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Some Thoughts About Online Gaming

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by TheLastCylon, Mar 28, 2012.

    Mar 28, 2012
  1. TheLastCylon

    TheLastCylon Banned User - violation of rule 1.19

    Occupation:
    Programmer
    Location:
    Second star to the right, and across from the gas
    Hi all.

    I'm creating this post as half catharsis and half attempted-activism.

    I've been posting for only a couple of months, but I've been “lurking,” I think I used that term right, for about a year or so. And in that time, I've become increasingly agitated with the ongoing nasty behavior in the industry. Similarly, I've become agitated at a constant, pulsating, anti-player sentiment both in the industry and on these forums. The behavior of some companies just blows my mind, and it's frequently treated with a shrug and “that's how things are.”

    That's how things are? No! That's not not how things are! These behaviors are awful and a simple wave of the hand only allows these casinos to continue their anti-player behavior. I'm not saying that everyone does that. My hat goes off to Vinyl Weatherman for being one of the most adamantly pro-player, anti-casino people I've come across.

    What blows my mind is that this stuff that I am just now discovering, all you old salts have discussed ad nauseum in the past. Has anything changed? I mean, really? I know that I sound kind of like one more skip on a broken record that's been played by a hundred people before me, but I'm really taken aback that this stuff hasn't been addressed and been done with.

    For example, I found MaxD's blog post about the ICE show in the UK earlier this year. The casino operators were literally saying that they hate their customers. Is this new? Old? What progress has been made?

    I am grateful to have found Casinomeister so early in my online gaming experience. I think that very much because of them, my time has been 100% positive. I found Net Entertainment and Nordicbet, which provides T-RTP's for every game and fulfills every need I have. Their casino is non-download, well-made, secure, transparent, and the T-RTP's on their slots, which I play every now and then, are the best in the industry. I don't like that they still have TOS, but since I never opt for bonuses, these don't affect me. And importantly, the games do not appear “tuned” to cater to those with bonuses, thus making it mathematically stupid for non-bonus users to play.

    We have a great list here with the accredited casinos, but even there, many of those casinos do not release their T-RTP lists and pull “tricks” like long wait periods to get money in the hope that the player reverses. That is unacceptable. Yeah, most of it isn't terrible, but if a car company pulled similar stuff, we would have a mass-exodus. Actually, that's a great example. Car dealers DO pull tricks like this... which is why they are universally loathed. It's also why car companies lean so hard on their dealer networks to keep them in check.

    (On a side note, Nifty29 beat me to the punch with a post requesting more thorough information on the Accredited List. He pretty much nails what I wanted to say. You can find the post here.)

    I want to pressure companies to stop being a massive, rambling horde of used-car dealerships, which seems to be the current state of the industry. There are no super-stars. We do not have a Ford, Volkswagen, or Opel of the online casino world. Hell, even most of the websites appear to be designed by someone who was kidnapped from 1998. The bulk of the industry feels like it's being run by interns. The Accredited List only emphasizes the silliness of the industry, where we throw accolades at companies simply because they aren't being crappy.

    I want to stress that I am not calling for regulations. This is the internet. You can't regulate it. What I am saying is that I will never gamble at a casino that is not perfect. That means no casinos that do not display T-RTP's, aren't completely transparent, or pull any of these ridiculous stunts like slow-pay, TOS tricks, and “accidentally” incorrect numbers. If a company does any of these, I'm gone. Never to return. I use Net Entertainment and NordicBet and that is all that I will ever use. RTG may as well have the plague. Microgaming could be covered in chocolate and pheromones and I wouldn't use them. I don't care how nice some of their products might be. I demand perfection.

    Vinyl Weatherman mentioned here how if people cared enough to vote with their wallets, for something that is in the grand scheme somewhat trivial, this behavior would change. We all need to demand perfection to get perfection, and the slightest infraction results in a 100% removal of business until the end of time. While this might seem unrealistic, we're going up against an industry perspective that is apparently highly antagonistic to its customers.


    OPENNESS:

    One of the biggest elements of perfection is being open about numbers. If these aren't available, sorry, I will never gamble. I already know that the odds are against me, and I want to know specifically how against me they are.

    As Kasino King said here, when we are given the choice, we will usually choose the highest payouts. If we choose the highest payouts, all casinos will eventually be forced to meet each other, bringing payouts to a maximum. Any higher wouldn't even pay for the server charges. This is undoubtedly the reason why the companies do not want this to become standard practice.

    Again, I don't want regulations, but precisely because there aren't any is why being open is important. I could walk into a casino in Vegas and have the knowledge that they have to follow Vegas' rules. Granted, that can mean T-RTP's on slots of something absolutely awful, like 85%, but hey, someone has to pay for those shows with flying, laser-shooting tiger-dragons and flaming dancers.

    Moreover, I put pressure on the makers of the games since they choose their clients. I rely on them to maintain the quality and integrity of their games, since there are so many little casinos littering the internet, I can't possibly keep track of their reputations. Compounding this issue are the so-called “white label” operators that are little more than front pages.

