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Standards of Accredited Casinos

Discussion in 'Ask the Meister' started by petro, Dec 16, 2015.

    Dec 16, 2015
  1. petro

    petro Dormant account, per user request PABnoaccred2 PABaccred

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    Narnia
    Casinomeister is against casinos robbing players by not paying legitimate winnings. Then it stands to reason that Casinomeister is against casinos robbing players by unreasonable T&C.

    What is within reason is not a matter of opinion. I don't have a precise definition but I can offer some concrete examples of unreasonable terms:
    Terms that are hidden or hard to find. Terms that are impossible or very hard for players to follow.
    I can provide further examples as well.

    As far as I know, contracts in the real world must be reasonable. I.e.; prenuptial agreements, wills, work contracts, and so forth. If they are not, judges will simply over rule them. It is clear to my mind that online casino's terms and conditions fit into this category as well.

    From this page: https://www.casinomeister.com/becoming-accredited/
    It says: "Must not implement terms that can be construed as "unfair" towards the player"
    Another way of putting it is: Terms and conditions must be reasonable.

    Yet, I am under the impression that this standard is not being enforced or that it is somehow being misconstrued. I say this because many people on this forum write "The player broke a T&C so we can't help." When the T&C in question is clearly unreasonable.
    And people have been saying for years: "Casinos can implement whatever T&C they want."

    So, it's not just a question of; has the player broken a term? It's also a question of; is the term reasonable?
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Dec 17, 2015
  3. SlotsLover

    SlotsLover Senior Member PABnorogue PABnononaccred3 MM PABinit PABaccred

    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    California
    I could not agree with this more. Yes, players need to abide by the terms and conditions but there has to be some judgment as to what terms are reasonable and which are not. I've seen many casinos make unreasonable and hidden terms. So yes, a player is free to always play without a bonus, but casinos that try to entrap players should not be accredited. Don't know of any (and hope there are none) off the top of my head that are accredited and do this, but if they do, let's kick 'em to the curb!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Dec 17, 2015
  5. jshort

    jshort Experienced Member MM PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Canada
    Sounds like someone has a complaint.

    There is pretty much just one T&C being unreasonably cited to void big wins and that is the "max bet" term. It is unreasonable to use this rule to void a big win, when the winnings/return that resulted from these over limit wagers were nil/small.

    I haven't kept track of which accredited casinos have been doing this, but the above does unreasonably happen often enough.
     
  6. Dec 17, 2015
  7. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Those of you familiar with the site will know that individual casino, even casino groups, do get busted at Casinomeister for outrageous Terms. We've had a handful of examples of this over the past couple years. And as the PAB guy I promise you that we lock horns with casino people more often than you'd imagine over such things.

    That said it needs to be a balance between us pushing for "fair" Terms and casinos being given the freedom to do their business as they see fit.

    The business about "those were the Terms, you're screwed" is a slightly different kettle of fish. If I sign a contract that says I'll do this and that then I've hitched myself to that contract for better or worse. It was my choice, I agreed to do whatever the contract says I agree to do. Sure, in the odd cases it'll get taken to court and "I'll" escape the wolf's teeth but we all know that's the exception and not the rule. And -- key point here -- our industry hasn't typically enjoyed recourse to the law and courts so that was rarely an option and when it has been an option it's always the complainant who has to fight the fight because that's the way the courts work.

    The bottom line is that the principal of what you're saying is true and good, the practicalities however cannot reasonably be ignored. As with so many other things in life it's a balancing act: if you win more than you lose -- in this case if we can improve the player's situation more often than we can't -- then you're doing very well indeed. I think it is generally agreed that we accomplish that, more or less. ;)
     
    8 people like this.
  8. Dec 17, 2015
  9. jshort

    jshort Experienced Member MM PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Canada
    This.

    As an aside, I believe we live in an unfair world with some of the things that have become the standard/norm (especially when it comes to the way bonuses are advertised).
     
