And tricks to watch for.
Is online gambling safe and fair? This is the question most novice players ask first. Just as for any other industry, there is no universal answer to this question. One casino may be fairer than another, some play rough, others practice legitimate yet tricky techniques to make a winning player’s life harder. Below we have summarized the most common concerns together with how KeyToCasino can help you through them.
Non-payment, selective payment, slow payment
Will I get paid if I win? Obviously, that is always the number one concern with online gambling. According to our research, a flat-out, “no-winnings-are-ever-paid” attitude is very rare in the online gambling world. A more common variety are casinos that offer selective payments, which means paying out winnings until they are small and/or the overall player’s withdrawal minus deposit balance is negative. Then, after a player hits a big win or moves ahead of the casino in the aggregate balance, the casino stops paying out. Another rogue practice is slow payment, which is when a casino purposefully delays the payout, citing bogus reasons, in the hopes that the player will simply forget about it, or, even better, lose his patience, reverse his withdrawal to play more, and end up losing his potential winnings.
How KeyToCasino can help:
Go to the “Player Experiences” tab, filter it to money-related experiences only, and then review what other players have reported about specific casinos in terms of money and payouts.
Go to the “Banking and Payout” tab and access the reported payout time median and spread.
When searching, filter casino results by Reported Payout Time or by KeyToCasino-estimated payout time, which combines information from a casino’s advertised payout time and reports from all of its sister casinos.
Getting cards dealt to you from a fixed deck, or seeing a roulette ball falling specifically against a player’s bets is another common fear in online gambling. Complaints of “streaky” software, terribly misfortunate hands, or low-likelihood results are frequently seen on gambling forums. “What are the odds of that?” a poster would ask after telling his story. After carefully reading many of those stories, we find that most of them are based on nothing but the natural frustration of losing players and a lack of understanding of basic probability. Very few of those complaints are well grounded and even fewer had properly documented the occurrence of an unlikely event.
However, saying that all casinos provide a fair deal would be quite a stretch. Programming a casino game to have an additional advantage would be extremely easy and profitable. That is why any online players should exercise caution, especially if a casino uses self-produced (proprietary) software.
Your word against theirs
Let’s suppose that your computer is connected to the Internet via a public Wi-Fi network, and someone else using the same network is also an online gambler. Coincidentally, two of you register with the same casino and deposit the same amount – just enough to opt in for the welcome bonus. Furthermore, both of you appear to be blackjack players. The next day you find out that your account has been blocked and your winnings have been confiscated, due to the accusation that you were using multiple accounts.
What you really need in this tricky situation is an opportunity to explain yourself, which would give you the option for a fair dispute. Many casinos won’t provide that in any way and simply tell you that their decision is final. Others might listen to you, but in reality, they are just patronizing you, while in reality, they will do very little to investigate the issue, and you won’t get a satisfying result. The best casinos provide you with an option for disputing via a third-party mediator, or some other sort of supervising authority.
It was a rainy day in Paris, so Jaques decided to spend his evening playing cards online. He found an online casino, made his initial deposit, opted for a bonus, hit a few lucky hands, completed the 20xB-wagering requirement, and requested a withdrawal. The next day, he saw an email saying that French players were required to wager 100xB rather than 20xB and they are only allowed to play slots. While attempting to fulfill that wager, Jaques lost his entire balance.
Multiple casinos under the same management
Experienced players often register with multiple casinos. Sometimes, unbeknownst to them, they register with a casino that is a part of a group that another casino they have played in also belongs. Each group has its own rules when this sort of things happens. Some groups even encourage registration in all of their sister casinos, others would restrict it to one account per group, while some groups allow users to register accounts in multiple casinos, but restrict bonuses to only one of them.
It is worth noting that such restrictions are often imposed after a player has already registered, deposited, played, and requested his winnings. Winnings might then be voided and players become understandably upset. Generally, it is good to know about which group a casino belongs to, even if you have not played in their sister casinos, because the information about the sister casinos will help you better understand the casino in question. Rogue casinos rarely or never team up with more reputable ones.
