Fair Gambling Guidelines
In reviewing online gaming venues and fielding player grievances, we have come across numerous instances of casinos acting inappropriately. Simultaneously, we have observed players exploit online gaming options for personal gain unethically, diverging from our principles of fair play.
These concepts are different than our responsible gambling approach and refer to the behavior expected from the online casinos and from the players.
Casinos that do not accomplish to our fair gambling guidelines, are blacklisted and not recommended anymore.
We are advocates for a secure online gambling environment that is beneficial and just for all participants. We envisage a milieu where exploitation is absent and can be realized.
Regrettably, the high volume of daily player complaints we process highlights a distance from this ideal scenario. Nevertheless, there is a positive motion towards that direction.
To contribute to this cause, we’ve crafted a standard of fair gambling that outlines the expected conduct of players and casinos alike. Adherence to these guidelines by both parties has the potential to maximize the efficiency of online gambling, reducing the count of disgruntled players, casinos and associated grievances.
This standard is divided into two sections:
Duties of Casinos: The initial section of our fair gambling standard details common issues that transpire between players and casinos. It elaborates on the appropriate measures casinos should undertake and preventive strategies. This portion sets our criteria for ‘fair and safe casinos’.
Duties of Players: The subsequent section offers guidelines for players to shield themselves from predatory practices by casinos. Ensuring your gaming is confined to ‘fair’ or ‘fair and safe’ online casinos and adhering to our advice enhances your protection as a player.
Duties And Responsibilities Of Casinos
At the crux of our philosophy lies the belief that fairness should characterize online gambling. This goes beyond the onus of the players to demonstrate honorable behavior; predominantly, it’s the obligation of the online casinos to foster an environment of equitable and safe gambling.
We’ve been in the thick of myriad altercations between players and casinos, a voyage riddled with eye-opening reviews and grievances. This has been instrumental in shaping our strong perspectives about casinos’ actions in recurrent situations.
As we navigate each situation and coin well-considered advice for each, it’s imperative to first grasp two concepts—’honest casino’ and ‘secure and honest casino.’
We’d like to stipulate a note here; our fair gambling guide is in an ever-evolving state, meticulously updated to mirror the dynamic landscape of gambling and our newfound revelations. The process of translating these modifications into text can be extensive, hence, certain core principles of honest gambling that we espouse may not be included in this piece yet. We’re diligently adding them; your patience is highly appreciated.
Understanding Honest and Fair Casinos
Honest casinos, in essence, are online casinos fitting the following criteria:
- They honour all legitimate winnings.
- There are no shady clauses lurking in their Terms and Conditions (further details will follow in the article).
- They eschew deceitful tactics that dupe players.
- They maintain restrictions for specific countries (denying people from these countries from creating accounts and playing) and limit bonuses to eligible players.
However, even casinos that uphold honest rules and embody ethical gambling could pose challenges for players. There have been instances of players unknowingly flouting rules, mainly due to lack of awareness, even if we consider these rules to be fair. This underscores our belief that casinos should implement all rules technologically to prevent inadvertent violations.
A central aim of ours is to continuously enhance the standard of online casinos. Thus, in our discourse, we’ve adopted the phrase ‘secure and honest casino’ to identify online establishments that exceed mere fairness. Primarily, this is achieved through meticulous enforcement of their stipulated rules.
As of now, the ‘secure and honest’ title can be bestowed on only a handful of casinos, as per our stringent guidelines. Yet, we’re optimistic that these numbers will upswing in the near future, heralding a new norm for exceptional online casinos.
Understanding Secure and Honest Casinos
Casinos qualifying as ‘secure and honest’ meet all ‘honest casino’ criteria, with an added layer of security measures to shelter players from inadvertently breaching rules or jeopardizing their welfare.
‘Secure and honest casinos’ therefore safeguard players from unintentionally contravening the Terms and Conditions, Bonus T&Cs, or any actions that might place their player account funds at risk. Specifically, ‘secure and honest casinos’ should:
- Enforce stipulations regarding maximum bet sizes, off-limits games, among other bonus conditions.
- Alert players when they are on the brink of acting against their best interest (for instance, opting for another bonus that renders the earnings from the previous one void).
- Conduct multiple account checks upon account creation (we recommend verifying the combination of a new player’s name and birth date in the database and generating a warning if a match surfaces. Further details to follow).
While these aspects highlight a ‘secure and honest’ casino, we must stress that fairness alone can still designate a good casino. There are numerous fair casinos providing stellar services and maintaining transparency with their players. These ‘secure and honest’ casinos are merely making strides towards enhanced player protection.
