Bella Vegas - bonus confusion and trickery

Vesuvio

Dormant account
For reasons of space I've put Bella Vegas in the title (as the specific example below is from them), but this complaint refers to all of their partner casinos: Grand Bay, Lake Palace, Jupiter Club, Fortune Junction and Jackpot Wheel.

Until recently they struck me as an exemplary group of MG casinos. They offered a number of weekly & sometimes twice-weekly bonuses with the format: deposit x amount and get 25% up to x free. The deposit could be played on any game & the bonus on slots only. Usually you'd lose the bonus on slots, of course, but their CS were polite and helpful and any winnings were paid quickly.

In the last couple of weeks, however, their promotions have descended into chaos. They've changed the wr on the bonuses (it could be 15x bonus, 20x bonus or 15 or 20x d+b), added a requirement to deposit $20+ between deposits that receive bonuses & restricted the games that can be used to wager the deposit. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course, except that the players weren't informed (despite each promotional e-mail having a "terms and conditions" link which you might expect to help).

The trouble is that even if you still think to check all the terms on the website (despite having played similar offers for months), they're a total mess. At many of the sites the terms are split into those for different bonuses, but none of the headings apply to the particular bonuses in question, or some of the terms contradict each other. It requires eagle-eyed reading to spot some new terms (e.g. depositing between bonuses), while some are artfully hidden away. One player had a term quoted to him by Lake Palace and was told he could find it by: 1) Going to the download page (why would you go there after having downloaded long ago!?), 2) click on terms and conditions, 3) click on "9 Other Conditions" then 4) see term 21, which had obviously just been tacked on to the end a day or two previously.

The net result: a large number of players will have lost money under false pretences. I'm not sure the CS have a much better idea what's going on, but someone's definitely exploited the situation by offering some bonuses requiring much higher deposits just after the terms were changed.

My advice to players: be extremely cautious with these casinos and read all the fine print on their websites (even in places you wouldn't expect to look) before depositing.

My advice to the casinos: if you're not trying to trick your players then have another look at your websites and try and organise them to be clear and informative rather than utterly perplexing! You have a link in your promotional e-mails for terms and conditions: use that to summarise the terms and conditions for the offer in question. The only additional info you need to include is: restricted games for wagering the deposit, restricted games for wagering the bonus and the wagering requirement for the bonus. As it is the player has to go to a huge amount of effort to try and work it out & often just relies on trial and error.

Sorry this has ended up so long-winded, but anyone who's experienced this debacle will understand the frustration! For some light relief my next post is the e-mail correspondence I had with Bella Vegas after they decided not to credit a bonus I deposited for (& remarkably met all the convoluted terms for) last Friday.
 

Vesuvio

Dormant account
As promised... the facts couldn't be simpler. On Friday I deposited 100 and played it through once on poker pursuit. I should then have received a bonus of 100 credits on Saturday.

On Sunday I e-mailed to ask why I hadn't received the bonus. As there was no response I e-mailed again today and received two different replies from their CS - the names have been changed to protect the guilty :D

1)
Dear Xxxxx,

Thank you for your mail.

Kindly note that I have checked your account
and you have not received that bonus, as you have
wagered in the incorrect games.

The excluded games are Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, all
forms of Black Jack and all forms of Video Poker.

Kind regards,

K
2)
Dear Xxxxx,

Thank you for your mail.

Your account has been reviewed.

Your are not eligible for the below mentioned promotion.

As per our terms and conditions, you may wager in Slots or Keno to
Receive the bonus.

Should you require additional information relating to the above, please contact
Support telephonically.

Regards,

K2
:what: So I replied to K that I hadn't played any of those games and to K2 that the terms and conditions are as K said and don't oblige you to play slots or keno.
3)
Dear Xxxx,

Thank you for your mail.

Kindly note, that the terms and conditions
for the bonuses have changed and apply to
all promotions.

Kind regards,

K
:what: :confused: :what: I asked which terms had changed since the e-mail she sent me an hour ago.
4)
Dear Xxxxx,

thank you for your mail.

Kindly note that I have copied you the terms and
conditions form our website:
[if you want to read these see:
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
and click on t&c]
Kind regards
K
So I pointed out that she was quoting the same terms as in her original e-mail, but these didn't contain any reason not to credit the bonus...
5)
Dear Xxxx,

Thank you for your mail.

Please note that I have reviewed your account as requested.

Please note that you wagered in poker pursuit and this is a
form of video poker.

Your account will therefore not be reviewed for this promotion.

Thank you once again for your understanding regarding this matter.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further queries
and I will try my best to assist you.

Kind Regards

J
A new adversary ;) So I explained that poker pursuit was certainly not a form of video poker, wasn't included in the video poker section of MG casinos, had a much higher house edge & was usually called something like "Let it ride".
6)
Dear Xxxxx,

Thank you for your mail.

Please note that I am aware that this game is listed under the
tables tab in the Casino.

Please note that your account will not be credited with this bonus
as you did not meet the terms and conditions regarding this bonus.

Please also note that as per the terms and conditions :

Bella Vegas reserves the right to refuse a promotional bonus for any
reason whatsoever, including, but not restricted to player abuse, and
to close accounts at any time, particularly when registration
information is discovered to be incorrect or misleading or when there
has been a history of charge backs on purchases made.

The Bella Vegas promotions department will be the sole judge with
respect to any disputes regarding any promotional offer.

Based on the above, I thank you once again for your understanding regarding
this matter and please feel free to contact me if you have any further queries
and I will try my best to assist you.