Excessive player verification requirements
After you have complied with all the terms and feel that you deserve your winnings to be paid out, then you should always be prepared to provide your proof of age and address. This will typically be in the form of scans of your passport or driver’s license and a utility bill that is less than 3 months old. Also, if you deposited funds via a credit card, then you would be asked to send a scan of that as well.
Some casinos, however, go beyond that. Players are asked to provide a second bill or a specific type of bill, fill in a lengthy form, respond to a phone call, provide additional documentation, and even have it notarized and sent by regular mail. All of this is done at the player’s expense. In some cases, your winnings are less than these expenses, not to mention the effort required to complete all of those steps.
Adding bonus funds automatically
It may seem strange to find this heading among undesirable practices, since many players enjoy having extra funds added by the casino to play with. However, some players prefer to only play with money of their own, so they are not restricted in terms of the required amount of play or games played. In most casinos, you can ask their support division to restrict you from receiving any bonuses. However, what if you want the bonus on one occasion, but not on another occasion? Remember, many casinos automatically reward every deposit with extra funds (and an extra wagering burden).
Emails with misleading bonus offers
Imagine that a player gets an email with a promotional offer from casino X. The offer seems very attractive; there is some fine print at the bottom of the email, but none of it is scary or worrisome. The player clicks the links in the email, makes a deposit, gets the bonus, plays, wins, complies with all the required wagering, and requests cash out payment. Shortly after that, he hears back from the casino that a substantial amount of additional wagering is required; some will even say that his winnings are now void. But what is the reason for this? The terms listed in the email were only part of the full terms and conditions, or might have even been totally different from the terms on the casino’s web site. It is also possible that a third party, who cannot be held responsible for any misinformation, sent the email.
Let’s say that a player deposits a substantial amount and typically plays by making big bets. He wins, keeps betting more, wins more, and soon sees his balance in the tens of thousands. He decides to cash it out, goes to the cashier, presses the “withdrawal” button, enters the four-digit amount into a provided field, and hits “ok”. An error pops up, saying that the amount exceeds the maximum withdrawal limit. Factoring in the payout processing time, the player figures out that it will take at least two months to receive his winnings. He further discovers that in addition to a one-time limit, there is also a monthly one. Therefore, based on that, the aggregate withdrawal processing time will end up being closer to 4 months.
Tricky or self-contradictory terms
No casino is in the business of consistently paying out more than the players deposited. Therefore, every casino has the full right to protect itself against going bankrupt by constantly paying out successful players. However, in doing so, some casinos go too far in constructing the terms that are hard, if not impossible, to comply with by any reasonable player. We have already mentioned the stringent payout limits, but there are also many more issues that could arise. Our team has seen terms that require playing multiple games during each playing session and others that disallow switching to another game after a substantial win. We have heard of $25 fees on $50 withdrawals. We also often see a bonus condition saying that every game is allowed except…X, Y, and Z. The exception list might embrace all games but non-progressive slots.
onus Abuse clause and discretionary voiding
We have mentioned that various casinos construct terms that are difficult to comply with unless you have lost. This is something to watch for, yet such a practice generally falls short of the definition of “rogue”, as long as those prohibitions are clearly laid out. However, some casinos go even further and insert the ultimate “gotcha” clause, which allows them to void any player’s winnings at their discretion. Sometimes, the terms explicitly say that the casino may void any withdrawal for any reason whatsoever, while in other instances, it would be disguised by such terms as “professional players”, “bonus abusers”, “irregular playing patterns”, “non-recreational gamblers”, “abusive strategies”, “non-loyal play”, and other words that all have one thing in common: they are not tied to a concrete definition and may therefore be applied to anyone on the casino’s whim.
It should be noted that some reputable casinos also have clauses like those, yet they never exercise them. However, this is still a warning sign to watch for, as you do not want to be the first player they try to unfairly use them on.