Worst Player Experience of 2016

“Smartlive Casino – not so smart!”

From the desk of Max Drayman:

“SmartLive has got to go down as one of the slowest train wrecks in casino history. For us the story began back in 2011-2012 when the casino started squashing sizable wins with totally bogus excuses.

In one case they confiscated €6000 and emailed the player saying “take half or you get nothing”. When the player balked and came to us it suddenly turned into a “fraud” case — no evidence was ever produced — and the player was tossed to the curb.

In a second case the casino confiscated €11000 for “abusive bonus hunting and similar activity“. When the player complained they said “we’re willing to offer you €1000”. When the player declined — and by this time had come to us — and we tried to escalate the issue the casino people told me “IBAS is handling complaints for us”. I contacted IBAS and they told me that there was no case because SmartLive had was not signed on at IBAS when the player’s problems had occurred. We went back to SmartLive and they fobbed us off with “we need to check with management” and ignored any further attempts to discuss the case.

As a result of the above we posted a Casinomeister Warning in March of 2012. Within a few weeks the SmartLive people came back to us, agreed to settle all previous issues, and assigned a dedicated contact person to work with us on future cases. Great news we thought and put the Warning under review. The next 6 months were pretty quiet so the Warning was pulled.

Early in 2013 we received a complaint that sounded awfully familiar: a player’s €5000 balance had been confiscated and no reason given. We sent in the PAB, they replied “we’re investigating” and then later it was “information is being gathered” and some time after that “the player must be patient”. Rinse and repeat a few times and four months of this had past without a shred of explanation or evidence ever having been produced. We confronted them with the obvious: clear the case or the old Warning will be reinstated. The representative at the time said “I’ll do what I can” which turned out to be nothing: the Warning was re-instated in full.

Same as before: a month or two passed and suddenly they were back with a new rep and a new commitment to do all good things. This time I put it to them that all outstanding issues needed to be cleared and then we might consider a probation period. If all went well then maybe, MAYBE the Warning would be withdrawn.

Well a number of old issue were cleared — even after I put out a general call to the Casinomeister membership for anyone with old SmartLive complaints to come forward — and another extended probation period passed without problems so again the Warning was withdrawn. It’s now May 2016.

Within a few weeks we were getting complaints again — same old story: moderate and large balances being confiscated — and the rep was suddenly unavailable again. We immediately re-instated the Warning again and gave them 30 days to clear all issues. It never happened.

By August SmartLive was in trouble with the UKGC: “UK Gambling Commission suspends SmartLive licence“. As part of the UKGC’s requirements that players be paid the casino swore up and down that they’d take care of everybody and called out for claimants to step forward. Within weeks we were hearing rumours that they were going into receivership.

By the end of September it was clear that unpaid players were well and truly screwed. Finally SmartLive’s site became an empty shell with nothing but some bumff about responsible gaming and an email form for “Withdrawal Request”.

All told it took almost 5 years for SmartLive to go from “dubious confiscations” to fetid corpse and they wasted a lot of good people’s time, effort and money doing so: Rest In Pieces assholes!”

Honorable Mention – Everymatrix.

You can just read last year’s award for Worst Player Experience because nothing has changed. Players are still dealing with nightmare situations with having winnings confiscated at Everymatrix powered casinos. Nobody has properly addressed this – nobody has made a public statement or come up with a decent resolution. And this has been going on for about two years now. Does anyone care? Apparently not.

Worst Player Experience Historical Awards

Worst Player Experience 2015 – Everymatrix
Worst Player Experience 2014 – “irregular playing” accusations
Worst Player Experience 2013 – iovation – support blackhole
Worst Player Experience 2012 – Losing your faith in the gaming industry – Purple Lounge debacle
Worst Player Experience 2011 – US Players (again)
Worst Player Experience 2010 – US Players
Worst Player Experience 2009 – Joyland Casino
Worst Player Experience 2008 – Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet
Worst Player Experience 2007 – HippoJo – Absolute Poker
Worst Player Experience 2006 – Crystal Palace Casino – Club Player Casino
Worst Player Experience 2005 – Royal Dutch Casino
Worst Player Experience 2004 – Hamptons Casino vs the Pirate
Worst Player Experience 2003 – Black Widow Casino
Worst Player Experience 2002 – Fortyplus Casino
Worst Player Experience 2001 – Arcada Casino