A Meditation On Being Anti-Casino

TheLastCylon

Banned User - violation of rule 1.19
My earlier post brought up some issues that I want to address more directly. Again, this is half catharsis and half-activism. Also, I want to further affirm that I am not some tin-foil-hat loon.

Pro-Player/Anti-Casino language

I should have better explained my choice of these words, since people read too far into what I was saying.

  • I do think that believing the T&C's to be righteous, and thus defending them, is anti-player, even when the person doing the defending is a player him/herself.
  • These terms defy casino logic, and I do not blame anyone who is taken in by them.
  • Information available from the PAB history reveals an industry that has a long history of confusing its users. I believe that this evinces major problems with the psychology of the online casino world.
I hope to fully explain my feelings with the following information.

T&C's Are Anti-Player

Did anyone else see the episode of South Park where Steve Jobs creates the Human CentiPad? That no one actually reads the T&C's is the running gag of the entire show. In the T&C's of Apple products, in this episode, the user gives permission to be kidnapped, imprisoned, and have their mouth sewn onto the rump of another person. The joke is that the condition being there makes it copacetic and everyone agrees that it is completely fine.

Do you read the legal declaration before clicking “I Accept” before EVERY web page you load? How about every new program that you install? I click “I accept” all the time without reading the terms because they operate on logic that one would expect: do not copy, not liable for damages, etc. If they tried to break the logic of the terms, such as saying that I give up ownership of my computer if I use their website, there would be an outcry and it would not be ruled legal.

Even if the terms are explicitly and boldly stated, I still don't completely blame the users. The terms fly in the face of casino logic. It becomes the logic of a company that is selling bonuses, not casino games. And people unfamiliar with this bizarre bonus world would not understand that. They think that a casino takes bets and pays out winnings, and that's how things work.

To use car dealers as an example again, I would never get angry at someone who went to a dealership, bought a car for a great price, then discovered that the car had no engine. It would not matter that this little proviso was included in the papers, because no one would ever expect a car to be sold without an engine. And if this ever happened, newspapers, television, message boards, and blogs would be alight with the controversy. The practice would not be allowed to continue.

To illustrate my feelings, I looked over MaxD's annual PAB lists, which are ENORMOUSLY helpful. I wish I had found them before making my first post on this subject.

2011:
processable PAB's: 200
Rejected for T&C violations: 52
Percentage of all complaints: 26%


By far the largest chunk of violations that boot people from a viable PAB are violations of terms and conditions that don't even need to be there. If there was any other industry on Earth where fully 25% of dissatisfaction comes from customer confusion, thus resulting in deprivation of goods to the customer, there would be Senate hearings.

2010: 229/55/24%
2009: 270/49/18%*
2008: 281/32/11%*
2007: NA


* Data classification isn't explicit. I assumed the classification based on later PAB summaries.

We are, in fact, seeing a climb in both the real number and the percentage of claims that are rejected for likely T&C violations. We are left to wonder how many of the complainants who go AWOL do so because they come here, complain, and then read all of the information here illuminating their situation to be hopeless, so they simply abandon.

In these data, we also find the number of cases that resulted in payment to the player.

2011:
Total number of cases: 200
Cases paid: 61
Percentage: 31%


So in this first year, of all processable complaints, 57% were either legitimate or associated with T&C confusion. Those are miserable numbers.

2010: 229/76/33%
2009: 270/98/36%
2008: 281/131/47%


For all years, if you combine the T&C violations with the number of legitimate complaints, it exceeds 50% of all processable PAB's.

This is the mark of an industry that is not consumer-oriented. In fact, it is the mark of an industry oriented against the consumer. If the industry was regulated, every homepage that you visit where they have a massive “100 EURO WELCOME BONUS!” there would be a little star next to that claim referencing some text right underneath which would say “With 30X wager requirement. Deposit locked until completion. Many more limitations apply. Click to read further.” And that would be a link to a full, clear, absolute adumbration of all restrictions.

(As I've said, I am not calling for regulation. It is impossible. But this is how things would work if the industry was regulated.)

For example, anyone who has ever been to the United States knows that it is the only Western nation that allows prescription drugs to be advertised directly to the public on television and in print. The righteousness of that not withstanding, there are severe limitations on this practice.

If television ads on TV mention what the drug does, they then have to list all of the most common side-effects. The drug companies obviously do not want to do this, which is why when new drugs are released, for the first six months, they will not even tell you what the drug does in the ads. They only say “ask your doctor about it!” (I imagine a man walking into a doctor's office and asking about a drug from ovarian cysts.)

That is because companies like to keep their customers confused. It prevents true comparison shopping. It prevents informed decisions. And in the absence of good information, many people are wont to assume that things will work as they expect them to. They expect things to be alright, because most people in the Western world as accustomed to regulations that prevent outright scams. Everything will be fine, they think.

I think that my aforementioned anti-casino “bent” is well called for. Vinyl Weatherman described himself as being of the “innocent until proven guilty” perspective, and I think that is right-on. But unless the “guilty” verdict is not confirmed to be outright fraud, I will not blame the player. I will default to blaming the casino.

I do not want to give the impression that I am grinding an axe. I have never encountered any problems with bonuses or otherwise. I go. I play. It all works as I expect it to. But I credit that to my discovery of Casinomeister so early on in my gaming career. If I hadn't, I might very well be the same boat as many people who accept a bonus, decide they don't want to play anymore, and discover that they are locked. Or they win big, and discover that they have violated some element of the T&C's in their choice of game or size of bet.

Perhaps this is because I am relatively new to online gaming, but I feel very strongly that I could be in the shoes of these people. I would be incensed if I hit it big, only to discover that it violated some terms I never expected.