    This was illustrated with my recent investigations into IGT's T-RTPs. They give numbers for only some of their games, a span of numbers for others, and these numbers sometimes don't line up with the numbers provided by their clients, like Virgin. It is the game makers that need to maintain the veracity of the numbers and maintain consistency across their clients, because it is their brand and reputation that is at stake. We need respect and consistency from the top-down.

    Again, I look to Net Entertainment, which had a pretty poor reputation not that long ago (or so I have read), with many of its licensees going belly-up. They appear to have really turned things around and now have a selection of casinos that are stable and honest. I demand that of all companies. I think that we should all demand it and forever turn our backs on operators who don't meet these standards.

    While I understand that this is a bit pie-in-the-sky, I would like to see numbers telling me things like hit percentage and variance, giving me an immediate, quantifiable analysis of a game. I don't need to simply play a game, and thus lose money, to find out if it's the kind of game that I like. I can tell JUST from the numbers.

    Currently, even with T-RTP posted, a slot can go completely cold for players for LOOOOONG periods of time and have it be expected. It's much harder for a player to pick out when numbers might be a lie. But if a slot lists its T-RTP, variance, and hit percentage, any problems will be much harder to hide. It is the ultimate in mathematical transparency.

    Much of this only applies to slots, but having these numbers available is a show of good faith. The casino is telling us that they are an honest business. Yeah, we don't actually know that for sure, but when enough numbers are published, if anything doesn't line up, it will be more apparent to hard-core players... who are precisely the kind of people who visit and post at Casinomeister.

    I don't really expect any casinos to provide these numbers, since I don't think anyone ever has, but it would go a long way toward making me hold that particular casino above others. Again, in the online casino game, appearances matter.

    I would also like to see a casino eliminate the doubt associated with them being the ones who provide the numbers to accreditation providers, meaning that they could (easily?) fudge the numbers. I've read a few things about this issue. Has anyone ever really addressed this?

    And the final element of openness that cannot be ignored is “fake” openness. By this I mean casinos that post information, but then contradict it elsewhere in the TOS. For example, a casino lists a particular T-RTP for its games, but then has a “Maximum payout.” That means that their T-RTP's are actually a complete lie. They only work if the game is allowed to operate as exactly expected by the mathematics.

    TOS, BONUSES, AND CASINO LOGIC

    I hate terms of service/terms & conditions. I don't accept bonuses, so they rarely affect me, but they could. For example, while casino game makers understand that maths is maths, the operators seem to sometimes be as superstitious as the players. So we have casinos with rules against “pattern betting” and other such nonsense. I might go into a casino that meets my requirements, win big, and have that win voided because I was using a “pattern.”

    For those who use bonuses, the TOS are the devil. They are the source of “spirit of the bonus” garbage, and all other vague reasons for voiding winnings. But even here, Terms Of Service should not exist. There is no reason for them to exist.

    You want to give someone a bonus? Give them a set amount of money after they have gambled an amount. So when a casino says “Double your deposit!” instead of being trapped, you simply get $100 for every $1000 you bet, or something like that. And it doesn't matter how far up or down you are. This has the same effect of extending play time but doesn't require bizarre and asinine rules to make sure that you adhere to “the spirit of the bonus.”

    Moreover, the vague language that frequently litters TOS not only hurts the users, but does a disservice to the casino if it is otherwise upstanding. If there is an issue, explain it in plain language! “I'm sorry miss, we can't process your transfers like that because we are charged per transfer. As such, you need to have more than X in your account.” Yeah, some people will find that annoying, but the plain language makes it understandable and reasonable.

    As I mentioned, and as is well known, TOS exist almost solely because of bonuses. And because of bonuses, we have fodder for this seething anti-player perspective, as evidenced by posts like this from Nifty29 where players who milk bonuses are seen as parasites that ruin it for everyone else. Um, no! If a system can be played in a particular way, it should be. It is up to the designer to figure out a promotional system that doesn't require insane restrictions.

    Gambling works as we expect it to work. I give someone money and hope to get more money back. In a real casino, there is no way to be “fraudulent” unless you are hacking the programming. So even if behavior is banned by the TOS, I don't care. Those terms shouldn't be that way. There are no “bad ethics” in gambling. There are no “rules” to break. Unless you are in a physical casino with cards up your sleeve, it's impossible.

    I think that this shift away from the “inherent” logic of a casino – i.e. I give them money, they give me some back, maybe more – is what is causing most of the problems. Instead of going to a casino, it becomes a game of going to a quasi-casino that offers weird bonuses or free chips or other such odd promotions. The promotion becomes the reason to play, not the game.

    Kasino King even mentioned bonuses as a privilege and not a right. I found this shocking from a business perspective. That's like saying that when I go into Starbucks, my coffee is a privilege. No, my patronizing of the Starbucks is the privilege. The coffee is what I rightfully expect for my money.

    In MaxD's post about ICE 2012, where casino reps were literally saying that they have two business plans for different players. High-rollers get good service, bonus-seekers get crap service. This blows my mind. MaxD said that accepting the insane bonuses brings the poor treatment upon yourself. Again, I take extreme issue with this.

    Yes, “too good to be true” is something that should always be heeded, but if we are otherwise assuming an upstanding operation, then there IS NO “too good to be true.” There is upstanding business practices that we rightfully expect.

