Bonuses - Cause and effect.

skiny

Banned User - violation of <a href="http://www.cas
Joined
Oct 30, 2008
Location
Canada
Doesn’t it just seem that nobody is happy anymore? Where did it all go wrong? Was it our constant unhappiness with an ever decreasing amount of playtime for our money? Did the big bite from losing the American player base or the drop in the economy leave all the casinos feeling the pinch? Were they simply unwilling to accept a smaller income and just decide the remaining players will just have to cough up the difference? There is so much negativity in the online gambling industry these days that you’re hard pressed to find a positive post at all in this sea of complaints that sway back and forth from casinos that refuse to honor withdrawals and games that refuse pay and support that’s turned cold and unhelpful. There has always been that little bitchfest in the background but it just seems that the number of players singing the praise for any casino is dwindling on a daily basis.

Trust is at an all-time low, Betfair made sure of that with their bonus that made it impossible for anyone to lose but them followed by their reprehensible decision to clamp down on the inevitable huge loss and just rake all the money back with no concern for their own reputation. But this is what happens when the competition for clients becomes so fierce that even the best casinos lose what good sense they have and toss out bonuses that nobody can refuse. At this point the only possible way anyone could ever trust this casino again would be if they fired every single person above the casino support workers and paid every single person who played without an impossible to lose strategy.

We all see these too good to be true bonuses every day. There was a time when reputable casinos kept the bonuses modest enough that it didn’t adversely affect the house edge. Rogue operations would inundate us with huge 1000% bonuses but the house edge was never really an issue because anyone who won rarely got paid anyway. But the roaring twenties of online gambling slowed seeped into the depressing thirties and no matter how well players were looked after the money just wasn’t flowing like it used to. The player base started to dwindle and maybe the only way to maintain the profit level was to get whatever players were left into your casino. That’s a marketing job. It’s up to management and support to keep existing players happy but marketing is the only way to bring in new ones. Has this drive to increase the player base turned sensible casinos into reckless bonus pushers?

I’ve wondered from time to time how the bonuses influence the payout percentages. Ever wonder when you’re told you had a 90% payout percentage on your deposits if that 90% was on just the deposits or the deposits with the bonuses added? There’s a big difference in a 90% payout percentage on a 100 dollar deposit if you’ve actually started with 150. Putting that little curiosity aside, I do wonder how different things might be if the quite little bonus war never started. For us it’s a drive for more play time. More play time means a better chance to win. And for the casino more play time means a better chance to lose. We’ve seen the threads debating on what the best bonuses are. I’m sure a large enough group of players are flocking to these bigger and better bonuses and the casinos know it. The problem is these casinos stay in business because they have a specific house edge on all games. Simply doubling or tripling everyone’s chance to win would be disastrous for any casino, just ask BetFair. The only way to keep a steady flow of these attractive bonuses and free chips and remain profitable is to wrap them in lengthy terms and conditions to hamper the player’s ability to win with them and when that happens we all turn our noses and look for better offers.

Maybe we’re all just shooting ourselves in the foot. I’m generalizing of course because many players don’t take bonuses but maybe our drive to suck as much playtime out of every deposit as we can has created a system that many casinos simply can no longer maintain honestly. "If we don’t give’m what they want we’ll go broke so just give it to them. If too many people win we’ll add more conditions or use the existing ones to screw’m over." Maybe it’s time for all the reputable casinos to take a step back and bring back the little perks. Get those payout percentages back up above 95%, give the bulk of the rewards to the loyal rather than the fickle casino butterflies always looking for the better deal.

It seems to me, with these bonuses a bad tide has come in. Maybe it’s time for everyone to head for higher ground until it finally ebbs.

But then what do I know? I hardly ever gamble anyway.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
CAG
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
I get this Groundhog Day type vibe every time this subject surfaces...and it does so often because it is such a source of contention and opinion from both players and operators. Nevertheless, it's always one that I follow with interest due to its continuing relevance.

Bonusing must surely be one of the principal causes of conflict between operators and players, and we would all probably be better off with a saner and more understandable regime. Unfortunately that has not evolved and does not appear likely to do so anytime soon.

As a result we have a system that is frequently manipulated by both sides of the divide, frequently to the dissatisfaction of both and generating ongoing friction.

