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Online casinos offer exciting bonuses as incentives for new players to sign up. The bonuses are great incentives, but there are players who will try to take advantage of the bonus being offered to make more money off it. Bonus abuse is for real and casinos nowadays have strict measures in place to deal with it. On this page we will take a look at bonus abuse in general, the kinds of ways players may indulge in it and the steps casinos have in place to counter this threat.
In the early days of the industry, especially between 2000 and 2006, bonus abuse was a serious threat and quite a few online casinos have taken a hit because of it. The rules were not too stringent back then and players would take advantage of them to exploit the bonuses. For instance, wagering requirements were not too high, so all one had to do was find a casino that offered a juicy welcome bonus with a low wagering requirement and exploit it. There was also no strict rule in place to ensure players did not play games with low wagering requirement contributions to fulfil the wagering clause.
For instance, imagine you signed up with a casino and got yourself a €200 bonus, you could use the expected positive value of the bonus to your advantage and play a game with a low house edge. Then, all you had to do was use the welcome bonus with a positive expected value to play a game with a low house edge, e.g. blackjack, till you completed the wagering requirements. The remaining money would be your profit and you could then legally withdraw it.
The most common form of bonus abuse one encountered in the early days of the online casino was to abuse the welcome bonus. The objective is simple: find a casino with a good welcome bonus and a way to fulfil the wagering requirements easily, without raising the hackles of the casino operator. This is not so easy to achieve nowadays because of the strict rules casinos have in place, including high wagering requirements, list of games that can be used for the bonus offered and more.
There are a class of players who will sign up with a casino and make a deposit to access the welcome bonus on offer, claim it and then move on to another online casino. There are also instances where players have tried to claim the same bonus repeatedly.
Casinos nowadays have strict rules in place to counter these instances. All online casinos make it a point to review the playing habits of a player before approving a withdrawal request. Players who sign up and deposit money, claim a welcome bonus and then vanish are easy to track because of the long period of inactivity post claiming the bonus.
Another way of abusing the welcome bonus is to open multiple accounts. Casinos try to counter this by having a rule that permits only one account per household. This is a much-needed rule because if you are living in a family of five, four of whom are above the legal gambling age, it is easy to open 4 accounts in the names of these family members and play from four different accounts at the same time, increasing the possibility of your winning by 4 times! All you would need is the e-mail id and other personal details of these members, which can be easily obtained.
Casinos track the number of users per family by a simple method: collecting the IP address you are accessing the casino from at the time of signing up. This makes it possible to track access of multiple accounts from the same house. Nowadays, there is sophisticated technology available, for instance, IP blockers, that players can opt to use. Players can also use a VPN service to ensure the IPs are changed continuously or masked.
However there is software available to track these as well, and online casinos usually are equipped with the ways and means to detect blockers.
There are players who can, while opening multiple accounts, open one in the name of a family member that is underaged. This is a strict no-no, because casinos have to adhere to the stringent rules of the licensing jurisdiction they are licensed in, and one of the most fundamental policies is to ensure zero incidence of underage gambling. Casinos are able to track instances of these because all players are required to provide proof of identity and age at the time of requesting a withdrawal.
Any instance of underage gambling that comes to the notice of the casino will result in an instant ban.
The leaps that technology has made in recent years enables players to try and engage in bonus abuse through software programs, called ‘bots’. Examples include programs like Cheat Engine, which allow players to fulfil a bonus requirement using a bot. The way Cheat Engine works is simple and brilliant – this open source program has a memory scanner that can make the slot think there is a big payout being made. No money is paid out actually, but this method does help in getting through the wagering requirements for a deposit bonus quickly and effectively.
One thing, though: this software works in the download mode only. It is quite ineffective when you are playing in the instant play mode.
Another way that someone can abuse the welcome bonus is the hard-core criminal way: use software to hack in to a payment system and steal a user’s credit card and/or debit card details, and then use that to make payments. This is not seen too often, but the threat exists.
Hackers will need to identify a casino with a quick turnaround time for payments to be able to use this method. And there is also the very real threat of a jail sentence should they get caught while doing this.
Bonus abuse, as mentioned earlier, has been a very real threat. Nowadays casinos have ways and means in place to counter it. Some of these are already mentioned earlier. We will list these out for you below.
Every online casino nowadays has reasonably high wagering requirements in place to ensure players are not able to take advantage of this aspect of online casino gambling. A high wagering requirement ensures the player’s money is tied to the casino for long periods of time.
There are also strict rules that clearly mention the games you can play to clear the wagering requirements. Low house edge games like blackjack, for instance, are either omitted from that list or are shown to be very low contributors to fulfilling wagering requirements.
All players are required to provide personal information at the time of signing up and also, very importantly, at the time of making a withdrawal request. This information includes card details, documents to verify financials and proof of residence and age. These are first level lines of defense that can help casinos cast a reasonable safety net against the occurrence of bonus abuse.
At the next level, casinos have teams in place to monitor playing patterns of different players. Any unusual playing pattern therefore immediately comes to their attention and appropriate action may then be initiated to check and prevent any possibility of the occurrence of bonus abuse.
Online casinos also nowadays share databases with their peers. This helps them spread the word in quick time about any incidence of bonus abuse – suspected or real – and the identity of the player or players involved. There are also stringent punishments in place nowadays – including blocking, suspension or even termination of a player’s account if he is suspected of bonus abuse. Spreading the word also ensures this player id is not accepted at other online casinos.
The tracking of IP addresses, as mentioned earlier, allows casinos to track the location that a player is playing from. It helps the possibility of registration of multiple accounts under one roof or by the same player.