    Just because I go to a burger joint because its burgers are cheaper than another joint's does not mean that if I get food poisoning that it is my fault because I chose the cheaper burger. That means that anyone who ever bought a Wal-Mart brand product should be rightfully left to the wolves if that product performs poorly. Shampoo caused all your hair to fall out? Too bad! You bought the cheap stuff, after all!

    The anti-player sentiment that fuels arguments like this is appalling. The thought that the casino at which I am gambling thinks of me as the scum of the Earth simply because I'm not laying down $1,000 bets pisses me off, and I want to know which ones think that so I can avoid them. Again, I demand perfection.

    There was an interesting clash between Dogboy and VWM some time ago that I read through, and this kind of perspective I think explains the conflict. Dogboy was trying to justify RTG's behavior, and he couldn't because the behavior was based on the company considering their customers to be scum. This revelation actually explains a great deal of the seemingly counterproductive behavior on the part of the casinos.

    QUALITY

    And finally, why isn't quality being discussed more often? I've read multiple threads here complaining about weekly updates to software and the immense pain in the arse associated with uninstalling crap software from the likes of Microgaming. In any other industry, this level of quality and engineering issues would be unacceptable.

    Perfection. Demand, and ye shall receive.
     
    23 people like this.
  2. Mar 28, 2012
  3. Nifty29

    Nifty29 Dormant account

    Occupation:
    PAID CASINO SHILL
    Location:
    Turn right, then right. then right again
    I was interested in what you were saying, but the phrase above just kept nagging at me.

    The fact that you think "pro-player, anti-casino" is a wonderful trait shows that you're really just pushing a barrow.

    I'm not "anti-player" or "pro-casino" or vice-versa....to label one as such, or describe oneself as such, is saying to everyone reading that you aren't interested in looking at the facts of each case....if you're "anti-player" (whatever that is....how can I be "anti myself"..??..the term itself is ridiculous IMO) then you'll always believe the casino is right, and if you're "anti-casino" (and if you ARE, why do you deposit money into them...another ridiculous term) you'll always believe the player is right.

    I describe myself as "pro-fairness", "anti-scammer", "pro-personal-responsibility" and "anti-rogue". Many times the usual suspects here accuse me of always siding with the casinos in disputes, but I forgive them, as they obviously only read what they want to read and don't realise that there are many times that I support the player.....IN OTHER WORDS....I take each case as it comes, and rely on my 15+ years experience around the traps to sniff out scammers and bullshitters who come here lying through their teeth to garner support from the "anti-casino pro-player" members you champion. Instead of looking at things logically and reading between the lines, they just jump straight on the operator and make it into "yet another case of casinos shafting players". Of course, the vast majority of the time, the complainant turns out to be a scammer and a liar and the casino ends up being fully justified in their actions after the matter is investigated by Max and Bryan. At the end of the day, the results speak for themselves, and almost NEVER do any of the usual suspects that insist the complainant is innocent from day one, and who sink the boots in to me and others who suggest otherwise as being "casino lovers", actually post stating "Well I got it wrong...sorry about that guys". On the other hand, I make a point of doing so when I get it wrong, but I can count on my fingers how many fishy-sounding complaints have turned out to be legit.

    I agree with some of what you say, but when it comes to the bonus issue it's really pretty simple AFAIC. If you're going to take a bonus, then READ THE TERMS and if you don't understand them ASK IN WRITING. If you fail to do either, and go ahead and accept one, and break the rules (which are there to give both parties a reasonable chance at winning, and to prevent bonus hunters milking them without ever intending to become regular players etc), then tough luck. Why should exceptions be made for those who couldn't be arsed to do their due diligence? Why should I have to follow the rules, but not someone else? As I stated earlier, I am about FAIRNESS. If you don't want to be restricted in your play, DON'T TAKE BONUSES. The whole "hidden rule" nonsense casinos "deliberately misleading" players taking bonuses is total nonsense...if the rules are posted on the website, and you didn't read or see them, then tough luck. It really is sooo simple. Personal responsibility is the name of the game. If you make a mistake, then take the consequences.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on your thoughts. Nothing personal. It's just an opinion about the issues you raise.
     
    4 people like this.
  4. Mar 28, 2012
  5. TheLastCylon

    TheLastCylon Banned User - violation of rule 1.19

    Occupation:
    Programmer
    Location:
    Second star to the right, and across from the gas
    Nothing personal taken, truly.

    I'm sorry that I implied all of those things. I didn't mean a lot of them.

    Firstly, I don't think that you are pro-casino. My statement had to do with a comment of yours that was disturbingly cynical. Truly, most of what I've read from you, going back to 2007 in some cases, has been level and fair. You're one of the most useful voices on Casinomeister. But you framed this person about whom you knew very little in highly negative and groundless terms. I think that this evinced an underlying perspective of yours, that may be very well-founded after dealing with angry twits for years, that is anti-player in the sense that those who don't play by the rules, even if those rules are ridiculous, should not be abided. It is in this sense that I refer to the anti-player sentiment. If they step out of bounds, they are scum. I disagree with that.

    Secondly, I mean that being "anti-casino" is a good thing since so many of the casinos seem to be anti-player, and we don't even know which ones they are! I am certainly NOT wholly anti-casino, but I feel that this is a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. With this knowledge, an anti-casino "bent," but obviously not one that blinds you to the facts, is called for.