The phrase ‘safe casinos’ or “safe and honest” casinos as we say here, frequently surfaces in discussions concerning responsible gambling and problem gamblers. While some aspects in this article might overlap with these topics, it’s pivotal to note that the term ‘safe,’ as used within our fair gambling guidelines, may carry a different implication than its use in traditional responsible gambling contexts.
Navigating Casino Do´s and Don’ts
Let’s delve into what should and shouldn’t be in the ambit of casino practices. We posit that the lion’s share of accountability in online gambling should be borne by the casinos, absolving players from meticulously monitoring their every move to avoid inadvertent errors.
In the ensuing sections, we’ve outlined several contentious areas we deemed imperative to this article. Based on our experiences resolving player grievances, these areas stand as major sore points in the relationship between casinos and their players:
Penalties For Dormant Accounts
Casinos are not financial institutions and they incur expenses associated with maintaining player accounts over extended periods. They subtract funds from inactive accounts to offset these costs.
However, certain casinos knowingly exploit the ‘dormant accounts’ clause to garner extra profit from players, who may have inadvertently left some money in their casino account.
Although a ‘dormant accounts’ clause is typical among casinos, it’s not universally enforced. Some player-oriented casinos opt to return all money to players even after years of inactivity.
Although casino accounts differ greatly from bank accounts, some players perceive them similarly. They anticipate their balance to remain intact when left in a player account, regardless of the hiatus duration. Therefore, when they discover a casino’s intent to deduct from their remaining balance, or if the deduction has already occurred, they can be taken aback and dissatisfied.
Our Opinion (Well, My opinion)
We had different opinions in about how to approach this. Let´s see what we have reached as a conclusion.
Subtracting funds from idle player accounts is a common practice in online gambling. We acknowledge that casinos are not mandated to safeguard unused account balances indefinitely.
Nonetheless, we believe casinos should afford a cessation period of at least 360 days (180 days being the absolute minimum without invoking a hit on the casino’s reputation score) before engaging in such deductions. Additionally, casinos must leverage all possible communication channels to pre-inform players. Anything less is inequitable.
Casinos usually assert to have made a ‘reasonable effort’ to contact inactive players prior to confiscating any money. This is primarily aimed at coaxing them back to play or initiate a withdrawal.
The challenge lies in defining ‘reasonable effort’. When adjudicating complaints, it’s impossible for us to verify the mode or extent of casino-player communication. However, we firmly believe that using mere emails doesn’t suffice as a ‘reasonable effort’ but is the least a casino should do.
The deducted amount from the player’s account must also be reasonable. It should never be completely drained unless the player only holds a negligible amount. We propose 5% of the remaining balance as an upper limit of the monthly deduction, albeit we’d prefer even lower percentages. If casinos opt for fixed monthly deductions over percentages, this amount should be considerably minimal, never exceeding €/£/$20.
Upon detecting long-term player inactivity, the primary course of action should be to contact them. Where feasible, we encourage reverting the remaining balance (less the processing fees) to the player via a withdrawal. When the remaining balance falls below minimum withdrawal limits, confiscation is permissible. However, the below guidelines should still be observed.
In situations where a casino decides to deduct funds from a player’s idle account, the following protocol should be adhered to:
- Delay deductions until at least 180 days of inactivity.
- Exhaust all potential communication channels – email, text messaging, phone calls, and traditional mail. Begin with the most convenient (email) and escalate sequentially if unsuccessful.
- Cap deductions at the lower of 5% or €/£/$20 of the remaining monthly balance from the player’s account.
Casinos Forbidding Betting Patterns
Certain casinos implement rules in their Terms and Conditions that prohibit specific betting patterns. Should a player violate these rules, casinos can potentially withhold their withdrawals and seize their winnings.
The primary intention of this rule is to guard casinos against bonus abusers, often identified via characteristic betting patterns. However, some casinos enforce this rule indiscriminately, affecting regular players and using it as justification for declining legitimate withdrawal requests.
Bonus abuse can occur even with consistent bet size, which undermines the rationale of using betting patterns to curb bonus abuses.
From a player’s vantage point, the charm of the game lies in playing at their discretion. Given that all casino games inherently favour the house, because of the house edge, players see no reason to refrain from specific bet types or sequences.
It’s our view that casinos invoking the ‘betting patterns’ rule to confiscate players’ winnings is unjust.
In certain scenarios, betting patterns could theoretically be used to flag potentially fraudulent activities. We are not opposed to this, as long as these patterns are indicative of actual fraudulent behaviour, rather than an excuse to withhold players’ winnings.
Our advice to casinos is straightforward: Do not use betting patterns as a pretext for failing to pay out player winnings. While these patterns might signal irregularities, they should not be the sole criteria for penalisation.
