The inspiration for this article comes from two threads on this very website, which can be read here:
INetBet No Pay purportedly due to jurisdiction.
Bovada No Pay for various reasons.
Nothing about this article is to be construed as gambling advice, per se, and this article does not necessarily represent the views of WizardofVegas, parent site LCB.org, or any affiliate thereof.
This article reflects the opinions of Brandon James only, so Brandon would recommend that you seek out different opinions when it comes to casino play and not rely on just his opinion.
This article is to be construed as being for informational, educational and entertainment purposes only.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and might need help, in the United States, call 1-800-GAMBLER.
While both of these issues involved a player(s) being no-paid on winnings, they both happened for very different reasons.
In the case of INetBet, the player reports (which is confirmed elsewhere) that they were playing from Switzerland, which the casino claims is meant to be a restricted country.
Generally speaking, when a country is geo-restricted, it will not be possible to access the casino’s website (for the purpose of play, and sometimes, not at all) and a message will come up to the effect that the player is attempting to play from a prohibited country. This is obviously quite an ideal state of affairs because the player is simply unable to play, even if they wanted to, so there will not be any disputes involving a player that arise from such activity.
Even when the website itself does not prevent the player from accessing, “Play for Real,” games as opposed to games such as these, which are, “Play for Fun,” it will almost always have a list of restricted countries.
Normally, it would be preferable for a website to simply prevent access to play for money games if the country is meant to be restricted. Even failing that, it is at least something for a casino to ensure that all restricted countries properly appear on this list.
Even if not, then one would think that the staff of a casino would be aware of what countries are restricted and would take action accordingly. The player in the first thread (which I don’t know if this has been strictly confirmed) claims to have sent documents in that stated where they are playing from prior to the event in question, and the casino still verified them as a player.
With that, we have the casino screwing up on something that they would preferably do, something that they definitely should do and a third thing that seems pretty inexcusable, from my perspective.
This player then hit a 17k random jackpot and would ultimately attempt to withdraw an amount of 14k. The casino declined the withdrawal request, the player complained via one of our competing websites and the player received a refund of their deposit (which may have predated the complaint to the competing website) and was offered a settlement of $2,000, which the player declined.
Both the affiliate website (this is on the record), and the casino, represent that the casino cannot pay the full amount because it would be in violation of that country’s laws. Of course, one immediately has to ask: Then why wouldn’t it be illegal for the casino to offer $2,000?
Obviously, it’s not, so one must assume that the casino could, theoretically, pay any amount they wanted to less than the withdrawal request.
That leaves the general question of: To what degree should the player be held responsible for playing in an unlawful location? In my opinion, the only way the player should ever be held accountable for that is if their area is on the casino’s restricted list. I do not believe that a player should have to research all of their country’s laws just to know where they may or may not play.
Besides that, virtually every offshore casino that is operating in the United States is doing so unlawfully, as most states (perhaps all) have some law in place that does not permit operators to offer an online casino within that state. This page I wrote for Wizard of Odds might be a bit dated, but goes into the laws for individual states. I’ll probably need to rewrite that soon.
One positive for U.S. players is that I don’t think an online casino in the U.S. would try to no-pay for this reason as there are so many active, and potential, players due to the population of the country. Switzerland has fewer than ten million people anyway, so it is difficult to guess how many individuals from the country were playing on this specific website, but the U.S. has individual states that dwarf Switzerland in population, so I don’t think most casinos would use this as an excuse for a no pay and then be forced to add the United States to their restricted list.
So, you tell me: Do you think a player should ever be responsible for knowing who may or may not legally operate within their country when the casino itself is, literally, operating within that country and does not have that country on the restricted list? I obviously don’t.
The second incident linked involves Bovada, but that one is a lot more murky and I’d certainly like some more specific details.
Evidently, the player admitted to playing using WizardofOdds as a tool for blackjack basic strategy in the course of their play. They may also have used the linked calculator that decides for optimal strategy based on the rules and deck compositions.