  10. Dec 17, 2015
  11. SlotsLover

    SlotsLover Senior Member PABnorogue PABnononaccred3 MM PABinit PABaccred

    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    California
    Absolutely! You do a GREAT job for the players and deserve HUGE congrats for that. I think we are all in agreement with that. The issue here however is that while players do agree to the rules, the rules should not be written in an unclear or hidden manner. They should be FAIR (which most, if not all, are). If the terms and conditions of a bonus don't mention max wager or max cashout, these (important) items should not be hidden on another page, in another tab, and then instituted as THE RULE. Just as players need to abide by the rules, casinos need not hide them or write "gotcha" terms that are easy to break. The feature guarantee is one of them, it's not easy to see what's happening often until a few spins in, and by then, one has broken the rules. Or if one is playing less than all the lines and goes to cashier to check the rollover etc and then comes back and hits spin and now all the lines are automatically selected and the player doesn't notice for a few spins, etc. This is supposed to be fun folks, not take a legal degree and intense focus to play.

    Clear, fair rules => happy players => more players => more profit for casino.

    Seems to me casinos are so worried about being taken advantage of for a few dollars that they throw the baby out with the bath water.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  12. Dec 17, 2015
  13. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Often true, but don't underestimate the degree to which they are taken advantage of. Fraud is a MASSIVE problem in this business, never mind the sheer complexity of what the casinos and software providers have to do just to get a fair and smooth running game into player's hands. I'm not saying "pity the casino" but I am saying that player needs and casino needs have to be balanced, or one needs to seek that balance.

    As to "hidden Terms" and such, sure, that happens sometimes. But trust me on this, "hidden" is an very relative word. Many cases come before me where a player makes the "hidden Term" claim and what I see when I go looking is that the Term was there in plain sight. Perhaps it wasn't where the player expected it to be but who's fault is that? If we started telling casinos "put this Term there, etc" we'd have a lot fewer of them willing to listen to and cooperate with us than we do. Don't forget that what we do is based on trust: the players need to trust that we'll fairly represent them AND the casino needs to know that we're not trying to open the bank and/or tell them how to run their business.

    FWIW my call on "hidden Terms" is that if I can find the relevant Term in 5 minutes or less then the player doesn't have much of a case. 95% of the time the player doesn't have much of a case. That's not to say that there are not some legitimate complaints of this type but I am saying that most people are lazy most of the time and "that Term was hidden!" is something I hear way, WAY too often. Call me a hard-ass if you like but neither I nor the casino can babysit all of the people all of the time: I'd kill myself and they'd go broke.

    So again, it's about the balance. And if that "hidden Term" is there for all to see -- regardless of whether it's exactly where you or I think it should be -- then sorry but the player who didn't see it (almost certainly) wasn't trying hard enough.

    I would like to add that most of the time when we start squabbling over Terms what we're usually talking about is bonuses. Generally speaking a bonus is free money given as an incentive to play. Since the casino is giving this money away they generally have the right to make whatever Terms they want for that transaction, within some measure of reason. As ever, if you don't like the strings attached then don't take the bait. As Bryan has been saying for years: skip the bonuses and your life will be a whole lot easier at the casinos.

    I look at it this way: if I offer to let someone drive my car as an incentive to ride-share with me (or whatever) then you can bet that I'll have a list of Do's and Don't as long as my arm. This is primarily why I never let someone drive my car: it would be too exhausting for me and too much of a turn-off for them. But let's say that we (foolishly) want to pursue this test-drive thing: I have every right to make whatever ridiculous demands I want to make. It's my f***ing car! You want my keys, you frickin' play by my rules or you can bloody well walk.

    So, belaboured example aside, that's more or less the situation that players and casino managers are in when it comes to bonuses: they probably shouldn't be doing it but if they insist then life is going to get complicated. And so it does. Duh! "Buy the ticket, take the ride" as the man said. But if you don't like the price of ticket -- and no one says you should -- then take a hike.
     
    4 people like this.
  14. Dec 17, 2015
  15. SlotsLover

    SlotsLover Senior Member PABnorogue PABnononaccred3 MM PABinit PABaccred

    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    California
    I agree Max, but how about something like: "all bonus rules should be on one page/link/section." There are six key rules for any bonus:

    1. Allowed games
    2. Wager requirement
    3. Max wager allowed, if any.
    4. Max cashout allowed, if any.
    5. What player is allowed to do after requirements are met.
    6. Is bonus sticky or cashable.

    Is it so hard for these to all be in once place?

