The Role of Online Casino Player
What is Expected of the Player
Although online gambling is a very competitive business when it comes to player abuse the industry feels so strongly that the online casinos help to protect each other. Specifically, negative databases, or blacklists, of players suspected of fraud or abuse, are shared among the online casinos. According to Julie Sidwell of Gambling Grumbles the typical reasons for being blacklisted are:
- Disputing charges
- Threatening to dispute charges
- Using someone else’s credit card
- Manipulation of gaming software
- Opening more than one account per household or computer
Of these disputing and threatening to dispute charges are the biggest problem the industry faces. The industry term for this is a chargeback. This will get a player blacklisted very quickly. Multiple accounts per household or computer I believe is only frowned on if multiple bonuses are given to the same household or same e-mail address. In addition, Julie Sidwell says that at least two negative databases track bonus abusers or a player who only play during bonus promotions.
Once the player is on the blacklist they will likely be unwelcome at every casino that the list is shared with. It is like a bad credit rating or a police record, it follows you wherever you go. Placement on a blacklist is not always justified and once on it there is no authority to appeal to for removal.
Doing business in the unregulated world of the Internet is risky for both player and casino. For this reason, there seems to be an unwritten code of honor expected of players. Players do not have the liberty of parsing the rules in a legalistic manner and doing whatever they please that is not listed as prohibited behavior. In the absence of a higher authority to regulate the business, players are held accountable to an implied good faith contract. Remaining above reproach and avoiding any appearance of questionable behavior is important for longevity as a player.
Playing for Bonuses
To attract your business many casinos will add a bonus to your initial deposit, usually 10% but I have seen it go as high as 100%. When you accept a bonus you are usually required to meet a certain level of betting action to cash out the bonus. I have seen the total amount bet required range from three times the deposit (Pinnacle Sportsbook) to 40 times the sum of the deposit plus the bonus (Connecto Casino). Read the rules carefully before you start playing. After opening an account wait at least 15 minutes for any welcome e-mail to come in. Sometimes this e-mail will indicate different rules than what the website says about earning a bonus. Assume that you have to meet the most stringent of the conditions. Regardless of what the rules are you should more than exceed them. If pressed for specifics I would say play at least 50% more than required but 100% or more is better. Some online casinos claim, and exercise, the right to deny bonuses to customers they feel are in it only for the bonus, as opposed to the enjoyment of the casino. Finally, I would be suspicious of casinos that you have never opened an account with who send unsolicited bonus offers.
Choosing Where to Play
There are a lot of online casinos to choose from, about 400 they say, and to the beginner, it may seem confusing telling them apart. Some important things to consider are:
- Is there a sign-up bonus? If so how much?
- How are the rules? This can vary a lot in games like blackjack and video poker.
- Are there transaction fees? If so how much?
- Is there a phone number you can call? Is it toll-free? If you call, is the line busy?
- Is the casino licensed?
- Is there information available about who owns and operates the casino?
- Who provides the software? Is it a reliable name, or some mystery no-name company?
Do not expect any casino to score an A+ in all these categories. Consider the total package and use your best judgment.
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