Veteran players and operators will remember the early days back in the mid-'nineties when the standard sign up bonus was 10 percent (remember all those Starnet casinos?). That's a long way from today's complex bonusing strategies with equally complicated T&Cs brought about by operators desperate to be competitive and a player community that has become significantly more savvy on the odds and how best to score on bonuses without transgressing the terms and conditions.

Then we have the hunt for new blood by offering what seems, on the surface to a newbie at least, a generous bonus. They soon learn that there are no free lunches, and that oft-times a rogue operator is offering a bonus that is too good to be true in the knowledge that he or she will be able to deploy disqualification and confiscation tactics if the player wins despite the odds.

Add player-disinterested "licensing and regulatory" jurisdictions and you have a mix almost guaranteed to frustrate and disaffect.

It's distressing to see even reputable companies taking questionable actions against players whom they feel are "bonus abusers" (I am one of those who believe there is no such thing) "advantage players" or are "not gambling in the spirit of the offer." And one feels a sense of anger when operators screw up on bonus construction and then expect the players to suffer disqualified winnings to pay for their ineptitude (Betfair apparently being the most recent example)

Then there's the notorious catch-all "FU clause" for operators to fall back on if all else fails; once an operator starts using that lawyer's tricky device he or she is firmly on the road to roguedom imo.

Urging operators to invest more in retaining players by offering better loyalty incentives is often suggested as the answer, yet operators say that players are capricious, and that the operator cannot afford not to compete for newbies in an industry that comprises so many alternative venues, bonus offers and managements that differ wildly in both efficiency and integrity.

It's a perennial problem to which I personally have no answer, but I subscribe to the perhaps simplified view that the operator holds all the cards in this game with the players:

He decides the games and the rules (T&Cs), and it is his responsibility to ensure that those rules accurately and clearly reflect exactly what he is offering and what he expects in return - sans all the "spirit of the offer" subjective bullsh**.

The player's responsibility is to understand the rules and play within the T&Cs without resorting to fraudulent subterfuges like multi-accounting, false ID and age declarations, chargebacks etc.

If the player does that, then the operator has an obligation to pay what is due and in the timeframe promised.

I do believe that the bonusing problem, although a source of continuing irritation and even anger, has to be seen in perspective. Online casinos successfully handle hundreds of thousands - probably millions - of transactions 24/7, and the percentage of disputed deals is likely very low, judging by statistics recorded by dispute resolution outfits like Casinomeister's PAB system and eCOGRA. That doesn't mean that the industry should be complacent, because apart from the right vs. wrong argument, a player cheated is too often a loss to the industry as a whole.

Finally, it is always smart for any player to take the time to do a little research before putting his or her money down in a casino where he/she has no prior experience. Checking out Google and respected sites like Casinomeister is one of the best safety nets there is....and helps deny business to the rogues of this world.
 
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colly

Senior Member
PABaccred
PABinit
MM
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Location
sydney
I think the various bonus regimes are interesting. Like some of the other long term players I have seen the bonuses change from totally free (early MCG). 4-10 playthrough without wagering restrictions- to no BJ and roulette to now pretty much slots only.

Requirements now seem to be an average of 20 time with the occcasional 15 times seeming good and in many cases 25 or 30 times. The removal of the bonus on cashout (despite the high wager requirements) seems to be happening more and more as do the max cashouts on loyalty comps and bonuses with there associated ever increasing requirements.

ANother interesting happening (I assume its not just me) is the increased minimum deposit option at some MCG's with netellernot 25 anymore but 40 or 50) and the minimum deposit for a bonus to apply (100).

There is an increasing perception by players that the games are tighter and so the larger bankroll seems required and the bonuses are seen and necessary- sort of a catch 22,

I have kept records for the past month and with very few exceptions when playing with a bonus I will often do well after about 4-5 times WRand pretty much crashout at about 18times WR.

When I have done no bonus unless I can afford to deposit twice my usual I don't get to the point where I get an intitial win I could cashout out on and crashout with no funds.

There is the rare exception but it pretty much takes a major one off win or a random JP to meet WR and cashout with any profit on most bonuses.

If you don't want the bonuses it seems the only way these days is to either deposit small lowroll and hope for the best or deposit larger than you would care to risk .

I am trending back to playing VP (although that also seems tighter) as I lose less money and occasionally win.

Unsurprisingly playing VP seems to make you a second class citizen at many casinos. While the casinos have issues with bonus players they also seem to be equally unimpressed by those who don't use bonuses at all.

Cheers
 
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Simmo!

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May 29, 2004
Location
England
Good thread!!