The definition of ‘betting patterns’ is another contentious issue. Technically, any sequence of bets can be classified as a pattern. If casinos choose to contravene our advice and ban particular betting patterns, these should be explicitly articulated, ensuring that players are fully aware of what is and isn’t permissible. Otherwise, the ‘betting patterns’ rule could be indiscriminately applied, which neither appeals to us nor players when used against them.
Despite this, we maintain our stance that forbidding betting patterns is unacceptable.
Cases Of Duplicate Accounts
In a majority of casinos, players are permitted to have just one account. Setting up more than one account violates the terms of service, leading to the closure of these duplicate accounts upon detection.
Casinos typically screen for duplicate accounts during the verification process, usually initiated when a player requests withdrawal. Winnings on duplicate accounts are generally nullified, although initial deposits might be refunded if the casino believes the duplicate account was unintentionally created.
Casinos enact the ‘solo account’ rule primarily as a safeguard against bonus abusers. One of the few tactics that players can employ to gain an edge over the casino, or at least reduce the casino’s advantage, is to open multiple accounts and claim the welcome bonus multiple times. Understandably, casinos protect their interests by closing such accounts.
While some players deliberately create multiple accounts to exploit the welcome bonus, others may unknowingly set up a new account, having forgotten about their previous registration.
In some cases, players may neglect to recall their old account password and instead of going through the ‘forgot password’ process, they opt to create a new account, perhaps oblivious to the violation of rules.
Regardless, it’s our belief that players should not be penalized for unintentionally creating duplicate accounts.
We agree that it is the player’s responsibility to ensure only one account is created with a given casino. We do this not because we deem it the best approach, but because it aligns with current industry standards. We do however hold the hope and belief that future industry standards will verify for duplicate accounts during account creation, enhancing player protection.
In the interim, each case warrants separate consideration. If the player purposely created five separate accounts, fully claimed bonuses on all, it’s likely a case of bonus abuse, and the casino has every right to impose penalties. Conversely, if a casual player accidentally sets up two accounts without even claiming a bonus, the casino should not penalize them merely based on rule enforcement.
To deter the creation of duplicate accounts, a feasible and effective solution would involve checking for such accounts upon account creation. We aren’t proposing a comprehensive Know Your Customer (KYC) process entailing identity verification, but rather a swift crosscheck of personal details (e.g., first name, last name, and date of birth) that barely two discrete individuals would share. If such details aren’t collected during account registration, it would be wise for the casino to begin doing so.
In most instances, this would reveal no match, allowing the player to proceed with their gameplay. The comprehensive KYC verification would then only be invoked upon the player’s withdrawal request. However, should a match be detected, it’s probable that the player already possesses an account. The ideal course of action would then be to notify the player or prompt a full KYC process to confirm their account status.
If this preventative measure isn’t technologically viable, casinos should refrain from penalizing players who unintentionally created a secondary account without an intent of exploiting the welcome bonus. In instances where players haven’t induced any loss or harm, casinos should ideally contact them to negotiate a mutually amicable solution, such as retaining one account and deactivating others.
An online casino, to be considered safe, it should verify for duplicate accounts during the account creation process, rather than post a player’s withdrawal request. This precaution doesn’t require a comprehensive KYC procedure but merely a simple verification of sufficient personal details to identify potential duplicate accounts.
Information And Return To Player Ratio (RTP)
In these paragraphs, we delve thoroughly into the data that casinos should disclose to players. In particular, we focus on:
The Return to Player (RTP) of available games: The RTP of the game is arguably the most consequential mathematical property of any casino game. It assists players in discerning which games are more or less advantageous for them from a statistical standpoint.
Game and account history logs: Offering players the option to peruse their game history and comprehend their financial gains or losses over time is a highly beneficial feature. However, regrettably, not many casinos implement this appropriately.
While not all casinos are eager to ensure easy accessibility to information such as RTP and account history for players, it allows players to understand their prospective losses (RTP) and their actual financial trajectory (history logs). If players become cognizant of their accumulated losses over time, it could potentially affect the casino’s revenues; hence, many opt to obscure such information.
Casinos frequently attribute the lack of such ‘transparency’ features to technological complications. While this can be partially valid, we do not consider it a justifiable reason for non-implementation.
Regarding RTP, it’s fair that some game providers withhold the RTPs of their games, so casinos might lack this data for all titles. However, it is likely that casinos are aware of the RTP for most of their game offerings. The main issue lies in divulging this information to the players.
Whereas not all players show interest in their account history or the RTP of the games, a significant number indeed do. Access to such information empowers them to make informed decisions concerning which games to engage in and whether to participate at all.
Certain games exist in multiple versions, each with distinct RTPs. Accordingly, players ought to know exactly which variant they are engaging with, reinforcing why we advocate for the widespread disclosure of game RTPs.
