Misleading Bonus Offers in Online Casinos

Putting your money into the wrong online casino could be a risky business, as odds are usually in favour of the house. Most players who play casino games online are aware of the risk to reward ratio and take calculated decisions.

However, there’s a marked difference between reputable online casinos who are upfront with their terms, and those who tend to bewilder its users with the way they work.

For example, a recent trend in casino advertisements has become the cause of major concern for casino regulation authorities and players alike. These ads are designed to mislead players into tying up more money into their accounts or falsely advertise bonuses that never materialize.

A number of leading online betting and casino operations have come under the scrutiny of relevant authorities due to advertising malpractices. Some were handed heavy fines, while others had a threat to their business licenses.

If you’re an avid online casino gambler, chances are that you’ve received such fake or misleading promotion offers as well. Here are some of the ways disreputable casinos fool you into tying up your money with their accounts.

Fake Deposit Bonuses

Offering new or existing players deposit bonuses is a regular feature in the casino industry. Legitimate emails offering 100% deposit bonus or free bets upon deposit are pretty common, however players can also be mislead into fake bonuses that introduce arbitrary clauses later on.

Some of the offenders were found to offer bonus credit based on country restrictions which were not mentioned in the terms or in the original email. As a result, the recipient of the mail makes a deposit but the bonus never arrives.

Claiming Expired Promotions

Another nifty little trick up the sleeves of less reputable casino operators, is to send promotional emails without any mention of any expiry dates. Once members fall into the trap and deposit money, the bonus never arrives, as operators claim that the promotion has expired.

Tangled Terms and Conditions

Sometimes the bonus offered could itself be legitimate, but tangled in so many terms and conditions that it’s impossible to reap the full rewards of the promotion. This is often the case with free bets.

Free bets offered could be subject to a large number of conditions which include playing a paricular number of games within a specific period with a certain amount of money. In most cases, an effort to exploit the promotion actually ends up tying up more money than one can make.

Being Vague

Lying about offers or applying non-existent restrictions on offers is a punishable offence for casinos. Hence, most of the time they just make do with being vague. These ambiguous promotions are crafted in such a way that the offer could mean a number of things.

When the time comes to make good on their offer, they can just claim to the user that the offer meant something else, rather than what the user thought. This is a commonly-used tactic, as it’s hard to penalize an advertisement that could mean multiple things, and is technically not lying to the user.

Fine Print

An age-old classic when it comes to misleading punters is the fine print, which still works like a charm for online casinos. An offer or promotion could come with fine printed terms hidden in an obscure part of the mailer, the website or the bonus link which legally makes their restrictions binding. Consequently customers may end up depositing money for a bonus they are never going to get.

Misusing Television Media

Promotional ads shown on TV have been known to mislead customers even more, due to the short time slots they occupy. During the few seconds the ad is on air, viewers only focus on the big font letters or the voice-over. The screen might have smaller fine text that gets ignored.

Now that you know how sincere gamers are often “taken for a ride” by casinos, here are some simple steps one can put to practice, to protect themselves against such false advertisements and misleading campaigns.

  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is: whenever there’s a promotion that offers a substantial amount of bonuses, there could be a catch to it. Assessing whether the commitment is worth your deposit could save you a lot of trouble.
  • Read the fine print: this is absolutely mandatory, and when it comes to money and casino promotions there’s no exception to this rule. Reading the terms and conditions of any offer in detail can help reveal any loopholes and hidden traps within the offer.
  • Understand the terms and conditions: this is particularly important for promotions validated by customer support staff beforehand, as it acts as written proof that can be used if the casino goes back on its word and tries to nullify the bonus.
  • Avoid promotions with too many terms and conditions: plain and simply, these are better left alone. Unrepeatable casinos have been known weave a web of conditions that look simple but are extremely difficult to meet.
  • Ask for clarification when it comes to vague promotional offers: this should be done by speaking to a representative from the customer support team, prior to making any deposits.
  • Calculate the risk to reward ratio: always ask if what you could gain from the promotion outweighs what you could lose.

In Summary

All of these techniques to honey trap the gamblers in to pouring in money and gain their deposits, citing non-existent terms have been prevalent in the gambling industry for decades. For their part, customers often rush to make use of any and all discounts or bonuses offered by casinos in the hopes of making some extra cash.

Whilst the industry as a whole takes necessary steps to avoid ambiguity, ensuring its collective reputation is maintained, players should also take time to find, read and understand the terms and conditions associated with each offer. After all, a little bit of caution and due diligence can go a long way!