    I do like your 5 minute rule, but an experienced person like yourself often knows how/where to look quickly.

    Anyway, it's an interesting discussion and I'm sure I speak for most, if not all, that you do a great job helping players collect in difficult situations.
     
    3 people like this.
  16. Dec 17, 2015
  17. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Not a bad idea but you know why it'll never work? Because if we took that to 20 casinos 18 of them would either say "piss off" or "we'll think about it" by which they would really mean "piss off".

    You know why? Because they would see it as an interference in their right to do their thing their way. It doesn't matter if it's a perfectly reasonable thing to suggest. What matters is that they'd be taking direction from someone "on the outside" and their thinking would be "if we let this pass then those outsiders will start telling us how to do every other thing in our business. No way! Stop this before it even gets started."

    Casino people are either small business men or corporate employees. (let's ignore the flat-out crooks for the time being) The former are notorious for taking their marching orders from no one but themselves. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just reality.

    The latter guys -- the corporate types -- are notorious from taking their orders from their "superiors" and their superiors are notorious for taking orders from no one but themselves (see above).

    In other words reality bites here: telling a company -- big, small or otherwise -- what to do is, by definition, an exercise in futility. Once in a while you can catch them, or get them, in a listening mood but it is BY FAR a rare exception to the rule. After your 1000th attempt you start to think of maybe doing something different with your life, or at least with your time on the job.

    In truth this simply comes down to a simple choice of picking your battles. You have to ask yourself "with the limited amount of time I have AND the limited amount of success I'm likely to have with Project X is championing X really the way I want to spend my time?" Simples.

    Your idea isn't a bad one but -- no offense intended -- it's not going to be my next Project X for the reason just given.
     
    2 people like this.
  18. Dec 17, 2015
  19. petro

    petro Dormant account, per user request PABnoaccred2 PABaccred

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    Narnia
    Not me, it's just a topic that I find interesting.


    I believe that and I think we are on the same page.

    I was only talking about terms that you can be very sure are unreasonable. For example: by following term A you break term B and the result is losing your deposit.
     
  20. Dec 17, 2015
  21. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    One benefit of the new UK regime is that it provides an opportunity to judge the fairness of casino terms against consumer law in a first world country with a reasonably well functioning legal and regulatory system.

    One good way to tell if a casino is KNOWINGLY using an unfair term is to see whether the term in question also exists on their UK facing portal. If it doesn't, then the casino knows it's unfair and not likely to get past the UKGC and the courts here.

    Where the term is on both the general and UK facing portal, then it may still be unfair, but the casino genuinely believes it to be on the right side of consumer laws until a court tells them otherwise.

    UK players have what is a rather unique position, they can challenge such terms under the consumer laws in their own country, the casino can't rely on such things as having the terms governed by the laws of some obscure offshore jurisdiction as many do, and which makes it very difficult for players to challenge things in court.

    A notable example is the rule that shafted Sylvia P, it's not present in any UK facing Playtech casino portal, even if it's a term they still use for non UK players. They know this is a toxic term that they don't want anywhere near a UK courtroom, so they don't have it for UK players. It's no loss to casinos anyway as Playtech keeps the pool and pays the money, the casino isn't going to go bust just because it's had to pay a progressive in one big lump.

    As the UK regime matures, we should be able to see more of these terms that casinos pull from their UK sites because they know they are likely to be toxic for them in a properly regulated regime with proper consumer rights.

    The way bonuses are advertised comes under the scrutiny of the ASA, and they will uphold complaints where misleading copy is used to lure players into believing an offer is better than it is.

    Some casinos have already set up a different set of "more honest" banners for their affiliates to use so as to avoid falling foul of the ASA and UK law, and they also demand that UK facing affiliates ONLY use these approved banners, and don't use their own advertising copy. This is an admission that they KNOW that in the past, they have sanctioned the use of misleading advertising in order to make offers look better than they really are, and to avoid scaring players away with the truth being too prominent.

    Long term, I think Bryan should be guided by how casinos advertise and set terms in the UK when it comes to deciding how "fair" casinos need to be in this respect in order to earn and retain accreditation.
     
