Posted 1/19/11 : The good, the bad…and everything in between
The popular online gambling information portal Casinomeister.com has announced its annual awards for 2010, a tradition going back over a decade that is popular with the player community.
Over the years the categories have grown from an initial 15 to today’s 40, but here’s a snapshot of some of the most widely read awards, both good and bad.
The top award is “Best Casino”, which this year goes to 3Dice Casino, described as “a refreshing alternative to the run-of-the-mill Vegas clichéd casino – their casino software is truly unique and innovative. Their tourneys are a blast – they have an active community that makes 3Dice membership something to appreciate. Player accounts have a number of interesting functions. One allows players to set limits on funds to be played back (it's a personal safe), and 3Dice has true instant Neteller payouts. No delayed payments here for non US players.”
The citation adds that support and management staff are first class, with an ever-present casino manager involved in every aspect and communicating on public message boards.
The casino also took home the “Best Customer Service” accolade.
The runner up this year, which also received “Best Casino Group” and “Best Casino Manager” (Pat Harrison) was 32Red.com, which held the top spot for a record breaking 7 years but was unable to make it eight this time.
Balancing the good with the bad, Casinomeister owner Bryan Bailey named This is Vegas as “Worst Casino 2010”, writing: “Powered by Rival software, This is Vegas is by far the Worst Casino of 2010. They decided not to pay a player $83,000 because they "thought" he might charge back his deposits. Stating that they suspected him of working in tandem with a blacklisted affiliate, they chose not to pay this player, even though he did nothing wrong – and this action was apparently condoned and supported by the software provider.
This is Vegas was also awarded the dubious honour of “Worst Player Experience in 2010.”
“Worst Casino Group” was the Affactive group of casinos: Slots Jungle, Mayflower Casino and Casino Titan. Besides having some of the sloppiest customer service responses, the group was adjudged to have possibly the most predatory terms and conditions ever conceived by an online casino operator.
Owned by Regalbar Limited, it is alleged that Support lied about licensing, claiming they were licensed in the UK.
Back to the positive, and praise for the Club World Group’s High Noon Casino, which is named as the “Best New Casino in 2010.”
Among the new award categories is a salute to humanitarian achievements named after the recently departed and deeply missed Ted Loh, an industry veteran who succumbed to cancer last year. The first recipient of the “Ted Loh Humanitarian Award” goes to the Calvin Ayre Foundation for its $1,000,000 Haiti relief fund challenge.
One of the most disappointing and surprising issues to arise last year was the Betfair ‘too good to be true’ bonus, which takes the “Biggest Blundering Screw-Up Casino” category by a country mile.
Bailey writes: “How is it possible that one of the largest betting powerhouses screws up a promotion so badly that it resorts to rogue "screw the player" tactics. It boggles one's mind.
“They ran a promo on Saturday 13 November which offered an unlimited happy hour bonus with only 10x playthrough. When they realised how much they were losing, they changed the playthrough amount to 20x and began locking accounts and confiscating winnings.
“Even though players had risked their own funds and met the posted wagering requirements, they were given the "speak to the hand" treatment and were told that they had not played in the "Spirit of the Bonus."
Bailey probably sums up the opinion of most in the player community when he writes: “I would have expected much more from a distinguished company like Betfair. Instead of dealing with this problem in a professional and clued-up manner, they blame the players for taking advantage of them.”
Betfair also qualified for the “Biggest Fall from Grace” category, along with the Rushmore Group.
Veteran industry software developer and provider Microgaming again received the accolade of “Best Software Supplier”, which it has won on two previous occasions. The citation notes the high quality of its technology and games, responsiveness on problems, and the Isle of Man company’s preparedness to engage in professional dialogue on suggestions and issues,
The ‘white-listed’ online gambling licensing jurisdiction in Malta – the Lottery and Gaming Authority – came in for serious criticism and was the recipient of two brickbats; the “Sitting on One’s Hands” and the “Head in the Sand”.
Described for the third consecutive year as “the epitome of a rubber stamp licensing agency”, the jurisdiction is not perceived as player-sensitive and is described as “slow and ineffectual” from a player perspective.
What’s in a name? In Casinomeister terms, an award for “Stupidest Casino Name”, which for 2010 goes to the Majestic Comet Casino….’nuff said. The runner-up was the “Yes We Can Casino.”
There are affiliate marketer categories in the Casinomeister list, too, led by “Best Affiliate Program” which this year went to Affiliate Edge, headed by the helpful and respected and affable Martyn Beacon. The award is based on criteria such as the conduct and reputation of the casinos promoted; user-friendliness; relationships between program and affiliates; and the quality of marketing support. Affiliate Edge counts the Club World group of casinos among its ‘products’.
Politics is never far from the world of online gambling, and this is particularly so in the vast market that is the United States, where the political climate is, ironically, anti-online gambling. This year’s awards name the failed federal legalization attempts of Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Barney Frank among 2010’s “Biggest Disappointments.”
In the commercial field, “Biggest Disappointments” include the proliferation of underfinanced and mismanaged white label casinos launched into the market by Rival Gaming and Top Gaming.
“These casinos are primarily US facing – and since the US market is huge, it's a prime spot for anyone who is willing to take certain risks like confiscations of funds and payment processing woes. It is no place for amateurs, and white label casinos are usually run by individuals who are ill-equipped to meet these challenges. Unfortunately, this puts both players and affiliates at risk,” the justification for the award reads.
Jackpots Heaven casino received this year’s “Dumbest Casino Stunt” nomination after players
discovered that the operator had not only lifted the site content of a number of casinos, but had even copied the licensing credentials from Casino Riva – a totally non-related company. When this was pointed out to them, they blamed the error on a freelancer!
It was also discovered that Jackpot Heaven’s casino software had games that were using images from well known software companies like Microgaming, Playtech, and RTG. When criticised for its conduct, management resorted to emailed legal gobbledegook.
This year’s “Evil Player” award went to a punter using the pseudonym Diamondale – a perennial and apparently losing whinger on the Casinomeister forum. Among others, this player falsely claimed he had not been paid by a casino, when he in fact had played the money back. Then he claimed that his life had been threatened by an e-cash processor, but it transpired that he had a financial interest in the company, and had distorted the truth. Finally, he boasted that he was no stranger to making chargebacks!
Another year, and another set of awards that again illustrate that it takes all kinds to make life interesting!
Check out the full list at http://www.casinomeister.com/bestworst2010.php.