    Moreover, I'm very much aware of many complaints turning out to be scammers. The crux of my argument is that many of these "scams" shouldn't be scams at all. They are scams only in that they attempt to get around bonus terms through various activities and that these bonus terms go against the natural logic of gambling and also create logical and technical problems for the entire affair. There shouldn't be terms to try to get around.

    An example that has stuck in my mind has to do with coupons. Back in the day, my mother was a member of a "coupon group" in the neighborhood. The daily coupon fliers would show up in the newspaper, and all of the coupons would be put into a giant bag and passed around to the various houses. People could then take out whatever coupons they wanted and put in the ones that they didn't. That meant that on some weeks, my house could end up with TONS of a particular coupon. We would then go crazy and buy twenty boxes of Frosted Flakes or something.

    This is obviously against the intentions of the coupon. A single person is not meant to get twenty of the coupon. Some coupons would even say "one per customer." But a person could theoretically just go through multiple times. Or go to different stores. Would anyone judge these people to be in the wrong? Would anyone say "Oh, they're just scum because they're trying to get more than their share"? Would you call them "coupon milkers" who will only ever use the coupon and never become a regular customer? And would you then tell them to suck it up if the grocer suddenly showed up at their door and demanded everything that they purchased because they violated the coupon? I certainly wouldn't.

    The one-coupon limit was never enforced because everyone knew that enforcing it was impossible and would sow the seeds of anger. Moreover, it defies logic. If I have a coupon for a product, it doesn't matter if I buy twenty or twenty people buy one. In the end, twenty have been purchased and twenty coupons have been turned in. The natural logic of a coupon is, if I have the coupon, I can use it. The natural logic of gambling is I go in and put money into machines. Nothing else to consider.

    The unnatural state of affairs in the industry, where everything seems predicated on bonuses, is I think what is producing this sentiment. For example, your opinion, as illustrated here,
    seems rooted in the argument "Well I deal with it. Everyone here deals with. So shut up and deal with it." This ignores that what is causing the issues, the very rules that you follow, are something worthy of criticism and, I think, derision. This absolutely doesn't belittle the time that you've taken to adapt to the environment. Instead I think that you should be even more up in arms than I am. I've been gaming online for only a year and find many elements of it intolerable. I don't want to quit, since I enjoy it, but I do want to see change enacted. I don't want to be worried that the casino at which I gamble might consider me scum.

    I want to directly address one thing that you said:

    I actually think that that is just wrong. The rules are absolutely not there to give both parties a reasonable chance at winning, they are there to protect the casino. And, again, I think that it is absurd that the casino needs protecting. The pure maths of gambling are in the favor of the casino. If we rely on the inherent logic of gambling, the casino can't lose. And as I said previously, it doesn't matter if they are bonus-hunters. The casinos have become bonus salesmen instead of casinos. People are consuming what they are selling.
     
    5 people like this.
  6. Mar 28, 2012
  7. LaHutti

    LaHutti Sr. ÜberUnter Ass. Man. webby PABnonaccred PABaccred

    Occupation:
    .
    Location:
    East and West
    Thanks mate.
    That is by far the best post I've read in a VERY long time, and I agree 100%


     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Mar 28, 2012
  9. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    I have to agree with Nifty that looking at posters as either pro or anti player or casino is non-productive; what is needed for a useful forum discussion is balanced opinions as far as possible based on fact. And I'm sure that VWM, as a respected and knowledgable player, would be among the first to accept that blindly taking the side of a player just because he or she is a player does not deliver either balance or fairness.

    That's a general observation on my part, but on detail Cylon does make valid points regarding the deplorable behaviour of too large a chunk of the industry's operators, and I have to agree that too many T&Cs are framed in such a way as to disadvantage the player, and are therefore questionable both in intent and application.

    How one addresses that is a difficult nut to crack, because there are so many players - newbies and others - who are not careful or diligent enough to identify and avoid the crooks, thus preventing the development of the sort of idealised 'boycott'approach that some of Cylon's thoughts appear to suggest might be effective.

    Regulation is also problematic, mainly because the regulators seem to principally be in it for the money rather than actively protecting the welfare and fair treatment of the player. There are also rather a lot of them of varying quality and integrity...and with different regulatory schemes...so that's an option that is not really firing on all cylinders in the industry and one that needs a lot more improvement to evolve into something useful and productive imo.

    My best bet would be on the exchange of information and education, mainly by players but with the active involvement of honest affiliate marketers and perhaps even the more integrity-driven operators. I would like to see more genuinely balanced and honest information sites like Casinomeister educating players, outing rogues, sharing information, presenting new perspectives and concepts and continuously promoting the idea of a better industry and what that entails from the perspectives of players, operators and affiliates

    The industry, and especially the affiliate part of it, has imo way too many sites that blindly promote online casinos prepared to pay them a commission, publishing glowing reviews and helping them sucker in vulnerable players.

    The problem is getting the attention of all players early enough in their experience to participate in sites like this, expand their knowledge and thereby decrease their chances of getting ripped off (and hopefully slow the flow of the innocent to bad operators, thus making their lives difficult unless they improve).