The history log also serves as an instrumental tool for responsible gambling, providing players with a clear account of their accumulated wins or losses. Habitual players often underestimate their total losses, as they’re prone to focus on their winnings and blur out their losses. Having access to precise figures thus becomes critical.
Our Standpoint and Recommendations To Casino Owners
Players should effortlessly access the RTP of the games they play. Ideally, this data should be directly visible in the game browser window.
Similarly, players should have the capacity to view their account history and accurately track their financial gains and losses since the commencement of their account.
We aspire to see all casinos adhere to these guidelines, despite their current exclusion from industry standards. That said, we remain hopeful that an increasing number of casinos will elevate their transparency levels, making vital information more readily available to players in the future.
Covert Rules To Take Advantage Of Players
The terms and conditions (T&Cs) established by each casino dictate the interaction between players and the casino, outlining both parties’ rights and obligations. Nevertheless, some casinos implement rules absent from their T&Cs (covert rules), or incorporate rules that contravene fair gambling principles, thereby exploiting players (exploitative rules).
Interpretation from the casino’s perspective
The genesis of covert and exploitative rules can manifest for several reasons:
- A few casinos inadvertently apply exploitative rules or obscure certain rules. Although rare, some gambling platforms may unknowingly enact such policies, oblivious to their unjust impact on players or the need for public disclosure.
- Certain casinos intentionally develop covert or exploitative rules to safeguard their interests against specific scenarios or players. These casinos prioritize their protection, irrespective of the rules’ impact on players.
- Some casinos deliberately obfuscate rules and/or slip exploitative rules into their T&Cs with the ulterior aim of fleecing players to boost profits.
Perception from the player’s standpoint
Only a small proportion of players pore over the T&Cs before setting up a casino account, whilst the majority don’t. Even those who do scrutinize the T&Cs, usually focus on specific sections like country restrictions.
Players assume casinos adhere to established best practices, thus negating the need to read every clause. They don’t anticipate encountering exploitative rules in the T&Cs. Furthermore, due to some players’ inexperience in online gambling, they might overlook exploitative rules even if they have diligently read the T&Cs.
Except for bonus hunters—who meticulously read the T&Cs to find potential loopholes to exploit—the majority of players do not read the T&Cs in their entirety.
Besides, if a casino tries to enforce an obscure rule not stated in their T&Cs, the player could not possibly have known about it. It’s unjust to hold players accountable for rules that have been concealed.
Our Position And Opinion
We strictly disapprove of hidden or predatory rules given their inherent unfairness and the disadvantage they pose for players. If such rules come to light either during our review process or via player complaints, not only does the casino’s reputation rating suffer, but we also endeavor to steer the casino towards fair practices whenever possible.
Our assessment of whether certain clauses are predatory relies heavily on our discerning judgment, vast experience, and extensive familiarity with online gambling best practices.
The T&Cs need to be articulated in a clear and understandable manner for players. The setup should be such that players can’t unknowingly violate T&Cs. All rules ought to be outlined in one rostrum – the T&Cs – and should neither be exploitative nor unfair.
Our Suggestions for Casinos
It’s crucial that every rule expected of players is explicitly articulated in the casino’s general T&Cs or within each bonus’s Bonus T&Cs. It’s impermissible for casinos to enforce rules not publicly stated, as players wouldn’t have been aware of them.
Moreover, all rules should embody fair play. Given that most players seldom peruse the T&Cs before account creation, they’re likely to miss spotting predatory rules themselves. Safeguard their gambling experience by enforcing only fair rules. Ensure the T&Cs are straightforward and easy to comprehend, and refrain from inventing rules that can be misused against blameless players.
Consider that a just environment also benefits the casino’s bottom line. Retaining and keeping players engaged aligns with a casino’s interests. If players perceive unjust treatment, they are unlikely to continue gambling on the site, and adverse player reviews could divert potential players to other casinos.
To secure a classification as a ‘fair casino’ or a ‘fair and safe casino’ by our review panel, a casino can harbor no predatory rules within its T&Cs. All rules ought to be meticulously outlined in the T&Cs, or within specific Bonus T&Cs for rules relating to particular bonuses. In essence, no covert or predatory rules are permissible.
Some casinos put win restrictions in place, limiting players to a certain amount of winnings per game round or within a predetermined time. Win limits can be computed and enforced in numerous ways:
- Win per game round: This limit restricts players to a specific winning amount from a single round involved in an activity such as a slot machine spin, a roulette spin, or any other game round.
- Total sum of wins over a time frame: This win limit pertains to the cumulative amount of individual victories gained over a definite period (most commonly a day), with losses not considered.