  22. Dec 17, 2015
  23. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    Really? I am inclined to disagree. The UKGC is set up to collect taxes from the casino operators. There is no evidence that I know of of UK punters being in a happy-clappy land of consumer protectionism. Sure, theoretically speaking it should be applied, but I don't think it's really happened yet.

    UK punters still have to rely on sites like ours to try to set things right when things go awry.
     
    2 people like this.
  24. Dec 18, 2015
  25. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    It's not the UKGC doing the protection, it's the resulting application of UK consumer law. It will still require players to take the initiative rather than them relying on the UKGC to do so on their behalf. If a player feels they got ripped off through relying on a misleading advert, it's the ASA they should go to. They can then use consumer contract law to take the casino to court in order to recover what they believe are their rightful winnings. The consumer laws provide for the striking out of any individual term that is deemed unfair, leaving the rest to stand. If the casino has relied on a single term to void a win that is subsequently ruled out as being unfair, the player will probably win judgement, and can then obtain the necessary CCJ to take further action to recover their money from the casino.

    UK facing casinos know this, so many have removed terms for UK customers that they believe are at risk of being struck out by a court due to being ruled unfair. This means that many of the nastier terms don't apply to UK players, but as for the rest, it's an indication that the casino is KNOWINGLY applying unfair terms because they are able to get away with it legally.
     
    1 person likes this.
  26. Jan 28, 2016
  27. petro

    petro Dormant account, per user request PABnoaccred2 PABaccred

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    Narnia
    Follow Up

    I have been thinking about this topic some more.
    I originally said in regards to unreasonable terms: "I don't have a precise definition..."
    Now I do.

    The following is only in relation to confiscation of winnings. Because there's a need for something of value to be at stake.

    Reasonable T&C is always justified. Justification might be a hard concept for some to grasp but I will assume people have some understanding of the term. An ideal example: killing can be justified by self defence.

    An example of a reasonable term that sometimes gets misconstrued by players as being unreasonable:

    - The 1xD playthrough requirement in order to withdraw a deposit.

    There are two reasons that more than justify the term, prevention of money laundering and transaction costs on the casino's end. Either one will do, money laundering being the more important one.


    I can list one clear example of an unreasonable term that causes re-occurring complaints about casinos:

    - The casino requests a deposit before allowing a withdrawal on a NDB. If the player attempts to withdraw before making a deposit; the casino confiscates the winnings.

    Reading casinos' responses to these types of complaints, they seem to think because it's written in their T&C, that's a good enough reason in and of itself.
    It's not sufficient justification to say "because it's in our T&C." It counts for very little, casinos need much more justification than that in order to deny winnings.

    Even if the casino says they wont justify it for security reasons, it must be assumed as theft. If it isn't assumed the casino has free reign to steal from people because they will fall back on the 'security' reason when it suits them.

    In short, no justification = theft


    I don't think Max and I see 100% eye to eye on this issue. But we can have our slight differences and still get along.
    It's the mention of the contract between the player and the casino as something significant. It's certainly a valid point but it hardly comes close to being a justification for denying winnings.
    The contract itself is not so serious, denying winnings is very serious!

    Are you a libertarian Max? I ask because your views on this subject strike me as similar to that of a libertarian's. Someone who maximises freedom.

    Max listed more than one reason why it would be hard to encourage casinos to get rid of their unreasonable terms. Don't worry, I understand you guys can only do so much given your current position. The point is the player is better off with CM than without.

    Btw I thought my original thread was in "Ask the Meister" it seems to have disappeared from the section.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  28. Jan 28, 2016
  29. lockinlove

    lockinlove Staring into the sun PABaccred

    Occupation:
    I work :D
    Location:
    Canada
    Just have goddamn straight forward T&C's. All these terms that are hard to understand and have a list of 40 different things is so ridiculous. And stop hiding them in different areas of the website.

    I rarely ever take bonuses when I look at the terms and see a list of 12 different rules. I just close it out deposit and use my own money.

    And have actual link to the T&C in large lettering. Stop making the link somewhere else to find or so small you can barely see it. This is mainly for new online players. When I was new I didnt what the hell alll these terms meant or that there were any..All I saw was 150% bonus deposit and have fun.

    List amount of wagering
    Max bet rules
    Excluded games


    Play on!
     
    2 people like this.

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