In addition to that, the player used a big betting strategy for the purpose of the bonus, which they may also have found on the website, in order to play the bonus in a way that the player determined was optimal.
Obviously, we would suggest using our strategies that we’ve previously published in order to play bonuses profitably, but it’s typically not a good idea, should a dispute arise, to tell an online casino that you have been doing that. Right or wrong, most online casinos have rules against using third-party websites, whilst playing, to tell you what to play.
Typically, just to be safe when doing a Blackjack promotion, I will use the WoO tools on a different device, which is also on a different IP address, in order to make sure that I am conforming to Basic Strategy for the set of rules associated with the game. I wouldn’t know if the casino can tell that I am on WoO and playing on the casino’s site, simultaneously, so I err on the side of caution.
And, most importantly, I would never admit to the casino that I was using a site to get my strategy!!!
Even ignoring the potential for violating their third-party websites or software clauses, which in the case of Bovada, have complicated wording anyway, we also have a problem of the player in that thread (which links to a different site where it was reported) having multiple players play on one device.
This event was from several years ago, but reading Bovada’s terms today, I don’t see anything that would necessarily restrict a player from playing on the same IP address or device as another player. Some of Bovada’s other rules come close. Quoting from a few:
3.2 Single Account Access. You are permitted to open only one (1) Account. Only one account is allowed per household. Multiple accounts held by the same individual are subject to immediate closure and we reserve the right to seize any funds gained as a result of holding multiple accounts. Furthermore you shall not permit another person to access the Website or Software via your account without the express permission of Bovada.
Okay, so the other problem Bovada had with this player was that the player had multiple people playing from their laptop. Evidently, these players had different households and the player attempted to use the excuse that they were friends with these people, and the people didn’t want their families knowing they were playing Blackjack, (presumably, also using bonuses and playing the same way the player did) so the player allowed them to use the same laptop.
Yeah, okay. LOL
My theory is that it was just an advantage player who got lazy and didn’t use cheap burner devices, perhaps the EV of the bonus wouldn’t have justified the purchase and did not make sure to play on behalf of these other people (or, MAYBE, they actually played themselves) from some other location with a different IP address. A few tips on that later.
The two problems that the player might have had that this term speaks to is that the play was probably from the same household, even though the accounts themselves lived in different households. Also, if all play was (by the player’s admission) from the same device, then Bovada is probably not wrong to presume that the players could have accessed one another’s accounts.
3.7 Access Credentials. You may log in to your Account using your email address. You must treat your user email address and password as confidential and not disclose any part of them to anyone else. We have the right to disable any user Account, password whether chosen by you or assigned by us, at any time, if in our opinion you have failed to comply with any of the provisions of these Terms of Service. You are responsible for ensuring that no one else (particularly but without limitation those who may share your internet connection) is able to make use of your Account (or email address) and password and you shall be responsible for all transactions that take place on your Account whether or not you knew or consented to such transactions taking place.
Again, since the player admits that all players involved used the same laptop, it’s not far-fetched for Bovada to assume that they could access each other’s accounts. On this term, they also mention people who share your internet connection, and I’m assuming, but I tend to think that was the case with these multiple accounts being played from the same device and same internet connection.
6.7 "Betting Syndicates". A player or group of players working together in any fashion (also known as a "syndicate"), to receive either eCash winnings or activity bonuses or otherwise, may only have one Account in total, and any redundant Accounts will be consolidated into the one Account. An administration fee may be charged and payouts refused for each redundant Account, in our sole discretion. All wagering transactions in redundant Accounts are subject to reversal at our sole discretion. We also reserve the right to forfeit the principal of any wager placed in an attempt to defraud or exploit the house of any bonus and/or non-bonus monies, whether a player does this on their own or in collusion with other players or other sportsbooks.
With this, even if the player wanted to argue that they were all playing separately on separate funds, which might even be true, it reeks of a, “Betting Syndicate,” if you have multiple individuals playing from the same device and the same IP address. This term even speaks directly to the use of bonuses.