    Nifty makes sound points on the shameless crooks who so often come here with an alleged player problem and are exposed by the sharp and experienced members who make up this community. We all know what their motives are, and most of the time they don't get away with it here. But again, that obviously doesn't make all players wrong...it's all about a fair hearing and trying for a balance that works for honest players and decent operators, and against the chancers and villains in either camp.

    Edited to post one final (detail) observation: I think we do have a top performer in the industry from an operator point of view - 32Red has been a consistently good example imv!
     
    7 people like this.
  10. Mar 28, 2012
  11. Seventh777

    Seventh777 RIP Roy

    Occupation:
    Builder, mainly renovations.
    Location:
    Planet Tharg, dark side, where nothing grows.
    A very well worded and complex hypothesis. No-one can be playing online without having an inner sense of passion and an overbearing, niggling, stuck deep in the mind, personal assessment of the industry as a whole - Let`s take Nifty for example, his relevant profile details are suffice enough to let us all know that he has been part of this forum for around 10 years, we can take this time for granted also, that, this is how long he has been gambling - 10+ years, in this time he has experienced 1st hand, the gradual demise of casino bonuses, most entwined with T&C`s that require a Lawyer to proofread for us, these have been brought about by the constant influx of fraudsters and bonus abusers, the very pinnacle and reason for the present day`s bonus requirements.

    I have yet to see a poster here that cries wolf and Nifty replies to, with the bit between his teeth, that his overall assessment and perception has been wrong, here we have prime examples of those responsible for making today`s bonuses what they are, coming here, pleading for help, when, in 99.9% of the cases are themselves totally to blame for the predicaments they now find themselves in.

    Just how do you expect old time online gambling veterans like Nifty to react to the daily onset of the people, that in most cases are those responsible for today`s present situation of the industry as a whole?.
     
    2 people like this.
  12. Mar 28, 2012
  13. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    For what it's worth Cylon I think you may have misread my ICE post a wee bit. My purpose in writing about the two-tiered approach to players was to show that some operators are doing this, not all.

    I can tell you with 100% certainty that the operator I was talking to about this has one of the worst reputations in the business. In other words he was basically telling me _how_ they got their loathsome reputation. So we're talking about the worst of the worst here, or at least that's how they've been perceived in the past and we now know how they got there.

    If you're reading between the lines at all here you'll see that what I said in my ICE post and what I'm saying here is that the world of fat bonuses and "free" money comes at a price, often a significant price. Whether you or I think that's good, bad or otherwise is kind of beside the point.

    The point, then and now, is that if you go for the free money then you are buying into some pain. Maybe a little pain, maybe a lot, but some amount of pain is what you are going to be getting along with that wonderful bonus. Arguing that that is somehow "wrong" or whatever is ... no offence but it's pretty pointless. No one gives away money without expecting something in return, especially not businesses which exist to harvest money from players 24/7.

    So, I wasn't saying that ALL casinos have the two-tiered thing, I was saying that SOME do. In other words, player beware, as it ever was.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
    6 people like this.
  14. Mar 28, 2012
  15. Simmo!

    Simmo! Moderator Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Web Dev.
    Location:
    England
    Must say that although I don't agree with everything in it, that's an excellent opening post with some really good points :thumbsup:

    The bottom line is that a cleaner industry is what's needed and I agree. In fact, if you go back pre-UIGEA it was getting that way IMO but the UIGEA put it back 10 years by knocking all the good operators out of the USA. That's the bit I want to address as RTP's are being discussed elsewhere as your thread links.

    This had many effects but in relation to your post, most notably it left the better operators with a smaller market and it gave the bottom feeders more cash in their pocket. Resultingly - and inevitably - it also created more of a rift between the customer and the service provider.

    The way I see it is that that resulted in the bigger operations having to look for ways to tighten up the expenditure, at least for a while until they could again realise the revenue required to maintain their current positions and it also meant that competition in all non-US markets intensely increased with more bad outfits joining the battle for USA action resulting in the same.

    I don't think RTP's changed much but I think customer marketing methods did, and not necessarily for the better. Whether it's shortsightedness or just a neccessity to attract player, bonuses IMO got out of hand and intensified competition to levels that were really often just not viable. So more terms come in to protect the operator and more players lose opportunities.

    To make things worse, if you offer "free" stuff, people will always take it. A lot of people will even try and take stuff that isn't free. That's life and always will be.

    So your post suggests that regulation isn't the answer but I think it is. I think the US and other markets need to get tough. They need to ban signup bonuses, they need to insist on publishing RTPs and they need to ensure that terms and conditions are clear. Without the Government intervention in 2006 we may have been closer to these things anyway but they screwed things up and the only way back is for the same people to make the rules for an industry they clearly want (and probably now need) to control.
     
  16. Mar 28, 2012
  17. chuchu59

    chuchu59 gambling addict CAG PABnonaccred

    Occupation:
    EXECUTIVE
    Location:
    SOMEWHERE IN ASIA
    To be fair to the casinos I noticed that at a number of RTG casinos there are games blocked from play. This is a tiny step in the right direction and in the long run at least some players will not have their winnings voided from playing an excluded game. It should be noted though that if a forum is too pro=player the casinos will have no interest in participating and this site will lose a lot of its clout. We should aim at 'fairness' but its always easier said than done.

