Monday, October 24,2011 : Cautionary tales from the world of online gambling
 
The popular internet gambling information site Casinomeister, which operates a balanced disputes mediation service for aggrieved online players with legitimate complaints, showcased just two of the many cases it has dealt with this week as cautionary tales for online punters.
 
In the first case, the Rival software-powered Slots Jackpot online casino is named and shamed. A player complained that he/she had been fortunate enough to accrue slot winnings of Euro 9000. After the usual song and dance, the casino paid the player Euro 4000, but then locked him/her out without explanation, and would not respond to email, chat or phone calls.
 
After eight months of frustration and stress in continually trying to open a dialogue with the casino, the player appealed to Casinomeister for mediation, but for once even that did not work; disputes manager Max Drayman was unable to get the casino management to respond and discuss the issue despite several attempts, which were completely ignored.
 
The casino is one of the smaller operations and is probably a white label, licensed in Curaçao, allegedly owned by Bonne Chance NV.
 
And now, like several others of that ilk, it is consigned to the rogue pit….never a good position in a business that relies so heavily on trust.
 
The second case is rather harder to figure out; one always expects (perhaps naively) that large corporate operators hew to a stronger set of ethics and professionalism. In the case against Betclic Casino, that notion is arguable following a recent case in which Casinomeister tried to open a dialogue to discuss a player problem.
 
Here, the player claimed to have deposited Euro 300, received a 100 percent "match deposit" bonus, worked his or her balance up to Euro 4000, then requested a withdrawal, but was promptly locked out of the casino.
 
Casino support quoted item 7.3 from Betclic's T&Cs which included the following rather draconian and inequitable condition:
 
".. if in BetClic’s discretion, there is suspicion of abuse (for instance, where a deposited amount has not been used for an appropriate level of game play …."
 
Disputes manager Drayman, who has built up extensive experience in the disputes field over the past decade or more, rightly comments that this is an example of the very questionable and fluffy "spirit of the bonus" guff that operators have tried to use in confiscating legitimate player winnings in the past.
 
It's universally seen as an unreasonable and wooly policy toward players, and Casinomeister took up the case.
 
Surprisingly (harking back to the value of at least talking about a problem)  Betclic ignored several attempts over a six week period by Drayman to initiate an exchange of views. All of the approaches were received, but the corporate did not even extend the courtesy of an acknowledgement.
 
That, allied to the questionable T&C, is the sort of conduct that condemns casinos to roguedom, and Casinomeister has been obliged to issue a player warning on the issue.