ADVICE FOR PEOPLE BONUS WHORING
Listen, I’m all about whoring bonuses, but you can’t be sloppy. You get that? Don't be a sloppy whore, okay?
From what I get from this complaint on Bovada, we’re talking about an individual who played what they perceived as a +EV Bonus, which they gathered from WoO and then actually told the casino that they were getting strategy for Blackjack (and perhaps even bonus strategy) from WoO, which is immediately a huge mistake.
Evidently, the player felt that they had been caught in terms of multiple accounts being played from the same device, and perhaps even the same IP address, so then the player seems to have fessed up to that. If the casino decides you have done that, you’re probably screwed anyway, but telling what I suspect is a half-truth isn’t going to help you.
I suspect that it’s half true in that the player admitted to multiple players playing from the laptop. The part that I consider far-fetched is when the player claims (link in that thread) that the player allowed other player’s to use their laptop because the other players did not want their families finding out they were playing Blackjack. Blackjack, I presume, that was being played with the same bonus, same strategy and same strategy to generate profit from the bonus.
I’m not going to say who, but even in state-regulated casinos, I know of two individuals who got popped and had their accounts closed by Caesars for making offsetting sports bets in different states! Their mistakes were the bets being made too close together and the sporting event in question was one such that it would not normally draw the action they were putting down.
With that, here are some pieces of advice for those wanting to multi-account, or for those who want to make offsetting sports bets to guarantee profits from a bonus. We will start with the offsetting sports bets first, because that’s easier.
1.) If you are going to make offsetting sports bets to take advantage of a bonus, with another person, then you want to:
A.) Be physically separate from one another, different states, if possible.
B.) Not pick an event that wouldn’t normally draw big action, as that is immediately going to get attention. I imagine any sporting event has some sort of bet amount trigger that would cause the website to have someone actually look at it.
C.) Make sure there is some time difference between the placing of the bets, even in different states and on different websites with different people.
D.) Do NOT place the offsetting bets on the same website.*
*Even if you don’t place them on the same website, I assume that websites sometimes talk to each other and, even following these rules, it’s quite possible this activity gets noticed. Fortunately, they probably wouldn’t be able to prove anything.
*Also, the more unusual the sporting event, the more likely such action is to be noticed. Doing this on something like a nationally-televised NFL regular season game is much less likely to draw attention, especially if the bets are on different websites, from different people, in different states and are placed with at least a little bit of a time interval.
Even following the above rules, you can still do extremely well and have guaranteed profits. You’re going to sacrifice some EV, sure, but it’s better than getting caught out and sacrificing all of your EV as a result.
2.) Casino Bonus Whoring and Multi-Accounting:
A.) When it comes to offshore casinos, always do your research into whether or not the casino you are targeting has affiliated casinos that you have played before. Most online casinos, if not all, have bonus rules that state that only one bonus can be taken, per player, per household, per IP Address, in that entire casino group.
B.) If you are going to engage in multi-accounting, never play two accounts from the same device. You can find cheap wireless-internet capable phones, as well as cheap laptops, at any number of places.*
*If that sounds ridiculous, let me assure you that there are some states where doing all possible new player bonuses and playing in the safest most, profit-guarantee focused way possible will more than pay for the purchase of the El Cheapo device.
C.) If you are going to engage in multi-accounting, never play two different accounts from the same IP address or the same extremely localized geographical area, such as house or street. This is especially true with individual state online casinos, which will tend to require geolocation, to ensure that you are not playing from outside of one of their regulated states.
D.) My personal preference, per individual casino, is to get everything done and cashed out on one account before starting play (or even depositing) using another account. If you actually live in the state in question, then this should not be a problem and you should not be in any great hurry to slam through as many accounts as quickly as you possibly can.
With that, take your time…make sure you get your money and then move on to starting the next account. One. At. A. Time. I can’t emphasize that enough. Even if you do eventually get paid, even state-regulated online casinos can hold up your money as long as they want to, and if they decide you have violated the rules, might only have to eventually refund your deposit-if that.