    PS The word 'lurk' when pronounced in Cantonese(chinese dialect) sounds like kill:D
     
    2 people like this.
  18. Mar 28, 2012
  19. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    What he said. :D

    The thing is, you will never have perfection in this industry as long as you have a myriad of business cultures involved along with politics. The right-wing US politicians tried to ban an industry they didn't understand and - like Simmo said - excluded the established publicly traded companies from doing business there. The entire industry stumbled around like a headless giant trying to maintain its validity. And the industry continued to evolve.

    I agree with Simmo that sign up bonuses should be banned. They are ridiculous; anyone who believes sign up bonuses are instrumental to this industry has holes in his head.

    Publishing RTPs might be a good thing. If it's required by land based operators to publish RTPs by slot game, I could see how online operators might do it. But at the moment this is not the case. I've spoken to a floor manager at the Wynn and he said even they aren't told what the RTP of their games are. So that might just be wishful thinking. I don't see how it matters too much anyway, you're going to lose your money in the long run anyway.

    And like Max said, his blog comments were from one meeting we had with a rep from an infamous casino group. But it was to be expected, these are companies that really milk their players. Their staff is trained to get everything they can from you - and they recruit their affiliates to do the same. There are probably other groups that do the same, but I would put them in the minority.

    Unfortunately when money is involved, things can become exploitative. This is the nature of the beast - but it's what makes this industry so dynamic, interesting, and engaging.
     
  20. Mar 28, 2012
  21. zap987

    zap987 Meister Member PABnononaccred2

    Occupation:
    .
    Location:
    Sweden
    Interesting topic and I'll add my own thoughts.

    Sadly I don't think the casino industry is that different from other areas. They do what works to bring in the money and that usually ends up with the marketing people running the show, in most cases without having any understanding of the product or the customers.

    Most markets do have niche operators that really do understand their business and cares about their product but they are rare and usually pretty small in the overall picture. Sure on this forum we praise 32red and 3dice, because they have managers that really understand gambling, but how big is their piece of the market? Certainly not as big as they deserve when compared to other operators and no matter how much I wish that would change I doubt it will ever happen.

    Just during the few minutes it took me writing the first paragraph here I got 2 spam emails from different casinos where I already have accounts, or rather from affiliates. I've been considering looking for some kind of job in the online casino industry, we all know where the money goes in the end so why not be on the winning side? While I don't really know where to start looking, I doubt I could just sign up at a website and instantly get a job, but that is exactly how the whole affiliate model works for the majority of casinos, the only exception I know of is 3dice. In a perfect world the casino industry would take a lot more responsibility for their affiliates and there would be a lot fewer of them.

    For theoretical RTP figures there really is no reason for casinos not to publish them. I do think it is important too, because it is essentially informing the customer what the product costs. If you play a 92% slot you are paying double the price for your entertainment compared to if you play a 96% one. Most people prefer knowing the price before buying. It's not like they are hiding anything from their competitors anyway, slot reel layouts can be analyzed and figured out without too much effort. Good example here: You must register/login in order to see the link.

    To do some nitpicking in the OP though, a max payout doesn't necessarily mean the theoretical RTP is fake, if you only value the hits that go above it at what they actually would pay (max) then the RTP should be correct.

    I could understand signup bonuses and free chips 10 years ago when the industry was young and few people gambled online. Now they don't make any sense, but I doubt it is possible to get rid of them either because to the marketing people it all looks like a nuclear arms race and if the other guys have nukes they need them too and preferrably more and bigger ones! So the 5 pages of T&C are not going to go away but I think what can distinguish a good casino from a bad is how much common sense they have when applying the rules and when to make exceptions. Sadly common sense doesn't seem to be very common.

    Pretty much every day when playing or just reading forums I see stuff that makes no sense and would be easy to fix but it keeps making no sense because the people in control, from software providers all the way to customer support, just don't understand. The only thing we as customers can do is really reward those that do, but I think it's not very realistic to expect it to change for the whole industry. The customers tend to get the casinos they deserve.
     
    1 person likes this.
  22. Mar 28, 2012
  23. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    My "pro-player" reputation has come from me assuming "innocent until proven guilty", and in the past most complainants had been victims of "sharp practice" by the casinos simply because they had been "too lucky" with the sign-up bonus. Now things have changed, and the number of complainants proven guilty after investigation has increased quite sharply over the last couple of years. Even the clever ones are finally getting busted after having been around for some time, appearing to be the innocent victims of a run of bad luck with their choices of venue.

    Nifty is far more skeptical, and needs to be there to "pick a fight" when I appear to err too far on the side of a player and fail to appreciate the signs that things are not as they appear.

    More recently, I have tried to draw more detail from complainants whilst still appearing to be more "pro-player". The scammers then get complacent and contradict themselves in later replies, and this opens up their story for more in depth scrutiny. The same goes for casino reps, especially those for the more dodgy outfits. They also contradict something said earlier, or even something said by their "management" or on their website. This leads to the impression that they are REALLY trying to get away with screwing over a player they don't like, but that has won too much and been "better at math than the casino manager".

