Who is to blame?

SlotGrinder

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England
I was talking to a guy recently and he was reminiscing about the good old days where he ran a consortium of players who would take advantage of bonus offers and find +EV spots to gamble
Then you see lots of players angle shooting and taking advantage of promotions. I remember Videoslots had problems with their battle of slots promo where lots of players from certain countries were making accounts and doing th absolute minimum to qualify for the battle of slots weekends and then grinding them out for a profit

Of course there are plenty of scamming greedy casinos out there too, as we all know

We all hate the many bonus rules and wagering rules and stipulations that on some casinos it takes Sherlock Holmes to unravel exactly what games you are allowed to play and how, to ever have a chance of making a cashout...

but my questions is - who is to blame? Is it the greedy casinos setting traps for the unwary player and trying to ensure no one ever profits? Or is it the players who seek and take advantage of any vulnerability in the rules until the rules have to be tightened up so much to prevent them being exploited that the normal regular player ends up suffering?
What do you think?
 
I think it boils down to the fact that people like gambling but not the inevitable losses associated with it, and if they can find a way of getting those dopamine hits in a more inexpensive way or even better, actually make money while doing so, they will.

Also these days a lot of gamblers are far more enlightened than they used to be because of the information they can find on the internet, and once educated and able to make more rational choices they can often see gambling for what it is, cut through all of that and pick out +EV opportunites by exercising discipline and self-control.

People will always look to save money in everything they do and gambling is now no different - it's human nature. Once a player is able to step outside of the gambling bubble, look at it rationally and realise that they are destined to lose overall the focus then switches to either quitting, or 'How can I get my gambling fix but keep my losses to an absolute minimum?' They've accepted that they're not going to win but are still prepared to go on that journey and enjoy the entertainment of it as long as it doesn't hurt them financially. They also feel like they've got one over the casino by not being as valuable a customer as they should be.

Getting something for nothing gives a lot of people a bigger rush than they would get from a winning gambling session. More people nowadays are adopting that methodology and that's why online casinos' promotion budgets don't go as far as they used to and the yield from them is dwindling. Therefore the budget shrinks and the promotions become less attractive. It's an irrecoverable tailspin.

Both sides are to blame but you'd have blame one side far less than the other. A drug-dealer that gives out free samples is going to get robbed from time to time.
 
As with any large pot of money, it's going to be a bit of all of the above:
  • Regulation - particularly taxes - has significantly increased the cost of entry to all sides. In some cases, such as Germany, the tax alone is more than the default house edge.
  • Players have always been looking for ways to get rich quick, and inevitably that'll be through fair means or foul. The first is fair game, the second is not - and sadly player fraud is rampant in the current era.
  • Operators likewise have got more greedy - both scaling back promotions and lowering RTPs. There is an increased cost of operation, but I'm not buying that sites that could operate on 2-3% margins for years (96-97%, plus promotions) now require 6-10% to survive. We now have some online casinos offering lower RTPs than physical venues... which is absurd.


The other theme is variance...

If we go back 10 years, a 500x hit was uncommon and a 1000x hit was celebrated. Now-a-days, the super-mega-giga-hyper-variance slots cause a headache when it comes to bonus funds, because those £500, £1000, £2000 SUB payouts could now be tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If someone hits a 10000x or bigger win, it doesn't matter whether it's 30xD or 60x(D+B), that player is beating wagering and will be withdrawing a tidy sum of money.

Naturally, a casino doesn't want to be on the hook for that - particularly to a hit-and-run player - and so the rules got more and more restrictive... lower SUB amounts, higher wagering, stake limits, slot exclusions (extreme variance, stored value tricks etc), redemption caps and more.

Admittedly we had it good in the earlier days because they were genuinely EV+, and casinos were more in "dot com bubble" mode - worry about building the customer base today, worry about the profit tomorrow.

So not only is there a lot more people hunting a lot less value, but we have secondary markets (e.g. paid matched betting "guides") spoon feeding some of this information to a wider audience. Any operator that makes such a mistake will have a swarm of players on them immediately...
 
One comparison I would make is with the AWP (fruit machine) market 15-20 years ago - from conversations on DIF and elsewhere, professional players lament the £15 to £25 era because a few things happened in tandem that essentially ended the party:
  • Casuals were losing their money faster (and experiencing "dead" machines more often, i.e. not even getting a minimal happiness game), so stopped playing
  • Information leaked faster - the internet, people telling friends, and in some cases tricks becoming more "obvious"
  • Fewer machines as pubs and other venues pivoted to family friendly options (e.g. dining rooms)

This meant that more people were chasing less value (sounds familiar?), and manufacturers were more likely to catch on because players further down the food chain were likely to be more clumsy about it and give the game away.

Which inevitably meant that first movers had to be much more careful - because it leaks and that opportunity is burned quickly... so those that had worked it out for themselves (legitimately) would want the maximum opportunity to exploit it, and those that had an inside connection (illegitimately) could have paid considerable money to a bent developer or tester for the trick.

Which will still apply today - if there are opportunities out there (whether legitimate or illegitimate), they're not going to talk about it for a long time.
 
One comparison I would make is with the AWP (fruit machine) market 15-20 years ago - from conversations on DIF and elsewhere, professional players lament the £15 to £25 era because a few things happened in tandem that essentially ended the party:
  • Casuals were losing their money faster (and experiencing "dead" machines more often, i.e. not even getting a minimal happiness game), so stopped playing
  • Information leaked faster - the internet, people telling friends, and in some cases tricks becoming more "obvious"
  • Fewer machines as pubs and other venues pivoted to family friendly options (e.g. dining rooms)

This meant that more people were chasing less value (sounds familiar?), and manufacturers were more likely to catch on because players further down the food chain were likely to be more clumsy about it and give the game away.

Which inevitably meant that first movers had to be much more careful - because it leaks and that opportunity is burned quickly... so those that had worked it out for themselves (legitimately) would want the maximum opportunity to exploit it, and those that had an inside connection (illegitimately) could have paid considerable money to a bent developer or tester for the trick.

Which will still apply today - if there are opportunities out there (whether legitimate or illegitimate), they're not going to talk about it for a long time.
What a great post JasonUK. I was one of those using skill and knowledge to empty the AWPs from about 1985 - 2000ish.

I then had a partner and young daughter so drifted away from the scene. Made a fortune though and had some great times.

On the motorways you ran into the same people every so often, quite some characters too.
 

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