So, don’t go too hard too fast. I think what really gets bonus terms changed to something less favorable is when a casino is getting absolutely hammered, anyway. It’s better for you to avoid getting caught, better for all players and better for other AP’s to play these things at a reasonable pace so that the terms do not change and the bonus becomes unprofitable, or only marginally profitable. Let other players play and lose, so that the casino doesn’t notice money leaving as fast as there is money coming in. That’s just an opinion, of course, I’m sure other AP’s would say to get as much as you can, as fast as you can, while the getting is good.
E.) Keep track of WHAT DEVICE BELONGS TO WHAT ACCOUNT!!!! Losing your winnings because you get caught out for multi-acounting is still losing money you could have had.
F.) Consider NOT getting the extra refer-a-friend bonus. Usually, these bonuses are comparably paltry to new player bonuses and they immediately mean both accounts are going to have some attention paid to them. This is especially true if all of these other accounts are playing all of these bonuses the same way your account played them. Online casinos absolutely look at that sooner or later, especially if they are getting hit hard all at once.
–-If you take nothing else away from this, especially for those of you who are only doing a couple of extra accounts at a particular online casino, take away this: Get your money first before you start on the new account. That way, you’ll already be in possession of some of your gains, losing the winnings from all accounts would absolutely suck.
WHEN THE CASINO IS WRONGED
We’ve already addressed multi-accounting as an example, which is a rule I sometimes choose to ignore, because it’s an inconvenient rule for me to be supposed to follow.
If a casino caught me out in so doing, it’s probably going to be, “Okay, you got me.” I don’t mean that I would actually admit to it; I just mean that I would only fight them on it to a certain point, at least, as far as getting winnings goes. I’ll fight much harder to at least get any deposits refunded.
Speaking of refunds, one thing that happens a good bit (especially with offshore casinos) is that a player will play, lose, decide that the games must have been rigged (with no evidence, much less proof) and then request a credit card chargeback if they deposited that way.
When it comes to the third-party payment processors for online casinos, what happens is that they often have to disguise the transactions for being something else, especially in countries (such as the United States) that have laws such as the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act). That law does not actually prohibit players from playing at offshore online casinos, as was so often thought, but it does prevent United States financial institutions from knowingly doing business with online casinos.
As a result, the third-party payment processors for online casinos will often disguise the transaction as being for something else; often some sort of physical product. Here’s a funny story on that:
There was only one occasion in which I requested a chargeback from an online casino. On this occasion, the transaction was billed to my credit card, but they had charged the card one penny less than was deposited into the casino, which caused the transaction to end in, “.99”. The stated reason for the transaction was for some sort of coffee, so both that and the reduction of a penny was, obviously, to disguise the transaction.
The funny thing about that was that I had actually ordered coffee (but nowhere near that cost) recently on my credit card, so I thought they had billed me the wrong amount. It was for that reason that I disputed the transaction, besides that, I hadn’t even received my original order yet.
I think I was able to go in and reverse my chargeback request, but I don’t quite remember as this was nearly a decade ago.
END OF FUNNY STORY
Anyway, some players will lose and contest the charges with their credit card company knowing DAMN WELL what the transaction was for. Obviously, that amounts to fraud, but much like offshore casinos are out of the jurisdictional reach of individual states that would prohibit them from operating, there’s not a whole hell of a lot the casino can do about a player requesting a chargeback. That’s especially true if the player requests the chargeback and also asks for a new account number so they won’t be charged by that place again.
That’s another thing; players will sometimes just say, straight up, that it was a fraudulent transaction and, somehow, someone must have got their credit card number.
So, if you ever wanted to play at an offshore casino and they won’t accept your credit card, now you know who to thank.
Some people will do this and not even be advantage playing, at least, not in the traditional AP Expected Value sense. What these players will often be doing is going onto the casino in question, taking some shots with one huge bet or a series of very large (relative to bankroll) bets, and then, request a chargeback if they lose.