I don't mean that to imply that people here are unfeeling or unsympathetic. I do not want to make people here feel bad for their frustration. I'm very aware that the people here have been dealing with this nonsense for years and years and years, and while the dancers may change, the music is the same.

What I argue is that the frustration is aimed at the wrong target. Do not target people who are taking “advantage” of bonuses, target the fact that the bonuses exist at all, or at least as they are currently designed. Target the bad business of the casino industry.

What About Fraud?

2011:
Fraud: 12
Warning issued/rogued: 17


Again, here we have the two extremes. We have players who turned out to be scammers and casinos who were so bad as to get warned or rogued. The casino count exceeds the player infraction count. This state of affairs is the same for every year for which data is available save for 2008.

2010: 13/33
2009: 31/37
2008: 29/27

Jan 07: 1/7
Feb 07: 2/2
Mar 07: 6/14
Apr 07: 1/5
May 07: 0/4
June 07: 0/1
July 07: 0/0
Aug 07: 1/1
Sept 07: 0/5
Oct 07: 1/0
Nov 07: NA
Dec 07: 0/1
---------------
2007 total: 12/40


Every year, and nearly every month, has the number of rogues be higher than the number of truly fraudulent players. I do not attempt to defend the players, but the casinos are also indefensible. If there was any other industry with this level of corruption, there would be Senate hearings. We can assume that many fraudsters do not come and helpfully report their fraud to CM, but we can likewise assume that many people who are scammed by casinos never come to CM to tell their story.

True fraud on the part of the casino only further cements my belief that the majority of blame lies at the feet of the casinos and the game makers, both for their marketing practices, but also for the industry that they foment and encourage.

An upstanding game maker would not allow this to happen. “Rogue” casinos would not exist. Every client would receive extensive vetting before being allowed to go forward. Rogue casinos would be shut down by the game makers. Instead, we have big boys like RTG and Microgaming almost always claiming the 1-2 spots in the annual list of complaints.

2011: 200 complaints
RTG: 42 complaints/ 21% of total cases
Playtech: 36/18%
Microgaming: 28/14%

2010: 229 complaints
RTG: 54/24%
Microgaming: 35/15%
Rival: 28/12%

2009: 270 complaints
Microgaming: 76/29%
RTG: 37/14%
Proprietary: 19/7%

2008: 281 complaints
Microgaming: 59/21%
RTG: 53/19%
Proprietary: 29/10%


In all cases, the top three account for 50% or more of all complaints. I'm glad to see that they are working hard to keep their brand reputation up.

It could be argued that this would be expected, since Microgaming and RTG are both very large. But NetEnt is very large, as is IGT, and neither of them register very high on this list. And in any other industry, the biggest guys are expected to be the best, not the worst.

Rogues-

2007:
RTG: 16
Microgaming: 5

2008:
RTG: 5
Microgaming: 1

2009:
RTG: 2
Microgaming: 4

2010:
RTG: 5
Microgaming: 0

2011:
RTG: 2
Microgaming: 0


Playtech and the variety of crappy little nobody companies that you expect to fill up a complaint list round out the data. Rival also explodes onto the scene in 2010, but I'm primarily interested in the two big boys.

Their numbers drop off significantly, but that is only new rogues. For many months, a large number of PAB's come in against Microgaming and RTG that were simply against already rogued or NCD casinos. Again, I do not think this has anything to do with their size. For example, NetEnt is very large, but it only has two warnings to its name since the data start.

Demand And Ye Shall Receive

I don't demand more of Casinomeister. It has no official power and is limited in what it can do. And any customers who come with complaints should certainly not expect the world from it. In fact, the job that Casinomeister is doing is nothing short of amazing.

What I do want is the position that I have taken, an anti-casino “bent,” to not be seen as irrational. It's not. I actually think that it is well-supported by the evidence.

I understand that it isn't an intellectually perfect proposition to gauge the quality of an entire industry based on complaints. If we did that, all industries would be unhealthy. But it is statistically sound to gauge the industry based on the makeup of the data, and here, the number of complaints would be halved if T&C's and bonuses were either rejiggered to not be stupid, or simply eliminated, thus allowing casinos to operate as, I dunno', casinos.

Likewise, the number of rogue complaints would be cut significantly if major players like RTG and Microgaming gave a crap about their customers and shut down casinos that didn't abide by rules of good conduct. If they don't demand it, we should.

So, yes. I demand perfection. Casinos that provide will get my money. Casinos that maintain their reputation will receive my kudos and my recommendations. Casinos that do not will receive nothing but scorn and as many bad words as I can conjure.

While I understand that MaxD's ICE report only revealed some casinos to maintain virulently anti-player sentiments, that still means “greater than none.” And as long as that is true, I shall respond in kind.
 

bpb

Banned User - repeated violations of rule 1.14 (tr
PABnonaccred
PABnorogue
Joined
Jun 17, 2004
Location
Haverhill
I pretty much agree with everything you've said here.

I think the lion's share of problems could be avoided if the software enforces all game and betsize restrictions for bonuses. There's no reason it can't. The software provider would simply rather spend their time cranking out a new slot machine rather than do this. If a condition for CM accreditation was that there could be no betsize or game restrictions that weren't enforced by the software, I'm pretty sure you'd see RTG, MG and Playtech add the functionality VERY quickly.

Same goes for country restrictions. If you select Zaire as your country of origin when registering, then claim a bonus, you damn well shouldn't void winnings because people from Zaire aren't allowed to collect bonuses. The software provider can take a few minutes to add

if (country is in <list of bonus banned countries>)
then bonusRequest = HELLSNO

Violating one rule buried in 13 pages of T&Cs doesn't necessarily make you a cheater or fraudster, as many posters here would lead you to believe.
 