- Net win over a time frame: This places a cap on the total amount players can accrue within a specific time (typically a day), with losses factored in.
Beyond the diverse types of win limits, individual casinos each tackle this concern uniquely. While some might impose a win limit immediately following a victory, others could delay addressing the subject until a withdrawal request is made by a player.
It’s important to understand that in certain jurisdictions local laws and regulations mandate win limits. In such scenarios, if casinos desire to retain their license and operate within legal boundaries, there’s little they can do to alter these imposed restrictions.
The relationship between win limits and progressive jackpots is worth discussing. Notably, progressive jackpots diverge from conventional casino wins. Typically, the game creator who designed the jackpot game pays out these jackpots, not the casino where the player won.
After a progressive win, the game provider transfers the funds to the fortunate player, with the casino acting as a go-between. Consequently, it’s often nonsensical for casinos to apply win limits to these earnings. If they do, they only transfer a portion of the funds to the winner, essentially keeping the remainder. That’s why some game providers forge agreements with casinos stipulating that casinos can’t withhold legitimate progressive winnings from players but must fully payout.
Exceptions do exist where large casino groups have their exclusive progressive jackpots.
Viewpoint of the Casino
If casinos implement win limits because of legal and regulatory requirements, they can’t alter this, and therefore we can’t hold casinos accountable for this. Yet, many casinos cap player winnings of their own volition, without regulator intervention.
Casinos employ win limits to safeguard themselves against hefty wins that could jeopardize their cash flow and profitability. An unexpected enormous win could spell existential peril for smaller casinos with limited cash flow. So, while win limits have their place in this context if they’re substantial, we still don’t condone them due to their detrimental impact on players.
Extremely low win limits (say, lower than €10,000) are mooted to deliberately swindle players and boost the casino’s earnings.
Viewpoint of the Player
Most players remain unaware of win limits. They anticipate retaining their full winnings, irrespective of the amount. It’s a crushing blow when a casino claims a large portion of a player’s earnings due to an obscure win limit.
Indeed, most players won’t be affected by win limits if they’re not excessively low. Consequently, aware players might remain unfazed by win limits, provided they significantly surpass their usual winnings. However, if they secure a win amount above the limit, their perspective is bound to shift rapidly.
Regardless of some players’ indifference, win limits are restrictive for players and effectively decrease the Return to Player (RTP) of some games (for certain bet sizes), as the largest wins become unattainable due to these limits.
While we begrudgingly accept win limits mandated by laws or regulations as a necessary inconvenience, our preference is their elimination. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that casinos must abide by regulatory stipulations.
However, we adopt a different stance if a casino voluntarily introduces a win limit unrequired by law. For instance, if the casino’s discretionary win limit is incredibly high (say €500,000), we don’t endorse it but mostly tolerate it (depending on the specific limitations), provided it doesn’t extend to progressive jackpot wins.
Conversely, if a casino voluntarily enforces a smaller win limit, its reputation rating plummets, and we caution players against the casino’s restrictive win cap.
Placing win limits on progressive jackpot victories is utterly unacceptable. If a casino resorts to this, it equates to pilfering money from the player and/or the game provider that developed the jackpot game. During our casino reviews and evaluations, we treat such instances with utmost seriousness.
As an alternative to imposing random win limits, we advise casinos to lower the maximum permitted wagers. This effectively curtails the amount won by players (essentially serving as a win limit), while simultaneously preserving game mathematics, thereby not acting unjustly towards players. The casino should avoid allowing players to place bets that could potentially yield winnings it can’t afford to payout.
Win restrictions on progressive jackpots should not be employed by the casino at all. Given that these payouts don’t come from the casino directly, it’s nonsensical for the casino to limit their size unless necessitated by the regulating authority.
Limits Regarding Maximum Bet Sizes For Playing With Bonus Money
The majority of casinos impose a ceiling on bet sizes for players utilizing bonus money. This rule was most likely enacted to curb bonus abuse. In the absence of a max bet rule, potential abusers could pocket a bonus from a casino and attempt to multiply it rapidly via large bets. If successful, the enhanced balance would enable them to easily meet the original wagering requirements and cash in their proceeds. Hence, the max bet rule serves as a legitimate measure to deter extreme high-volatility bonus hunting.
A player employing a bonus with a maximum bet of €5 is prohibited from wagering more. Breaching this rule could lead to the confiscation of their bonus and/or earnings by the casino.
The Casino’s Perspective
The maximum bet rule is a widely-accepted practice in online gambling, leveraged by casinos as a safeguard against bonus abusers. As such, casinos readily utilize this rule, scrutinizing the betting history of players who have gambled with a bonus and requested a withdrawal.
