violation of our terms and conditions (Coupons "MOTHER2018" redeemed on May 12, 2018 and "SPARKLINGWIN" redeemed on May 25, 2018 were both claimed on US$100.00 transfer to the casino which were not actual deposits).
Should you require any further information or assistance, please feel free to contact us.
Intertops Financial Services
Okay, a couple points here.
First, like many Internet casinos, Intertops has what I'll call a "main wallet" as well as wallets for the various ways to gamble within Intertops, specifically the Casino Classic, Casino Red, Sports book, and Poker. Wherever you want to play, you have to transfer money from your main wallet to one of the four sub-wallets I just listed. Whenever I finished playing a bonus, if I had any money left, I transferred it back to the main wallet. Personally, I always considered it just moving money around within Intertops and not making deposits and withdrawals each time I played. I would like to emphasize that I made a deposit to Intertops with outside money only once.
Second, it was plainly obvious what I was doing. Intertops was blasting me with bonus offers by both Email and postal mail on a weekly basis. It would seem by their interpretation of rule 2.3, which they quote to me, is that you must use new money to play a bonus, which hasn't been played yet before. I circulated the same money back and forth with them for over a year and they had never had an issue. Furthermore, I know of other players who did this on a much larger scale than I did and never had any problems. By tempting me with bonus offers when I was already a proven long-time player with what I'll call "old money" in my account, they were setting me up to fail. Lose gambling and I lose. Win gambling and they throw rule 2.3 in my face and seize my winnings down the road if and when I ask for it.
The next step I took was to file a dispute with the Casino Reps feature at our sister site, Latest Casino Bonuses. LCB is a great site that strives to resolve disputes between their members and casinos they promote. One of these casinos is Intertops. In my request for some help, I stated the same arguments I'm making here. Intertops came back with the following in a very expedient manner, which I applaud.
Thank you very much for your useful input.
Deposit bonus offers are of course intended for depositing players. Transferring chips (and winnings) in and out of the Casino within the shared wallet cannot be regarded as real deposits. A thorough auditing takes place as soon as a real payout is requested and then we apply our rules. We send frequent bonus offers, as players are able to make frequent new deposits. Many players take advantage of these bonus offers by making frequent deposits – many of them even a few times a day.
We kindly ask you to accept our decision, which applies to our rules.
If you have any further question, please contact our casino support team at firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you!
Your Intertops Affiliate Team
So there you have Intertop's side.
This explanation does not satisfy me and I'm still mad. I think Intertops is violating the letter of their own rule and using predatory behavior by sending bonus invitations to players that are already ineligible.
Whether you play at Intertops or not, I think this story should serve as a warning. It seems bonus rules everywhere are long, complicated, and vague. As long as you are a losing player, which most are, I think bonuses will extend your playing time and I doubt you'll have an issue with the better brands. However, if you are a winning player, thanks to skillful bonus play, if the casino doesn't get you on their own interpretation of a vague rule, they can play the dreaded "bonus abuser" card and just seize all your funds with little comment.
At the Wizard and LCB web sites we strive to recommend the better brands. However, sadly, bad things can happen anywhere. So please be careful when playing any bonus at any Internet casino.
Shortly after posting this article, Intertops was given the chance to respond. We are awaiting their response.
There is a lengthy discussion about this topic in our forum.