Surasanji

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 19, 2011
Location
Israel
Did anyone else see the episode of South Park where Steve Jobs creates the Human CentiPad? That no one actually reads the T&C's is the running gag of the entire show. In the T&C's of Apple products, in this episode, the user gives permission to be kidnapped, imprisoned, and have their mouth sewn onto the rump of another person. The joke is that the condition being there makes it copacetic and everyone agrees that it is completely fine.

Do you read the legal declaration before clicking “I Accept” before EVERY web page you load? How about every new program that you install? I click “I accept” all the time without reading the terms because they operate on logic that one would expect: do not copy, not liable for damages, etc. If they tried to break the logic of the terms, such as saying that I give up ownership of my computer if I use their website, there would be an outcry and it would not be ruled legal.

While I do not disagree with the point you are trying to make, I feel it my duty to let you know: The Joke in this case was that people stupidly click anything on Terms and Conditions without reading them- because they are LEGAL DOCUMENTS.

While I agree they should be logical, there are plenty of real world examples of legal binding documents that are full of bat-shit crazy language. Including that which is potentially harmful to at least one person in said document.

It is your responsibility to protect yourself from that kind of language by reading and understanding those terms and conditions- just as it is your responsibility to undersand and read any other legally binding document that is presented to you and requires your signature, or other action.

Rather than hoisting this responsibility onto software-providers or the casinos I feel players need to be educated to keep an eye out for these kinds of terms that hurt them- and REFUSE to play with those casinos.

An informed and educated playerbase is FAR more powerful.
 

Nifty29

Dormant account
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Location
Turn right, then right. then right again
A very relevant aspect has been overlooked by the OP.

It is NOT mandatory to accept a bonus.

If you don't like the terms of a particular bonus, or you don't want to wade through 13 pages of terms (huge exaggeration BTW), then DON'T TAKE THE BONUS.

What the OP is talking about is how crappy bonus terms are and how they are anti-player, and that anyone who "defends" them is anti-player (how a player can be anti-themselves is beyond me). Well, I don't think that anybody, including me, says in reply to a complaint about breach of terms that "those terms are fantastic! I can't believe you're complaining about breaching them when they're so awesome!". Now, if someone did say that, you could accuse them of being disturbed or uneducated, may warrant your label of "anti-player".

When I respond to such a complaint, my opinion/POV is completely unrelated to the logic or reason for having the term in the first place....that is a totally different argument. My view is that, regardless of why, the RULE IS THERE. The player accepted the terms when accepting the bonus. If they couldn't be arsed reading or understanding what they accepted, then why should the RULE then not to apply to them, especially when the vast majority of players don't have a problem? Rules are rules. If you don't like the rules, don't agree to be bound by them. The rules might be stupid, ill-considered, or even downright awful.....but they aren't mandatory, because bonuses aren't mandatory.

If a casino is going to give you money, there are going to be restrictions....no free lunches these days and all that. If you dont want restrictions, don't take their money. It's simple.

The only way the industry is going to stop offering bonuses is if playersbstop taking them.....and in many cases demanding them.

My POV is not anti-anything. It is simple logic and all about adults being responsible for their own choices....CHOICES....bonuses are a CHOICE. If you can't make an informed choice, then you shouldn't be taking bonuses at all....or even gambling for that matter. It's time for some to grow up and stop blaming everyone else for their own mistakes and poor judgement.
 

slotplayer

Paleo Meister (means really, really old)
webmeister
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Location
USA
I hardly ever took bonuses. Why anyone takes them is beyond me. They're to say the least user friendly. Wr, restricted games, max cashout, max bet requirements all burried in a long winded, rats nest of other complicated terms.

The land casino would send me some bonus play credits now and then, the rules are simple, you can't cash them out and if you try and play them in an inelgible slot machine, they won't download. You can keep what you win off it. I can bet max coin or low roll.
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
I read Cylon's post and had the niggling feeling that something wasn't quite right. When I went back to read it over again I recognized the speed-bump when I hit it:

By far the largest chunk of violations that boot people from a viable PAB are violations of terms and conditions that don't even need to be there. If there was any other industry on Earth where fully 25% of dissatisfaction comes from customer confusion, thus resulting in deprivation of goods to the customer, there would be Senate hearings.

I believe the bias expressed in the above undermines the entire argument, however diligent Cylon has been in forming that argument (and kudos for that!).

First of all the idea that the T&Cs "don't even need to be there" is highly dubious. It is a fact of our times that a great many disputes are argued in courts by lawyers and with that has come the "legalese" of T&Cs. To argue that the T&Cs needn't be there is like saying you want to eat the ice cream but you don't want the sugar, fat and dairy that comes with it. In other words if you want those services in this day and age you're going to get the lawyers involved and that means you'll have the T&Cs to cope with. It's a fact of life not an arbitrary impediment thrown in the player's way simply to trip them up: there are much larger forces at work and for very good reasons. Saying "it shouldn't be so" is wishful and irrational thinking.

Secondly the leap of logic involved in concluding that PAB cases closed because of T&C violations were the result of "customer confusion" is seriously misguided. At least half -- probably closer to 75% -- of those cases are the result of wilful misinterpretation of the T&Cs, the diametric opposite of "confusion". In other words the propensity for people to weasel through, around, under or over the T&Cs in order to gain some advantage is completely missed in Cylon's argument.

My claim here is that a significant proportion of cases tossed for T&C violations are the result of deliberate violation, not accidental. These cases don't get classified as "fraud" because the complainant hasn't deliberately falsified anything or been involved in collusion, code hacking, multi-accounting, etc. But the intent to manipulate the system was there, a deliberate act and most definitely not an accident or "confusion".