It would obviously be preferable if all casinos would operate in ways that all players would consider fair, and above board, but in the unregulated offshore environment, it can sometimes be difficult for them to do so when the players themselves aren’t operating that way.
That’s even ignoring multi-accounting, which is definitely against the casino’s rules…but, at least, with that you win some and you lose some.
Of course, there are other ways that a casino can be wronged. In the case of the iNetBet complaint, (first link in the article) I don’t believe that the player did anything wrong whatsoever, and even if they did, it was only technically so. I fail to see how it could ever be the player’s fault that the casino itself was illegally operating their product, with nothing on the restricted list, in that restricted country.
Personally, I think that player should report that casino to Switzerland authorities as well as all other entities that govern the conduct of casinos elsewhere in Europe, not that I expect it will do anything. I’d consider submitting complaints in every jurisdiction where that casino is permitted to operate telling what happened.
Of course, such an endeavor will likely result in iNetBet sharing the player’s information with other online casinos, which the terms typically allow for, (this is also true of state-regulated casinos in the United States) so maybe the player won’t want to do that.
When it comes to the complaint against Bovada, if what I strongly suspect happened was actually the case, then I would say that Bovada is unfairly being put in a negative light because the player was, essentially, multi-accounting to whore bonuses.
I don’t have a problem with the player reporting it to whomever, or privately seeking out whatever affiliate site might be willing to help them, but I think we all (which includes Bovada) have reason to strongly suspect multi-accounting. All apologies if the evidence…which is just what the player themselves said…that points to multi-accounting is wrong, but it’s difficult to believe that Bovada is in the wrong to come to that conclusion.
With that, I think the public portrayal of Bovada is unfair. I tend to think that the player all but got caught multi-accounting, that the player admitted to a bunch of stuff that they really ought not have admitted to and that lambasting Bovada publicly isn’t the right thing to do. I play; I bonus whore; I have multi-accounted…and when I get caught, you fight it privately, you LIE LIKE HELL, but you also have to be able to admit to yourself that the casino isn’t wrong on this one.
I DEPOSIT, THEY DON’T CARE; I WITHDRAW, THEY WON’T PAY
Running into trouble when it’s time to withdraw can be as true for state-regulated U.S. casinos as it is from offshore ones. Trust me, I know from experience.
That being said, if you are depositing and playing, then the casino has no great reason to be concerned with your account. In almost all cases, I suspect that no human being (aside from unusual sports bets that cause triggers) is even looking at your account for a while. Eventually, a certain amount of action (or loss) might cause the equivalent of a casino host to look at it, but barring those things, it’s very likely no human being looks at your account until you attempt to withdraw.
It’s the same with self-exclusions. If they really cared, then they would check the ID of every single patron at the door. However, if you hit a handpay, you can be pretty damn sure the casino is going to notice that you’re not supposed to be there.
I guess this ended up being an article giving tips on how to bonus whore on offsetting sports bets and how to do multi-accounting as much as it was anything else, but that’s fine.
Contrary to what some may believe, I’m not in the pockets of the casinos (unless I happen to be playing there) and they are not in my pocket. That said, there are times that the player is in the wrong, I would argue, subject to Terms and Conditions that are completely legitimate for a casino to have. One example is multi-accounting.
Obviously, for a player to play (and lose) and then request a chargeback for no reason other than the fact that they lost is simply fraud. Worse than that, the casino has to cover for monies lost to those instances of fraud by tightening up bonuses and coming up with even worse sets of Terms and Conditions.
An example of this was iNetBet not restricting a country’s access, or even having it on the restricted list, or their representative even noticing that the player was playing from a restricted country, then pinning it on the player for not following their own country’s laws. “Well, it’s true that we were illegally offering you our product, but that’s YOUR FAULT!”
Come on, man. The worst part is that this sort of thing makes it more difficult for players to trust any online casino, so it makes me question whether or not the 14k (less the deposit that they did refund) is really worth the loss to future revenues that the entire industry might experience as a result of this nonsense. I would think that online casinos can at least be expected to have a duty of care to have restricted countries, you know, on the restricted list.