Most casinos lack technological measures to enforce max bet rules. Therefore, players can actually wager more than what’s stipulated in the Bonus T&Cs, necessitating a careful watch on their bet sizes.
The Player’s Perspective
Numerous online casino players are aware of this rule and cautiously adhere to it when playing with bonus money.
Nonetheless, a significant number remain oblivious to the maximum bet rule. They might unintentionally violate it, frequently following a substantial win, when a player may instinctively boost bet sizes due to an increased bankroll. Subsequently, if their wins are revoked due to this oversight, players can feel duped, primarily if they were unaware of their infraction.
Players prefer not to meticulously comb through all T&Cs nor constantly monitor their bet sizes to avoid placing a higher-than-permitted wager unintentionally. Most will comply with the rule if it’s prominently displayed in the casino lobby, within the game itself, or in a conspicuous part of the page or ad promoting the bonus.
The maximum bet rule is indeed an industry standard, as is a casino’s prerogative to confiscate a player’s bonus winnings upon breaching this rule. We choose not to deviate from industry norms by punishing casinos that occasionally invoke the maximum bet rule against players.
However, we believe it’s more equitable to enforce this rule at the software level. That is, the casino’s software or website should proactively prevent players from placing bets exceeding the specified limit. This is one of our benchmarks for labeling casinos as ‘fair and safe’.
If implementing software-enforced restrictions is unattainable, it’s crucial to consider each case individually to ensure penalties are incurred only by players who knowingly and repeatedly contravene the rule for personal gain.
Moreover, the max bet values should be prominently displayed, ideally within the casino lobby or directly in-game where feasible, or conspicuously within bonus-related pages or ad banners rather than solely ‘buried’ within bonus play rules. While it’s the norm to publish max bet details solely in Bonus T&Cs, we laud casinos that enhance visibility and ease of compliance.
Ideally, casinos should incorporate software-level enforcement of their maximum bet rules, thereby eliminating the possibility of players surpassing the permitted wager limits. This eradicates potential grievances associated with the max bet rule, as players simply cannot infringe upon the rule.
If software-level implementation isn’t feasible due to the casino utilizing third-party software that doesn’t support such measures or other constraints, each case merits careful evaluation by the casino. Some players may unintentionally break the rule–say, by erroneously clicking the ‘Max Bet’ button on a slot machine. It would be unjust to penalize them, particularly if they haven’t profited from game rounds involving excessively large bets.
For our review team to label a casino as “fair” or “honest”, the casino must enforce the maximum bet rule for bonus play. This entails the casino’s systems actively averting players from placing bets that exceed the stipulated limit.
Imposition Of Limits For Withdrawal Of Funds
Withdrawal limits dictate the amount that players can cash out within a specific time span. These limits can differ based on the payment methods, but there will always be a cap on how much a player can withdraw within a certain period (like a day, week, or month).
In some instances, these limits result in large winnings being disbursed to a player over time in multiple smaller payments, rather than in a lump sum.
Lower withdrawal limits (or slow payouts) are sometimes dictated by external factors like regulations, payment method restrictions, etc., instead of the casinos’ own prerrogative. We take these factors into consideration when reviewing casino withdrawal limits.
Primarily, casinos impose withdrawal limits to safeguard their cash flow thereby preventing a palpable financial impact from a substantial immediate payout.
From a player’s standpoint, they generally prefer to withdraw their winnings in one go, irrespective of the amount. Given that deposits are often instantaneous and boundless, players struggle to understand why their winnings can’t be paid out at the same pace, particularly when withdrawal limits prolong payouts over several months in case of substantial wins.
Our Point Of View Here
Ideally, withdrawal limits would be non-existent. Yet, acknowledging their inevitable persistence, we accept them as part of the online gambling fabric provided they are not excessively restrictive. If they are, we mark down the reputation rating of the concerning casino.
Players should be able to access their winnings, no matter how sizable, within a reasonable time frame. In our view, withdrawal limits should at least reach $10,000 per month, the higher, the better. Anything below this bracket can significantly constrain players.
Withdrawal limits should not be applied to progressive jackpot payouts, given that the casino isn’t responsible for the payouts.
In cases where the payment method-related limits truncate a player’s ability to withdraw their winnings at once, we advise the casino to engage with the player in finding an alternative solution that enables quicker withdrawals.
Policies Regarding Blocked Countries
Every casino only accepts players from certain nations, rendering the remaining countries ‘restricted’. This implies that gamers from these banned countries aren’t permitted to establish an account and participate in the casino games. This practice is universal across gambling sites, though the approach to managing players from restricted countries varies from casino to casino.
This policy applies also to bonuses such as welcome bonus and no-deposit bonus where only players from a certain country are eligible.