Kind Regards

J
So I was finally "pleased to note" that they'd given up on rational argument and decided to invoke the "we can do whatever we like" clause. They really didn't want to credit this bonus. I'd probably be outraged if I didn't find it so funny :lolup:

I suppose I could pitch a bitch and/or complain to eCogra, but I'd rather just warn other players to watch out for now rather than chasing after a bonus that'll probably be lost in 5 minutes anyway.
 

Vesuvio

Dormant account
I wonder if someone else is reading this thread...

5 minutes after posting the above I found the following in my inbox (they had been replying in under 30 mins, and left it hours after my last e-mail):

Dear Xxxxx

Thank you for the e-mail.

Kindly note that I have discussed this matter with
J & your account has now been credited.

Please be aware that in regard to all the promotions that are run
Poker Pursuit & ALL Table / Video Pokers are excluded.

I thank you for your understanding towards this matter.

Warm regards
T
I suppose all's well that ends well, but bear in mind that there may also now be terms that don't feature on the websites of these casinos ;)
 

trade

Senior Member
Agree!

Funny that this posting comes at this time. I think they have hired some baddd people for their promotions.. I have been a very regular and generous depositor at CGB which has been my casino of choice for several years, precisely because they have had great benefits for VIPS... over the last month or so, I have noticed that their previous treatment of VIPS has deteriorated (it used to be 20% weekly deposit bonus for any losses incurred rewarded each Monday). Now, if you partake of one of their buy $50, get $50 deals or something to that effect, even if you lose, they deduct that from the following week bonus. That might seem fair to some of you, but it never used to be the case and no changes in their T&Cs were ever announced. I closed my account there today.
ps.. I think they should fire their promotion department!!
 

jonevegas

Dormant account
It just seems to be the times, bonuses should now be called boguses, the casinos lure people into depositing and then change all the rules. I dont think with the exception of very very few there are reputable casinos anymore. I will post a change from the Sunny Group.
 

Vesuvio

Dormant account
Vesuvio said:
You have a link in your promotional e-mails for terms and conditions: use that to summarise the terms and conditions for the offer in question. The only additional info you need to include is: restricted games for wagering the deposit, restricted games for wagering the bonus and the wagering requirement for the bonus.
Judging by a Jackpot Wheel promotion I received today (
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
) they seem to have taken the above advice on board and included the info suggested :notworthy It's good to see a casino group actually listening to criticism.

The only thing that isn't clear now is whether the remainder of the deposit that doesn't need to wagered on slots can be wagered on any game. It would also be good to mention the requirement to deposit between bonuses in the e-mails, unless that term's been dropped.
 

bonustreak

Senior Member
webmeister
I have spoken to the Casinos and they have confirmed that they
are aware of the players confusion. They are seeking to resolve this
issue as a matter of urgency. This will be resolved shortly.

I have played here for years and I trust they will be working on a resolution as they say, and from experience they have always taken players concerns very serious.

Cheers!
 

Vesuvio

Dormant account
Glad to see they're supposed to be looking into it. The Jackpot Wheel promo was a bit of a false dawn as all the others have been as confusing as ever. They seem to come up with a different arrangement every few days which must put a strain on their CS, nevermind the players!
 

Pinababy69

RIP Lisa
Well, I'm not surprised to see a post regarding these casinos. The wagering requirements have changed so much and so frequently of late, that it would be impossible for anyone to keep up with it. And the part that upsets me most is that no one was ever informed of any of these changes until after a deposit had been made. Bella, Grand Bay and Jupiter have been my main three casinos for the better part of two years, and it saddens me to see them going this route. I have steadily been losing confidence in online gaming period lately, and to see my fav group of casinos going down a murky road (for a number of reasons), makes me even more wary. I'm waiting to see what happens with them in the future.
 

Dirk Diggler

Dormant account
These fools are now trying a new one even for them. Apart from the obvious disregard for players when they unnoticeably changed their terms and didn't bother to inform anyone, they are now telling me I can't have a recent bonus offer because Poker Pursuit is a type of VIDEO POKER!!!! :what:

I mean it's not even in the Video Poker section so how the hell they can try and claim that one is beyond me.

Wagers on Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Progressive-Poker Ride, Cyberstud Poker, Paigow Poker, Sicbo, Table 3 card Poker, all forms of Blackjack and all forms of Video Poker games do not count toward fulfilling your promotional obligation with regards to amounts wagered.
Anybody able to see anything here that excludes Poker Pursuit?

EDIT: Just noticed Vesuvio has had this problem with them (I'd presumed he'd played it through on BJ or VP as you used to be able to), surely someone here that has a relationship with them (Spearmaster?) can point out that Poker Pursuit is obviously not a Video Poker?
 

Dirk Diggler

Dormant account
I will do if they insist - I was just thinking more of getting them to get their terms sorted so this doesn't crop up in the future.
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
While I am sure they will sort this out, it is still a good idea for you to present the issue to eCOGRA, as this is clearly not an isolated case and they need to take quick action.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
CAG
Have you been dealing with customer service reps or have you managed to contact a supervisor or manager yet, Dirk?
 

Dirk Diggler

Dormant account
They replied back for the third time standing by their decision not to give out the bonus so I've complained to eCOGRA.

Jetset - I've only been in contact with email support, they said they'd checked with the promotion department twice and that they'd confirmed it was a type of video poker.
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
They are known to us as honest operators. Unfortunately, their support staff hasn't a clue about casino gambling, the way it appears.

Dirk, keep us posted.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
CAG
Dirk Diggler said:
They replied back for the third time standing by their decision not to give out the bonus so I've complained to eCOGRA.

Jetset - I've only been in contact with email support, they said they'd checked with the promotion department twice and that they'd confirmed it was a type of video poker.
OK, fair enough - then eCOGRA is your best course of action.
 
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