My point is this: if you look at T&Cs from the point of view that players are universally honest, easy-going and cooperative then sure, the T&Cs look a bit predatory. But if you look at the flip-side of that, that a significant portion of players are out to beat the casino by gaining whatever advantage they can, then the T&Cs can be seen as basic and well justified self-protection. I'm suggesting the latter is much closer to reality than the former. In my experience malicious player intent is a serious and pervasive problem in this business, I'd go so far as to say it is a "fact of life" for casinos if they want to offer gambling services via the internet. As such the casinos would be negligent and irresponsible if they didn't take actions to protect themselves from it.
 

maphesto

Dormant account
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sweden
Nifty:

You know that there are some casinos where you cannot decline bonuses, right? I would happily see those casinos in the Rogue Pit, but they aren´t there at the moment.
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
... I would happily see those casinos in the Rogue Pit, but they aren´t there at the moment.

While I don't agree that "forced bonuses" are grounds for a Rogue listing I certainly would agree that players need to be alerted WELL IN ADVANCE of such "grey hat" techniques. Bryan recently introduced a "reservations" listing, maybe that would be the place to flag such things:
"The Reservation"
... The casinos listed here are casinos I have reservations about; some players may find them fine 'n dandy, others may have bad experiences. This section allows me to state what my reservations are.
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
While I do not disagree with the point you are trying to make, I feel it my duty to let you know: The Joke in this case was that people stupidly click anything on Terms and Conditions without reading them- because they are LEGAL DOCUMENTS.

While I agree they should be logical, there are plenty of real world examples of legal binding documents that are full of bat-shit crazy language. Including that which is potentially harmful to at least one person in said document.

It is your responsibility to protect yourself from that kind of language by reading and understanding those terms and conditions- just as it is your responsibility to undersand and read any other legally binding document that is presented to you and requires your signature, or other action.

Rather than hoisting this responsibility onto software-providers or the casinos I feel players need to be educated to keep an eye out for these kinds of terms that hurt them- and REFUSE to play with those casinos.

An informed and educated playerbase is FAR more powerful.

There is a big difference though, in the "real world", such documents are regulated, and terms that are viewed as "anti-consumer" can be struck out, even retrospectively after a customer has signed "I agree". This protects customers from the more predatory practices, and ensures that there is something constraining the creativity of the business lawyers involved.

Online, no such protection exists, yet it is an environment where customers are even LESS likely to read the terms. The problem is that the terms have to be read there and then, usually right in the middle of an installation process or registration. In order to avoid being interrupted, customers click "I agree" solely to be allowed to complete the process they are currently in the middle of. Having done this, they tend to forget that they haven't really read those terms, and carry on blind to what they have agreed to. In the real world, you can take the terms away with you, and sign and return them at any point between enquiry and agreeing to take the product or service. You also get time to "sleep on it".

Casinos have already admitted that "instant gratification" is key to their success, and that if any part of the process forces players to "sleep on it" and come back tomorrow (such as pre verification), many customers decide NOT to follow through by depositing and playing. These are even instances where the design of the process makes it IMPOSSIBLE for a player to read the terms until they have registered their details and installed the software, at which point they can be interrupted by pop-ups and phone calls encouraging them to hurry up and make that first deposit. All designed to make them act on impuse, rather than go away and think about what they are agreeing to.

I have seen countless "fake" landing pages where everything you try to look at, even terms and conditions, just forces the software download pop-up to appear, the ONLY option is to download the software and hope it presents the terms and conditions to you during the process, and often you only get to see the software terms, not the casino terms. Inexperienced players easily fall for this, and never get to find out the terms that willl apply to that first deposit.

The other inconsistency is the argument that bonuses are a gift, not a right, yet some casinos make them COMPULSORY, and when challenged, one even stated that allowing a player to deposit WITHOUT claiming a bonus was itself "abusive". It is clear that the official explanations do not match the REAL explanations behind the bonus rules in some cases. I believe this little gem came from a rep for Virtual casino group - he didn't stick around for long:rolleyes:

With all the BS, contraditions, etc, does the industry really expect players to believe their explanations?

A true FACT is an absolute, however "fact" produced by casino reps seems to differ widely between one casino and the next, with many direct contradictions. It is clear that these "facts" are merely "opinion" presented as fact.

Does the industry REALLY want every player to read and fully understand the terms before clicking "I agree", or would they go bust because so few would proceed with this fuller understanding.
 

TheLastCylon

Banned User - violation of rule 1.19
While I do not disagree with the point you are trying to make, I feel it my duty to let you know: The Joke in this case was that people stupidly click anything on Terms and Conditions without reading them- because they are LEGAL DOCUMENTS.

That is true, but the actual legality of them is highly questionable. These are known as click-through terms and conditions, and they have rarely actually been tested in court. This is primarily because places where CT-T&C's usually apply, software, are filled with the standard, logically expected bits of legalese.

The few times that they have been tested in court, sadly never in the US, they have not held up.

Truly, time and time again, when contracts are shown to be unreasonable, judges in all jurisdictions have no problems tossing them out.

While I agree they should be logical, there are plenty of real world examples of legal binding documents that are full of bat-shit crazy language. Including that which is potentially harmful to at least one person in said document.

Yes, but most of the time, the harmful contracts that actually hold up are harmful not because they were initially unreasonable, but because of loop-holes. The contract was meant to be reasonable. "Good" legalese makes an art form of making the unreasonable sound reasonable. And again, the online world is dominated by click-through contracts which are legally dubious. I do not have a lawyer present. I do not have a representative of the company walking us through the details. I do not get to debate the language. It's all or nothing.

And even if I did accept, just because a car company states in its T&C's that the car that I am buying may explode during use, it does not make it alright that the company sold me a car that might explode. T&C's do not excuse bad behavior.

And even if they did, I don't care. I'm not concerned with the absolute legality of the sitution because there is no law. All of these casinos operate in different countries, I live in the US and Canada, there is no way that any of these T&C's could ever actually be brought before a court. For the same reason that regulation would never work, laws do not apply.

