Online casinos offer players a variety of generous bonus and promotional offers which serve as an incentive for players to sign up at a casino and to keep them returning to the casino for more in future.
There are many types of bonuses, some of which include free chips or no deposit bonus offers which can be used to try out the casino and the games it has to offer.
In some instances however, players abuse the generosity of the casino by using an offer and then moving on to the next casino to do the same without ever playing at them again while other players come up with more elaborate schemes to abuse bonus offers.
You may be asking yourself what the point of a bonus is if you can’t enjoy it without risking any of your own money, and the answer is that you can, but there is a fine line between what constitutes enjoying a bonus and abusing it. In fact, the term “bonus abuse” is a bit of a grey area and categorizing a player as a bonus abuser is generally at management’s discretion, especially when a case is not blatant.
Here we’ll take a look at the various aspects of casino bonuses, how online casinos monitor them and how to enjoy but prevent being classified as a bonus abuser.
Casino Bonus Rules, Terms & Conditions
Every casino bonus or promotional offer comes with a specific set of rules stated in the Terms & Conditions attached to it. While many players neglect to read these before accepting the offer, it is essential that you do so if you want to enjoy the bonus in full and be eligible to withdraw any winnings you make when the bonus chips are in play.
In general, online casinos only permit a single player account per household and they do request documents like proof of address, photo ID, copy of your credit card etc. when you cashout in order to monitor this. They may also log your IP address, serial number of your hard drive and any other non-private information in order to ensure that you don’t open multiple accounts using different names.
There are players who circumvent these practices by using IP blockers and fake identity documents in order to accrue multiple bonus offers, but ultimately the casinos find out and blacklist these players which inevitably ends their free cash flow.
While online casino bonuses do allow you to extend your game play with added casino credits, they generally carry Wagering Requirements (WR) which require you to wager a specified number of credits on certain casino games before you may cashout.
Again, these requirements will be stipulated in the bonus terms and conditions and it’s important to find out whether or not the requirements are fair and acceptable to you as offers and wagering requirements differ from one casino to the next.
Playing Pattern Monitoring
Player pattern monitoring is a practice employed by online casinos in order to identify any suspect casino game play. In addition to player fraud and cheating, it is one of the main reasons that players are branded as bonus abusers.
In the terms and conditions related to any offer you will find a clause that states that before the casino processes your withdrawal, play will be reviewed for irregularities…these include hedge betting, playing equal and zero margin bet as well as placing bets amounting to 30% or more of the value of the bonus credits, all of which are considered irregular play in terms of the required welcome bonus play-through requirements. The clause will usually state the casino can deem these practices as “irregular play” and withhold the player’s withdrawals.
Again the Terms & Conditions are the pillar of this dispute and if they contain any clauses similar to the above, as a player you know what to avoid and should do so if you wish to cashout after using a bonus.
There are however times when T&C’s are no so clear and you may not realize that you are playing in a way that is prohibited, ie. doubling up on video poker with your bonus money. If you have read the T&C’s, paying specific attention to terms that include bonus abuse, account closure, forfeiture, and playing patterns and are still unsure, then e-mail the casino support team before you play in order to clarify what restrictions apply in the games you would like to play.
It helps to have these in writing in order to effectively argue any “manager override” clauses whereby the casino manager has the final say in any matter pertaining to bonuses.
A few things you can do to avoid being labelled a Bonus Abuser:
- Always read the Terms and Conditions, do not assume that these are the same everywhere.
- Don’t just make a deposit, claim the bonus, play low risk games and then try to cashout immediately when you’ve reached the wagering requirements. This looks suspect. Instead use the bonus money to try a few high risk game that you wouldn’t usually spend your money on.
- Do not try to claim a bonus more than once (unless it is a recurring offer) by doing anything unusual like setting up multiple accounts. Casino staff are trained to look for these things and you’ll get caught and locked out very quickly.
- When playing with bonus money only play the games listed as qualifying to meet the wagering requirements. Avoid the prohibited games for the duration of bonus chips play.
- Be prepared to present relevant documents for player identification when requested upon cashout.
How to dispute a Bonus Abuse Accusation
Rogue online casinos will often use the “bonus abuse” term against players who win big, so it’s important to only play at reputable, licensed casinos which bear the eCOGRA seal of approval. In doing so you ensure that there is a dispute channel open to you should such a case arise and you are innocent.
Should a dispute arise over bonus abuse with the casino, always chat to customer support to clarify what the issue is. Then check it against their terms and conditions as well as any correspondence you may have had with them regarding clarification of their restrictions to ensure that you were not in violation of any of these.
If you cannot resolve the issue and you are innocent you can take it a step further by contacting the eCogra to lodge a complaint which will then be investigated on your behalf.
It is important to remember that online casinos can offer you many rewarding bonuses and promotions for playing, but nothing is ever really for free and you need to always review the attached terms before making the decision to play. If you do accept the offer then play honestly and responsibly according to the terms and you should never have any issues.