I've long been of the opinion that while our industry offers sign-up bonuses it will always be mired in problems. I'd like to see regulators set parameters - amounts and wagering restrictions - but then the would be that the rogues will regain some sort of advantage by continuing to use bonuses to entice.

Loyalty bonuses should be where it's at IMO. But the casinos don't often make it clear what their loyalty schemes actually reward. Its usually fuzzy info hidden away but with a little thought I am sure someone could replace the signup bonus with a very appealing lookking loyalty schedule. After all, that's how many land-based casinos survive in the main.

Cheers

Simmo!
 

jetset

RIP Brian
CAG
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
Colly's post provides excellent empirical detail, and also brings to mind the posts earlier this week about a management bonus that carried a 60x wagerthru' - talk about Indian giver!
 

LinkinFart

Banned User : multi-account fraudster
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Location
Croatia
...I’ve wondered from time to time how the bonuses influence the payout percentages. Ever wonder when you’re told you had a 90% payout percentage on your deposits if that 90% was on just the deposits or the deposits with the bonuses added? There’s a big difference in a 90% payout percentage on a 100 dollar deposit if you’ve actually started with 150...

Not once was I given wrong payout percentage by support rep. Had to corner them with exact number before they admitted that the percentage they gave before is false. And tracking down history in Playtech client can be little harder because their history tracks only last 1000 games. I dont know maybe they were really counting payout on deposit only, never said they did. Support gave me wrong percentages even if I didnt take bonus. Sad, really sad.
 

nisosbar

Ueber Meister
PABnonaccred
Joined
Aug 28, 2009
Location
Right here
I NEVER play with bonuses anymore, unless the terms are reasonable, and even then, I prefer playing at casinos where you can cash out when you like, in exchange for losing the bonus balance which you haven't played through properly.
 

skiny

Banned User - violation of <a href="http://www.cas
Joined
Oct 30, 2008
Location
Canada
Good thread!!

I've long been of the opinion that while our industry offers sign-up bonuses it will always be mired in problems. I'd like to see regulators set parameters - amounts and wagering restrictions - but then the would be that the rogues will regain some sort of advantage by continuing to use bonuses to entice.

Loyalty bonuses should be where it's at IMO. But the casinos don't often make it clear what their loyalty schemes actually reward. Its usually fuzzy info hidden away but with a little thought I am sure someone could replace the signup bonus with a very appealing lookking loyalty schedule. After all, that's how many land-based casinos survive in the main.

Cheers

Simmo!

I expect to see sign up bonuses a little higher since honest players can only use them once. I can understand a casino taking a greater chance on a small loss to attract new clients. The only way to minimize the risk with these slightly higher bonuses is to cap withdrawals.

Casinos have always handed out perks with the expectation that the player will give it back given enough time. In the early days of online gambling the choices were few so offering a ND bonus with no cap wasn't nearly as hard to swallow since players wanting to gamble online had very little choice where to come back and lose the money.

There are so many casinos online now that if players aren't terribly fussy where they play, the player’s choices are almost endless. This is the real catch 22. Offering a casino online rather than on land gives the casino a much larger possible player base but also an incredible amount of competition. With so many choices it's inevitable that a large portion of the player base will be seeking out the best deal. It's in our nature. When we spend our hard earned money on anything we're always looking for the best possible deal. This is why retail store shelves are littered with poor quality cheap crap. Cheap crap has become more popular than expensive quality. This is why there are a thousand McDonalds restaurants for every one steakhouse. We all want the best deal. We all want cheap.

I'm fairly certain that a huge percentage of online gamblers rarely even go to the B&M casinos if ever. Gambling online is easy. It can be done with very little capital. In the early days online gamblers were real gamblers looking for the best odds and service. They expected a casino online to act like a casino on land. They expected quality. Now there are literally millions of people gambling online every day. And just like every other industry, the online gaming industry has been flooded with people looking for a quick meal at McDonalds or a shelf full of dollar store crap. And this is where these cheap crap bonuses have come from. Beautifully packaged products, well marketed but when you open the box it’s still just the same dollar store crap. 150% bonus, deposit little, play with a lot! How can a casino give you 3x as much money to play with and not hamper your chances to win? When’s the last time you saw a quality steakhouse offer 3 steaks for the price of one? Sure they would suck all the people out of the fast food restaurants but if they didn’t stop using grade A beef a week later they’d board up the windows and lock the door.