All that applies is common sense, logical expectations, and whether companies live up to expectations or not.

Playing with bonuses is everyone's choice, and I choose to not play with bonuses. I am still going to attack the casinos for offering the bonuses, though. For example, I drive a car, but I still attack the companies for not building safer, more petrol-efficient cars, though. I make noise, because that's what begins the gears of change. I do not simply accept the status quo. And since we here are the community, we should be making the most noise, not excusing the casinos for their bad business models.

Rather than hoisting this responsibility onto software-providers or the casinos I feel players need to be educated to keep an eye out for these kinds of terms that hurt them- and REFUSE to play with those casinos.

An informed and educated playerbase is FAR more powerful.

I can only say that I completely and whole-heartedly disagree with your first statement. The casinos make the industry, the customers simply line up. If the industry sucks, it is not the fault of the people in line.

I completely agree on your second point, but I would go one further. An informed and educated playerbase is the only power that we have, which is why I think it important to make as much noise as possible on these forums.

A very relevant aspect has been overlooked by the OP.

It is NOT mandatory to accept a bonus.

That has not been overlooked (And as Maphesto pointed out, this is not always the case). It is immaterial to my post's point. Go to Virgin Casino, a respectable casino that I like a lot. Every "join" button, on every page, is paired with the bonus. The bonus is mentioned on nearly every page.

And just as with every casino, there is nothing on the first three pages of information to indicate that the bonus comes with a list of provisos. No little star above the image. No information until well after your account is created and, in some cases, deposited money. Just because it isn't mandatory in the end, doesn't mean that the crappy gift isn't wrapped well.

One element of good marketing is obfuscating the bad parts, and the bad parts of bonuses are thoroughly obfuscated.

If you don't like the terms of a particular bonus, or you don't want to wade through 13 pages of terms (huge exaggeration BTW), then DON'T TAKE THE BONUS.

Thirteen pages may be an exaggeration, but I don't feel it to be a huge one. I've read about how T&C's exist on one page of the site, different (and sometimes contradictory) T&C's on another page of the site, different (and sometimes contradictory) T&C's that comes with the bonus, and even then I have read that if anything is out of sorts on any of those pages Casinomeister members have recommended that you should email, call, or chat with Customer Service, who may give you different (and again contradictory) T&C's, and this information (I have also seen in posts) is not binding because it is ultimately contradicted at the end of the whole mess when the Casino Manager comes in and basically pulls something out of their bum.

If this is the process required to cover myself, then, firstly, the casino is broken, but also the industry and business model that facilitates this is also broken.

My view is that, regardless of why, the RULE IS THERE.

And my view is the rule SHOULDN'T BE THERE. And as long as it is, the casino shall receive my aforementioned scorn.

If a casino is going to give you money, there are going to be restrictions....no free lunches these days and all that. If you dont want restrictions, don't take their money. It's simple.

The only way the industry is going to stop offering bonuses is if playersbstop taking them.....and in many cases demanding them.

What the industry should do is change the nature of bonuses, not simply write problems into the T&C's. Why does no one have a "pay as you go" bonus. The end result is the same, extended playtime, and there is no need for T&C's. The problem is not on the player end, the problem is on the casino end and the fact they are apparently too daft to appeal to their user base without an awful business model.

It's time for some to grow up and stop blaming everyone else for their own mistakes and poor judgement.

This is what I mean when I say that this behavior is anti-player. You consider yourself a different kind of player, and are thus anti-other kinds of players.

Again, would you blame people for taking a medication that hurts them, even when drug companies work to hide these side effects? Afterall, the person chose to take the pill.

I would not. The company is the one creating the environment and setting the rules. That people get confused in this environment is to be expected. Would they have benefited from greater analysis? Certainly, but it is pointless to blame the constituents when the system itself is what is convoluted.

First of all the idea that the T&Cs "don't even need to be there" is highly dubious.

It is not dubious because I am not saying that they don't need to be there in the current environment. I'm arguing that the goal, extended playtime for the player, does not require a bonus system as it is implemented. A better system can be designed that doesn't require T&C's and operates exactly as one would expect a casino to operate.

It is a fact of our times that a great many disputes are argued in courts by lawyers and with that has come the "legalese" of T&Cs.

Yes, but courts are something that essentially none of these online casinos need be concerned with. With the goulash of jurisdictions and player locations, a real, honest-to-god court filing will likely never happen. That is why we have Casinomeister, to provide some semblance of consequence for crappy behavior. If court cases were a legitimate concern, CM would likely not exist in its current form.


To argue that the T&Cs needn't be there is like saying you want to eat the ice cream but you don't want the sugar, fat and dairy that comes with it. In other words if you want those services in this day and age you're going to get the lawyers involved and that means you'll have the T&Cs to cope with. It's a fact of life not an arbitrary impediment thrown in the player's way simply to trip them up: there are much larger forces at work and for very good reasons. Saying "it shouldn't be so" is wishful and irrational thinking.

I think that this analogy does not work. Ice cream requires those ingredients to exist. Gambling does not require T&C's to exist. T&C's are not part of gambling's "recipe". The rules of the game are. It's like saying without bricks, walls would not exist. Yes they would. You could build them from mud, steel, wood, and any number of other materials.

Secondly the leap of logic involved in concluding that PAB cases closed because of T&C violations were the result of "customer confusion" is seriously misguided.

I was giving them the benefit of the doubt, because my point was that they should be given the benefit of the doubt.

At least half -- probably closer to 75% -- of those cases are the result of wilful misinterpretation of the T&Cs, the diametric opposite of "confusion". In other words the propensity for people to weasel through, around, under or over the T&Cs in order to gain some advantage is completely missed in Cylon's argument.