    When it comes to the controversy of the SUB, I have visited many casino sites where the ONLY information under "promotions" is their various sign-up offers. Trying to find out what returning players can expect is almost impossible, as they don't want to "market" this information, yet we are supposed to believe that they are "targetting" returning players rather than those that will just take the SUB and move on.

    A ban on SUBs would require casinos to compete on the basis of what returning players can expect, and this would give a far more realistic impression as to whether it was worth signing up and playing for the long term.

    It seems that despite the claims, casinos ARE mainly interested in "bonus hunters", but with the intention to offer a SUB that appears so good that new players blindly wade in, only to discover that winning is damn near impossible UNLESS some of the "advantage" tactics are employed. The terms are designed to give the casino sweeping powers to void success on the SUB, but not to return deposits when the same rules are broken, but the player loses. This means that players who skip the terms are almost certain to be disappointed after they win.

    I have also noticed that affiliates actively encourage new players to employ tactics that would have their winnings voided by having "play guides" for the SUB they are promoting, along with a highly biased review that more or less states players using the strategy will have "no problems". This happens right under the noses of the affiliate managers, who turn a blind eye to misinformation on an affiliate site because the casino is going to make money voiding wins from players who follow the affiliate's guide, as well as keeping losses of those who try and fail. The affiliate makes more money too, and is the only one to have "no problems" in getting paid.

    Now, come here with one of these guides from an affiliate site, and ask "will I be OK using this strategy?", and the majority will say "NO! Don't do it, read the terms - it's not allowed."

    The casinos know all about these strategies, and have structured the terms to disallow them, yet they ALLOW their affiliates to promote such strategies to new players in order to present them with a "you just cannot lose with this offer" lure. Some players do no further research of their own, because they trust the site to be an impartial source of information, and have no idea that money is changing hands every time a player clicks through and plays. Nearly all sites that "review" casinos in the guise of being impartial are nothing of the sort; they are affiliates who make money by writing biased reviews designed to get players to click through and play on the strength of them.

    I have noted that some operators and affiliates go to considerable lengths to keep genuine impartial reviews off the top of a Google search, and replace it with their own biased content. New players are not aware of how this all works, so even when they try to do independent research, their findings are heavily manipulated in favour of the casino they are thinking of joining. Only through experience can they learn the best ways to research a new casino, as well as the "impartial sources" to avoid.

    My first forum was not CM, but an affiliate that turned out to be promoting and offering glowing reviews based on the SUB and commissions, and top billing at the time went to Crystal Palace, with Winward in the top 5. Both turned out to be bad choices for many, and I was pretty lucky in that Winward paid all but the last $25 of my winnings without much of a fuss, and Crystal Palace showed their true colours before they saw any of my money. I lost faith in that forum, and ended up here, where I quickly learned that there were many such "dodgy" sites out there.

    In terms of casino vs player, it is NOT a "level playing field" as not only do casinos alone make all the rules, they interpret them as well. In addition, they have tight control on what information the player gets to see about the casino, and have often made it clear they do not appreciate sites like CM that give information that they can neither control nor erase.

    There have been occasions where casinos have told players that they need to "delete your post" before the casino will make or improve on a decision they have made, and some have even asked Bryan to delete a negative thread about a decision they have made that has blown up in their faces. Bryan does not delete historical debate, and instead will often reveal that such a request or demand has been made, which only makes things worse for the operator. The only posts that get altered are those that are just spam, violate forum rules, or are malicious in intent.

    The best "regulator" has been information, not a licensing jurisdiction. Bad PR can do more damage to a rogue operator than any number of slaps on the wrist by a regulator administered "in camera".
     
    5 people like this.
  24. Mar 28, 2012
  25. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    God...remember the days when a sign up was ten percent and no playthru' ?

    That's a far cry from today's madness, that's for sure.

    It's an old issue on which operators have been warned on numerous occasions - retaining players is as important as signing them up, and less contentious, yet the priority still seems to be on the former.

    I would love to see a day when the diverse regulators around the planet forbid signups or strictly limit them, along with their punitive T&Cs.

    Unfortunately I think that might take an awful long time to realise.
     
    3 people like this.
  26. Mar 28, 2012
  27. Nate

    Nate Ueber Meister CAG webmeister

    Occupation:
    Monster
    Location:
    Cyberspace
    TheLastCylon makes some very good points about the industry.

    Things that worry most about this industry are common practices that are taken as the norm but in actual fact should not be allowed.

    We have Casinos taking ages to pay players in the US - Although players know the risk, Casinos would never cease accepting deposits because they cannot pay in a timely manner - This is acceptable even for Accredited Casinos. We end up blaming the player and saying he/she should stop playing there if they can't wait as they are aware of the issue - Unethical IMPO.

    Next we have pending withdrawals that can last from 48hours to 10 days in some instances. Again this is 'acceptable' for Accredited Casinos. Your deposit is instant, your payout should be processed the next day or when the payments team arrive. This is a clear and deliberate attempt at stalling and tempting players to reverse WD's - Greed if you ask me.

    Another issue is having a weekly maximum WD limit. It irritates the living shit outta me that Casinos take as much as they like in deposits, then proceed to restrict how much you can cash out per week and further to this stall your payment.