Many casinos merely list the barred countries in their Terms And Conditions, leaving it up to players to verify their eligibility for playing, for wagering requirements, and form reedeming any type of available bonus.
In instances where a player from a restricted nation registers, such casinos permit account creation but only disclose the stipulations upon withdrawal attempt. The casino is content while the player incurs losses; however, when the player seeks to withdraw winnings, they invoke the ‘restricted countries’ rule, declining the withdrawal and blocking the player’s account.
Regrettably, this practice is profoundly unfair, as unknowing players may register, while casinos exploit this oversight, often knowingly and deliberately.
If permitted to visit the casino’s site, open a registration form, set up an account, deposit, and play, the logical assumption for the player would be that their participation is allowed.
Though a few savvy or careful players might refer to the T&Cs and detect their country’s restrictions, they are the exception rather than the norm.
The same happens with the redemption of a bonus.
When casinos fail to technologically enforce bonus restrictions, players may inadvertently claim a bonus they’re not entitled to, discovering the prohibitions only when their withdrawal request is declined. Essentially, a player could be engaging with bonus money, only to encounter the restriction once they’ve won and attempt to cash out their winnings. It’s akin to gambling without the prospect of winning.
If a player successfully claims a casino bonus, it’s natural for them to assume it’s available for their use. There’s no apparent reason for them to suspect that they should not have received the bonus in the first place. Not surprisingly, withdrawal issues arising due to this rule and its flawed execution can catch them off guard.
It is unequivocally unacceptable to let players gamble when the casino is aware of their ineligibility due to country restrictions, only to use these same restrictions to withhold winnings upon the player’s first withdrawal request. This blatantly undermines fair play principles, as the casino knowingly permits wagering from a player with no realistic opportunity to win.
Some casinos argue infeasibility or improbability to implement systems detecting player eligibility, but we find this implausible as it merely involves cross-referencing player’s residence with the list of restricted or permitted countries.Ethical conduct entails checking for restricted countries during account registration and denying those from disallowed nations. Given the casino’s awareness of restrictive countries and the player’s residence, effectively enforcing rules shouldn’t be a challenge.
Should a casino permit a player from a restricted country to play due to a lack of this check, it must concede to accountability for its oversight and honor all player winnings, assuming no other rules were breached.
And the same applies to bonus redemption, of course.
Bonuses should be offered by casinos solely to players who are eligible as per the Bonus Terms and Conditions. In cases where a bonus is mistakenly awarded to a player who isn’t entitled to it, the casino ought not to revoke it. Instead, the casino should own up to their error and fulfill the player’s winning payout.
In order for our review team to label a casino as honest and safe, it must enforce geographical restrictions during account creation and disallow players from banned nations.
Duties And Responsibilities Of Players
We advocate for equality in online gambling for all participants. Our fair gambling guidelines for internet casinos outlines that the responsibility for fairness primarily lies with the casinos themselves. However, players also have a role to play, ensuring their actions, whether intentional or inadvertent, don’t jeopardize their casino account or its funds.
This guide essentially serves as a guideline, hence the name, stipulating a certain set of principles and good practices. Adherence to these by all parties would result in an online gambling sphere characterized by minimal friction between casinos and players, fewer player grievances, and overall enhanced security for all parties involved.
This section of the fair gambling codex elucidates actions players should adhere to and those they should avoid in order to safeguard their accounts and finances.
In the vast realm of online casinos, fairness and player security substantially differ from one platform to another. The extensive work of our casino review team, surveying thousands of gaming sites and weighing player grievances and other critical factors, underscores that some casinos embody fairness far more than others, subsequently ensuring a higher safety level for players.
This distinction led us to coin the terms ‘fair’ casinos and ‘fair and safe’ casinos, effectively creating categorizations to assist players in approaching the right casino. For more comprehensive insight, our fair gambling codex for casinos is a great resource. However, please see the primary definitions below for a snapshot of what to look out for, including our expert guidance to lessen your chances of falling into unfavorable circumstances.
‘Fair and safe’ casino definition
‘Fair and safe’ casinos not only adhere to all the ‘fair’ casino criteria but also have preventive measures in place to stop players from unintentionally breaching the rules or their own interests.
Such ‘fair and safe’ casinos take certain proactive steps to protect players, such as:
- Implementing maximum bet sizes, binding games, and fulfilling other bonus terms.
- Alerting players who are unwittingly acting against their interest, like opting for a bonus that nullifies previous winnings.
- Checking for multiple accounts during registration. An example is cross-referencing a new player’s name and birth date in the database and issuing a warning if duplications occur.
If you choose to play at a ‘fair and safe’ casino, your focus should be to:
- Register using only your authentic personal information, including name, address, and contact details.