It is not missed, I thought it irrelevant. A willful misinterpretation is not diametric opposition to confusion. That would be understanding the terms fully and then ignoring them. I will proceed assuming that you meant that.

Do you find that surprising? Legal documents, like T&C's would like us to believe that they are, are defined by using loop-holes to weasel around in them. If people try to find loop-holes, that makes perfect sense. Casinos are doing the same thing. This is again the fault of the industry because they have built a world where loopholes can exist.

My claim here is that a significant proportion of cases tossed for T&C violations are the result of deliberate violation, not accidental. These cases don't get classified as "fraud" because the complainant hasn't deliberately falsified anything or been involved in collusion, code hacking, multi-accounting, etc. But the intent to manipulate the system was there, a deliberate act and most definitely not an accident or "confusion".

Again, it is the industry's fault that players can cheat without cheating.

My point is this: if you look at T&Cs from the point of view that players are universally honest, easy-going and cooperative then sure, the T&Cs look a bit predatory.

I'm not looking at it that way. I'm looking at it as a dispassionate third-party, and from that perspective, the T&C's are absurd. The T&C's apply to the entire spectrum of users, good, bad, and ugly, and my argument is that it doesn't matter from which group the user comes; the T&C's remain stupid.

But if you look at the flip-side of that, that a significant portion of players are out to beat the casino by gaining whatever advantage they can, then the T&Cs can be seen as basic and well justified self-protection.

Ummm, yes. That is what players do. It's why things like systems exist. People are always trying to get an advantage. It is again the fault of industry to create this environment where "rules" can be broken.

A well-designed system cannot be broken. It has catches, prompts, and protocols. The mere existence of T&C complaints shows that this is not the case. For example, I accept a bonus and play an unapproved game. A good system prevents me from even doing that. The T&C's become a part of the game logic.

To reiterate, if we assume that T&C's are legal documents, then trying to find loopholes is what you do. It is the nature of legal documents. That is why legal documents have no place in playing a freakin' card game.

And even if we then assume that many people fully understand the terms and try to legally weasel around them, we are still left with many people who are legitimately taken in, and many more who never find their way to these halls to righteously complain. If even one is taken in, I consider it an injustice, and one that doesn't need to exist because bonuses can be designed to not need T&C's.

I'm suggesting the latter is much closer to reality than the former. In my experience malicious player intent is a serious and pervasive problem in this business, I'd go so far as to say it is a "fact of life" for casinos if they want to offer gambling services via the internet.

I would like to turn this around. If manipulating the language of T&C's is "malicious player intent," because we aren't talking about real fraud here, then when casinos do the exact same thing, it is "malicious casino intent," which I consider to be a much bigger and more pervasive problem. A player can only "scam" so many casinos, but a casino can "scam" as many people as it can vacuum up.

As such the casinos would be negligent and irresponsible if they didn't take actions to protect themselves from it.

Exactly! And the necessary actions do not involve convoluted T&C's that will sometimes dynamically change to cover exposure, they involve advancing the business model to something that isn't inherently problematic for both the consumer and the casino. And the failure to do that is entirely the fault of the industry.
 

MJackson

Moderated User - posts must be approved
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Location
Miami, I, I mean Montreal
Excellent post OP.


I think the lion's share of problems could be avoided if the software enforces all game and betsize restrictions for bonuses. There's no reason it can't. The software provider would simply rather spend their time cranking out a new slot machine rather than do this. If a condition for CM accreditation was that there could be no betsize or game restrictions that weren't enforced by the software, I'm pretty sure you'd see RTG, MG and Playtech add the functionality VERY quickly.

Same goes for country restrictions. If you select Zaire as your country of origin when registering, then claim a bonus, you damn well shouldn't void winnings because people from Zaire aren't allowed to collect bonuses. The software provider can take a few minutes to add

Violating one rule buried in 13 pages of T&Cs doesn't necessarily make you a cheater or fraudster, as many posters here would lead you to believe.

This is a great idea, certainly not a new one either. The system is designed that way. It is intentional, obviously. People have been posting exactly this sort of thing for years and years, it never changes.
 

MJackson

Moderated User - posts must be approved
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Location
Miami, I, I mean Montreal
While I do not disagree with the point you are trying to make, I feel it my duty to let you know: The Joke in this case was that people stupidly click anything on Terms and Conditions without reading them- because they are LEGAL DOCUMENTS...there are plenty of real world examples of legal binding documents that are full of bat-shit crazy language. Including that which is potentially harmful to at least one person in said document...It is your responsibility to protect yourself...legally binding document that is presented to you...Rather than hoisting this responsibility onto software-providers or the casinos I feel players

I agree with you 100%. I think recreational players are idiots who deserve to get ripped off if they can't accurately assess their own abilities wrt complex legal analysis. I think gambling is stupid and no one should do it. Therefore everyone should approach the terms and conditions just as a good Manhattan M&A lawyer would approach reviewing a balance sheet, or for that matter, how a highly skilled surgeon might approach repairing a dissected aorta - with careful judgement, sober precision and the years of passionate study that are required for such accomplishments.

You wouldn't let Dwayne the Degen with the camouflage deer hunting hat from local the Indian casino perform an exploratory laparotomy on your grandmother would you? Then he shouldn't be involved in complex transactions like casino bonus plays either, plays which he cannot understand, by design. Let the priesthood tend to matters of the church.

Let the wolves eat themselves.
 

Tirilej

Still a Lady
CAG
MM
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Sweden
I agree with you 100%. I think recreational players are idiots who deserve to get ripped off if they can't accurately assess their own abilities wrt complex legal analysis. I think gambling is stupid and no one should do it. Therefore everyone should approach the terms and conditions just as a good Manhattan M&A lawyer would approach reviewing a balance sheet, or for that matter, how a highly skilled surgeon might approach repairing a dissected aorta - with careful judgement, sober precision and the years of passionate study that are required for such accomplishments.