    To top it all off, the win that is being held pending, then delayed (due to processor issues), which you can only redeem $3000 of per week is from a hit being Capped on the 'Max Win Rule' to which the Cashier does not care to respond to queries and the Rep is AWOL for a few days (as usual). Is this what it has come to ??? This is absolutely NOT Acceptable :mad:

    One poster aptly put some of these operations as the best of the worst and its extremely disappointing to see them receiving awards for such sloppy service.

    Thanks to 32Red for Holding their heads HIGH Above the rest.

    Nate
     
    3 people like this.
  28. Mar 28, 2012
  29. JAMES50

    JAMES50 Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    air conditioning contractor
    Location:
    Florida
    Now THAT is hitting the nail on the head,,,extremely well put Nate..:thumbsup:
     
    1 person likes this.
  30. Mar 29, 2012
  31. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    To be fair this is not the way things usually happen. All may be well and good at the time when monies are deposited. A lot can happen between then and when the player goes to withdraws, including trouble with the processors.
     
  32. Mar 29, 2012
  33. silcnlayc

    silcnlayc Just one more spin pleez! CAG MM PABnonaccred PABaccred

    Occupation:
    IT Director of Operations
    Location:
    Left Hungary
    That is understandable. There is some loss of control at times with processors but it shouldn't happen "continuously" or for any length of time as it seems to be happening or claiming it is an ongoing issue stretching out for weeks to months.

    No casino could or should operate in this manner or can afford to money wise, UNLESS, they keep funds for a longer period of time on purpose. All likleyhood is, that, it is a stalling process (JMO) for them (beginning to be my opinion lately) to hold onto funds just a little longer because they are having no issues continuously TAKING money. Only issues PAYING out.

    When something like this processor issue crops up, casinos should be on point to rectify any issues IMMEDIATELY with a players funds instead of requesting the never ending time to "fix" the problem that runs for far too long , even if it is to send cash by overnight mail as soon as the issue has been noted and they know there will be a delay (but we know that is too easy a fix)!

    I cannot imagine going to The Trop in Atlantic City, winning a nice bundle, going to the cashier and only to be told to come back the next MONTH, or just keep playing because their cash register is jammed and they don't know when it will be fixed to pay you. I mean, it really takes a lot to imagine casinos not having other avenues to go to and use to correct any processing withdrawal problems on a moments notice when offering their casinos to play at, UNLESS it is to hold the winnings a little bit longer.

    Waiting WEEKS to correct this is just NOT ACCEPTABLE. But we in the USA, are now being told to accept this as the norm. WRONG!

    If you can't pay, stop TAKING and get out of the business in the area you are claiming to having issues in paying!
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  34. Mar 29, 2012
  35. nisosbar

    nisosbar Ueber Meister PABnonaccred

    Occupation:
    Other
    Location:
    Right here
    I normally always agree with you, but this time, I can't. There may be casinos that take a little longer. If you are fine with that, it's really nobody's business except the casino and player, IMHO.

    Yes, I would like to paid faster. But I play for entertainment, and I deposit and if I win, I hope to win at the faster paying casinos, but if it's a slower paying casino, I hope I can hold off from reversing.

    All I ask is to know about the timeframe honestly in advance. If it's going to take 14 days, let me know.

    That said, I've trimmed my casinos to about 3 or 4 now - ones with a solid track record, accredited and with the best payout methods. There could come a time when I'd get the itch to play on a slower-paying casino like Vegas to Web, primarily because they have Rival games that I enjoy. If I do decide to do so, then I have to be mentally prepared to wait to get paid.
     
  36. Mar 29, 2012
  37. JAMES50

    JAMES50 Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    air conditioning contractor
    Location:
    Florida
    My thoughts exactly..Why continue to take funds(instantainiuosly) and continue to laps and make excuses for withdrawal.(such as rogue casinos have done for years) As a biz owner,I am sure they see these things comeing as that is the biz there in..If not, a hole lot of people should be fired..If a cust paid me to install a trane a/c unit and I go to them 5 or 10 days later with no comunication that a trane is no longer available,They have to settle for a cheaper brand and it will take longer,I would be out of biz and /or in jail. For the simple fact that I should have Known that a trane would not be available or is running out...The state of Florida would construed this as fraud..I know this is apples and oranges but I am sure some of you get my meaning...My withdrawal $1000.00 (was 2500.00) has been sitting in the check option for the second week now,,it did sit in the ach for a week before i got a message saying it is no longer available..That my meister freinds is bullshit,,But it is my fault for liveing in the usa....right?
     
  38. Mar 29, 2012
  39. silcnlayc

    silcnlayc Just one more spin pleez! CAG MM PABnonaccred PABaccred

    Occupation:
    IT Director of Operations
    Location:
    Left Hungary
    I agree with you. I think maybe I misspoke what I was trying to say. I do NOT mind the wait once being told what it should be. What I mind are the excuses after the wait, then being requested to change the options MULTIPLE times in how to receive funds and then being told your winnings at our other place will not be paid out until next week because you can only get paid once a week from our GROUP etc etc...see other thread here:
    http://www.casinomeister.com/forums...club-jackpot-capital-withdrawal-problems.html

    .
     
    1 person likes this.

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