- Wield only those payment methods (bank accounts, credit cards, etc.) that are registered in your name.
- Understand that every bonus play comes with a set of established rules elaborated in the bonus terms and conditions.
- Refrain from exploiting software glitches, if any do crop up.
At ‘fair and safe’ casinos, players need not fret over exceeding the maximum bet limit, as the software safeguards against such infractions by disallowing bets above the set amount. Likewise, concerns over inadvertent duplicate account creation are quelled by robust systems capable of spotting and highlighting potential account duplications to the player.
When it comes to bonus play
Even at those casinos dubbed ‘fair and safe’, it is prudent to study the stipulated bonus terms and conditions when you procure a bonus. While these casinos should shield you from playing barred games or over-betting, additional regulations might apply.
For instance, the earnings from a no deposit bonus could be capped, a fact better known beforehand. Awareness of the wagering requirements, outlined in the bonus terms and conditions, likewise, is advantageous.
On the subject of payments….
Ensure that all depositing and withdrawal transactions are channeled through your personally held bank accounts or credit cards. Failure to do so could lead to complications when you request a withdrawal. This rule primarily aims to curb credit card misuse and complies with international anti-money laundering laws.
Players are strongly advised never to exploit software bugs or system errors to their advantage. For instance, attempting to forecast a live roulette game outcome electronically should be strictly avoided. Fairness in gambling extends to player conduct as well.
In a perfect world, players with noble intentions would remain worry-free. Regrettably, not all casinos fall under the ‘fair and safe’ category, thus requiring players to exercise caution while patronizing them. More on this will follow in the subsequent portion of the article.
Then we have the “OK” casinos. This means casinos that are just “fair” and legal.
A ‘fair’ online casino embodies the following elements:
- Honors all legitimate payouts
- Lacks any unjust terms and conditions clauses
- Abstains from deceptive tactics to ensnare players
- Complies with location-based restrictions, refusing registration or play to players from particular regions, and upholds bonus limitations, awarding promotional offers only to qualifying participants
If your preferred casino doesn’t make the ‘fair and safe’ grade but satisfies the ‘fair’ criteria, additional guidelines to comply with include:
- Refrain from establishing multiple accounts.
- Look over bonus terms and conditions vigilantly, particularly for rules unique to playing with bonus funds.
- Contemplate perusing through the casino’s terms and conditions. While ideally players shouldn’t need to, it’s advisable to glance through them.
In case you have faced unfortunate treatment at a casino before, you may realize that these categories only highlight a fraction of the ‘online casino fairness’ panorama. If your chosen casino doesn’t align with any of the above criterions, our strong recommendation is to heed all the guidelines laid out above, and proceed with heightened caution, for the likelihood of facing complications rises even in the absence of rule transgressions.
Therefore, we advise opting for casinos that are minimally ‘fair.’ For those on the lookout for new casinos, our curation of top online casinos is a reliable source to uncover reputable platforms that respect their players. As a word to the wise, we suggest thoroughly reviewing the entire review before finalizing your choice, coupled with reading our guide on how to select an online casino.
While our counsel is for players to select casinos that categorize as ‘fair’ at the very least, as per our referenced standards, you could find yourself drawn to one that doesn’t measure up to these standards. In such scenarios, utmost caution is vital to avoid rule infringements.
Let’s illustrate with an example: In general, casinos limit player participation or bonus eligibility to specific countries as outlined in their terms or bonus conditions. ‘Fair’ and ‘fair and safe’ casinos, however, go the extra mile, barring players from restricted territories from account creation or securing bonuses not intended for them.
Unfortunately, not all casinos uphold this standard. Some permit account creation or bonuses for regions deemed off-limits. They welcome play from these locations, only to later deploy these very restrictions to avoid paying out winnings, a strategy far from player-safe, as you could find yourself in hot water should you miss these restrictions embedded in the T&Cs.
Location restrictions are a significant concern, prompting our further advice to engage the casino’s customer service for clarity on the matter, augmenting your own T&Cs review. Directly inquire if your particular location is permitted to play or claim relevant bonuses. Make sure to document these responses for potential future reference.
Moreover, casinos falling short of our ‘fair gambling’ benchmarks might harbor unjust rules within their T&Cs or even wield unpublicized ones. Our fair gambling codex for casinos sheds light on these hidden and predatory rules. Unjust casinos typically scout for pretexts to refuse legitimate winnings payout to otherwise rule-abiding players.
Wrapping up, commit to vigilance in rule adherence. Ideally, snapshot critical data such as T&Cs, bonus T&Cs, chat records, casino emails, etc., which could prove useful in the event of a dispute or a formal complaint. Naturally, switching to a more reputable casino undoubtedly remains the smartest move.