You wouldn't let Dwayne the Degen with the camouflage deer hunting hat from local the Indian casino perform an exploratory laparotomy on your grandmother would you? Then he shouldn't be involved in complex transactions like casino bonus plays either, plays which he cannot understand, by design. Let the priesthood tend to matters of the church.

Let the wolves eat themselves.

Couldn't you at least have written an intelligent answer that actually said something?:eek2:
 

Tirilej

Still a Lady
CAG
MM
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Sweden
That you exist and are willing to display yourself bolsters my arguments. ;)

Sorry, but I didn't understand this sentence either, but I'm sure someone explains it to me.;)
What I mean is that it's okey to have different view's of things. You don't have to quote him like he was an idiot with his thoughts. At least that's how I read it.
Maybe I was wrong, my english isn't always as good as I wish it was.
 

Seventh777

RIP Roy
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Location
Planet Tharg, dark side, where nothing grows.
Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with everything the OP has stated I also agree with Nifty`s response, so I can pretty well sum all this up in one word, so that respective new and old customers do not fall foul of T&C`s that they have completely failed to read, why not completely remove all of this ball-crap so people cannot go wrong whilst playing a bonus.

And the one word is..........

32Red

It really is that simple, 32Red have done it, then why can`t the others?.

Do I agree with all these anti-player rules and regs?, hell no, but whilst they are in place we have to adhere to them.
 

Nifty29

Dormant account
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Location
Turn right, then right. then right again
It has become clear from the op of the op, and their answers to the points i raised, that his POV is actually quite simple, and didn't require 1000+ words....

...I.E.....every problem related to online gambling is the casino's fault.

He is prepared to excuse any and all cases of poor judgement, poor choice, and ignorance by the player......but not the casino.

If you take a pill, then anything that happens as a result is the manufacturers fault. After all, they held the person down physically and forced the pill down their throats.

Well I say "Vote 1 for thelastcylon!". The era of choice without responsibility is here!. You can lose your savings playing the casinos, and get it all refunded because it's not your fault! You can buy some prescription pills from a street dealer and sue the manufacturer for any side effects.....because its not your fault! You can drive a manual car without knowing how to change gears, have an accident, and sue the car maker....because its not your fault!

See the pattern here? I'm not "some other type of player"....I'M AN ADULT who can READ and WRITE and am prepared to accept the consequences of my actions. I would say the vast majority here are the same as me. The other small % are those who believe in free choice with zero responsibility, and blame the casinos and/or everyone else for not reading terms of the bonuses they take. If the terms are awful DON'T take the bonus. It's OK for 99% of us, so why should the ignorant get a free pass?

You see, your arguments would be sound if humans were brainless drones who don't have the ability to choose for themselves.....but 99% of us aren't.

The best way to initiate change is to vote with your wallet. Nothing else is going to even scratch the surface.
 

max1mike

Dormant account
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Location
USA
You wouldn't let Dwayne the Degen with the camouflage deer hunting hat from local the Indian casino perform an exploratory laparotomy on your grandmother would you?

yeah, i would...she's kind of a bitch.

what else ya got?:D
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
I'm arguing that the goal, extended playtime for the player, does not require a bonus system as it is implemented. ... Gambling does not require T&C's to exist. ... I was giving them the benefit of the doubt, because my point was that they should be given the benefit of the doubt. ... If people try to find loop-holes, that makes perfect sense.... I'm looking at it as a dispassionate third-party ....

No offence but you are anything but a "dispassionate third-party". You've obviously got a strongly felt position on this and you are voicing it with some vigor. Good on ya but you've not been "dispassionate" nor an uninvolved third-party, not by a long stretch. You are proposing people should be "anti-casino": hardly an uninvolved, "third party" stance. You've gone to some lengths to imagine and support your vision of a world without bonuses and T&Cs and so forth, and not at all dispassionately. You've argued that people should weasel their way around the T&Cs because ... because they are there? Whatever, not "disspassionate" and not "third party".

Let's be clear, I'm not faulting you for taking these particular positions, I'm just saying that (a) I disagree with your picture of the industry and your prescriptions for it and (b) I think you've misinterpreted the data available to you, largely because you're reading things into it that aren't there and/or making sweeping assumptions that undermine your entire argument, and (c) you're not exactly what you are claiming to be. Or perhaps you're not really who you think you are. Either way, a "dispassionate third party" you are not.

I've said that the industry will have T&Cs as long as there are lawyers on hire by casinos who believe they need to protect themselves from those who would take advantage of them. You can argue until the cows fly home that "it is not necessary" or whatever but it is a fact of life in this business and to me it seems that pretending it's not is like debating the shape of virtual clouds. Thanks but no thanks, I'll pass on that.

As to the benefit of the doubt I'd have to say this: after well more than a decade in this business I don't think anyone "deserves" the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of who they are -- punter or industry professional -- they pretty much have to demonstrate that they are worthy of it, IMHO. This business is so riddled with fraud, scheming, scamming and various and sundry weaselings from all sides that I believe people are worthy of the benefit of the doubt when the evidence indicates they have earned it. It's like the man from Missouri said, "show me". I'm neither pro-player nor pro-casino but I am very much anti-bullshit regardless of who is doing the shovelling.