There is no easy solution. The industry is no longer the little community it used to be. It’s grown into a sprawling metropolis and players are no longer content always shopping at the little shop across the road. With choice comes competition and it seems the only answer many casinos have come up with is to offer bigger and bigger bonuses. Players have become smart enough to pick these bonuses apart and now we’re all roaming around knocking on the melons and opening the egg cartons. We want bigger, cheaper AND quality. In an industry that produces nothing but a chance for you to take their money, all three of these simply cannot be maintained.

Service is a hard thing to sell in an online casino since nobody ever sees it unless something breaks or you actually get to make a withdrawal. So how do you sell the milk without giving away the cow? B&M casinos offer complimentary suites, free meals, free drinks. These have fixed dollar amounts and the casino knows exactly how much it will cost to hand these perks out. I seriously doubt the average player will ever walk into a land based casino and be asked how much you plan to gamble and then be given 150% of it just so you’ll have a better chance to win.

We have derogatory names for people roaming around looking for the best deals at online casinos such as bonus hunters or bonus abusers but like it or not the dollar store players make up a huge portion of the online gambling player base. It’s a large enough portion that it simply cannot be ignored. There are probably thousands of low rollers for every one high roller and the casino needs these low rollers to keep the money flowing. That is why the smart casinos actually mean it when they say every player is important. They know that in this economy the dollar stores are making profits and the steak houses are losing money.

It would be interesting to hear some player’s opinions of what would attract them to a casino other than a huge welcome bonus and what would keep them there if those deposit bonuses were more manageable for the casinos. Simply saying good service just doesn’t cut it. Good service and fast withdrawals is an expectation everyone has. If marketing was as simple as creating banners that say “Play here, we won’t screw you around” anyone could do it and fast payouts will only keep you playing there if you actually get to make a withdrawal. So I ask again…

How do you sell the milk without giving away the cow?
 

nisosbar

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It’s a large enough portion that it simply cannot be ignored. There are probably thousands of low rollers for every one high roller and the casino needs these low rollers to keep the money flowing. That is why the smart casinos actually mean it when they say every player is important. They know that in this economy the dollar stores are making profits and the steak houses are losing money.

This is an interesting notion.

Earlier in 2010, IIRC, silc claimed that online casinos did NOT want low-rollers, and actually engaged in tactics intended to chase them away.

Now you claim just the opposite.

Not flaming or trying to embarrass anyone, but pointing out that opinions about the online casino industry are sometimes polar opposites. :)

(By the way, skiny, I have always maintained that the low-roller is bread&butter for online casinos, and I still do.)
 

Simmo!

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Location
England
This is an interesting notion.

Earlier in 2010, IIRC, silc claimed that online casinos did NOT want low-rollers, and actually engaged in tactics intended to chase them away....(By the way, skiny, I have always maintained that the low-roller is bread&butter for online casinos, and I still do.)

Actally I had a biggish online casino tell me privately once that taking into account the high cost of processing charges, they make a loss on the majority of low rollers. But he also mentione that high rollers often start as low rollers so you have to stick with them.
 

skiny

Banned User - violation of <a href="http://www.cas
Joined
Oct 30, 2008
Location
Canada
Actally I had a biggish online casino tell me privately once that taking into account the high cost of processing charges, they make a loss on the majority of low rollers. But he also mentione that high rollers often start as low rollers so you have to stick with them.

How long ago was this? I have a hard time believing that it cost more to process deposits than the minimum allowable deposit. I realize that you have to pay processors but it only takes seconds to submit an ewallet or credit card deposit and casinos don't spend a whole lot of time investigating deposits. McDonald's makes billions of dollars selling cheap burgers with very little profit per burger. They pay for staff, utilities, supplies, maintenance and an actual building for people to sit in and eat them.

This is the reality that casinos are just going to have to deal with. There is an enormous amount of players now and most of them are making small deposits. And this brings us back to the bonus problem. You just can't hand everyone who wants to toss 20 bucks in the pot and try to win 10,000 a huge bonus so they have a much better chance of accomplishing it. At least not without setting up a long list of rules and regulations to make it damn near impossible to do it.

And this is where the cheap dollar store bonus comes from. If you want a guaranteed amount of playtime for your 20 bucks you can take the 200% bonus and low roll all night. Just don't be disappointed when you find out your only allowed to withdraw a maximum of 5x your deposit and it takes 3 nights to clear the WR. You asked for cheap and you got it.
 
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