And what does that have to do with your point? I'd say that your argument that the T&Cs are uncalled-for is based on some theoretical idea of this industry which I have never seen the merest hint of since I got involved back in '97-98. Maybe someday what you are envisioning will be a reality. Great! But until then I live in a different world than that and not to put too fine a point on it but your imagined world is not of particular interest to me, nor I dare say a lot of other folks who ply these waters on a day-to-day basis. T&Cs do exist and will for the foreseeable future -- which looks a lot like forever to me -- as do bonuses, player scams, casino scams and so forth ad nauseum. T&Cs are a tool for the real world and you're likely to find them in use and rather pervasive for some time to come. If you wish to argue that that makes the casinos the bad guys and that everyone should be against them then that's your position and you're welcome to it. I think there are more even-handed approaches to the whole business but there you go.

Anyway, as I've pretty much said, you have your axe to grind and that's great, rock on! More power to you! But let's skip the "I'm only a dispassionate nobody" stuff shall we? It's bunk and I seriously doubt I'm the only one who thinks so.
 
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jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
Could not have said it better myself.

I intensely dislike the excessive bonusing culture that has evolved in this industry, and the disputes and disruption that it daily generates, but if there was no player take-up, there would be little point in operators offering hese inducements, and I fear that in a competitive environment they are here to stay for as long as a significant proportion of the gambling community takes them...and the risks they entail.

In the real world, T&Cs are everywhere, and necessarily so to spell out the rights and obligations of both sides to a transaction.
 

Mojack

Dormant account
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
Location
USA
I would like to see complete terms and conditions located in one place, written in staight forward concise layman's terms.
I hate to see a small book written in small font. Perhaps a glossary of casino nomenclature could be included ie "Spirit of the Bonus" etc...
Casinos should keep it customer friendly, imo.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
I agree with you 100%. I think recreational players are idiots who deserve to get ripped off if they can't accurately assess their own abilities wrt complex legal analysis. I think gambling is stupid and no one should do it. Therefore everyone should approach the terms and conditions just as a good Manhattan M&A lawyer would approach reviewing a balance sheet, or for that matter, how a highly skilled surgeon might approach repairing a dissected aorta - with careful judgement, sober precision and the years of passionate study that are required for such accomplishments.

You wouldn't let Dwayne the Degen with the camouflage deer hunting hat from local the Indian casino perform an exploratory laparotomy on your grandmother would you? Then he shouldn't be involved in complex transactions like casino bonus plays either, plays which he cannot understand, by design. Let the priesthood tend to matters of the church.

Let the wolves eat themselves.

On first reading this post I assumed it was an attempt at satire or amusement, so arrogant and bigoted is its tone. Now I'm not so sure, but I do know that such a condescending attitude and abusive characterisation of other gamblers is unlikely to resonate well with many members here.

However. I agree with the proposition that we are all responsible for our own actions; we all have freedom of choice; and it is necesary to research before approaching a casino, and then ensure we are familiar with it's rules before playing.
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
Could not have said it better myself.

I intensely dislike the excessive bonusing culture that has evolved in this industry, and the disputes and disruption that it daily generates, but if there was no player take-up, there would be little point in operators offering hese inducements, and I fear that in a competitive environment they are here to stay for as long as a significant proportion of the gambling community takes them...and the risks they entail.

In the real world, T&Cs are everywhere, and necessarily so to spell out the rights and obligations of both sides to a transaction.

Given the lengths companies go to, the ordinary layman doesn't stand a chance.

Recent TV documentaries have gone behind the scenes of the dark art of "marketing", and shown the art to be darker than anyone would expect. Forget clever lawyers, we are talking PHD Psychology, behavioural analysis and manipulation, emotional response prompting, etc - all in the line of emptying our wallets. No one customer has the level of knowledge to see the big picture when presented with the resultant array of marketing prompts. A small number of these techniques are so "dark" as to be banned by law, such as subliminal messaging during a visual stimulus, such as an advert for a product, or even a sponsored entertainment product. It's banned because it works.

Many shops use subtle smells and lighting in order to control the mood of customers, and thus prompt them to buy the products that generate the most profit. That's why your local WallMart (trading as ASDA in the UK) might smell faintly of lemons.
 

ksech

Dormant account
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Location
Here
Just to add my worthless two cents...

Casinos have been FORCED into to writing these mega-paged, mind-boggling, need-to-be-a-lawyer-to-understand T&Cs because human nature has created players who have created every possible scenerio from playing honestly to plying every trick imaginable. (Now how's that for a run-on sentence???) There was a member here just a few months ago who posted about hacking one of the casinos/softwares/games (?) to place bets that shouldn't have been allowed. It's players' like this that T&Cs are molded after. Or the player who "accidently" makes 170 [email protected] $110, or the player who has multiple accounts at a casino but "geesh" I forgot I already took the SUB and opened another new account, etc.,etc.,etc...

If casinos weren't faced daily, with scammers/trickster/cheats, but who only had HONEST players, then the need for T&Cs would be obsolete. But this will never happen. The only way to insure YOURSELF from being free of entrapment from T&Cs, is to play bonusfree or to not play at all.
 

Simmo!

Paleo Meister (means really, really old)
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
England
There is a good point in the OP though and that is that anti-casino feeling does exist. And the reason it exists is because it's an unusual industry in that there really is no product: it's all about winning someone else's money. Casinos want the player's money, the player wants the casino's money and right down through the ages and for evermore, you have two sides that compete with each other. It's not a mutually beneficial transaction like buying something in a shop.

That's gambling. But...it can be managed.

While casinos insist on selling themselves through offering "free money" signup bonuses it ain't ever going to change because those will often attract the sort of player that a casino doesn't want to deal with and consequently end up in opposing positions with. The "anti operator" sentiment will always be there to a degree from some quarters but it is exacerbated by the signup bonus culture and the only people that can prevent that are the casinos themselves. I have no sympathy with either side.

I could also bang on about more effective regulation to stop some of the dodgy casinos touting their wares inappropriately - that would help. But it's been covered recently so I won't.
 
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