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Online Gambling Risks: Bonus Hunters

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Think about risks in online casino gambling. Do you imagine the risks to be greater for the player or the casino? Believe it or not, the incidences of casinos changing a game's odds when the stakes are high, or stealing credit card numbers from players, are uncommon. A large proportion of the risk is copped by the house.

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An April/May issue of Gambling Online Magazine published an article called "Milking casino bonuses" which told readers how to take bonuses from unsuspecting casinos. However, the article didn't mention that this practice of 'bonus hunting' will result in the 'hunter' being barred from ever spinning a roulette wheel or playing a hand of cards online again. Bonus hunters' names are given to industry wide databases, which blacklist players. The blacklisted players find themselves unable to open another casino account anywhere on the Net.

Different casinos have their own methods of dealing with the problem. Leading Swedish casino developer BossMedia say that if a player is caught milking bonuses, they lock the player's account and notify the player that he/she is no longer welcome in any of their numerous casinos. BossMedia says they hardly ever need to do this, but when they do, the action is swiftly carried out in order to protect their ability to give genuine players the bonuses they deserve.

Since the publication of Gambling Online Magazine's article, many online casinos have added new levels of protection against casino bonuses hunters. Most casinos now require a minimum wager amount to qualify for any bonuses, and stipulate that if bonus taking is suspected, the casino reserves the right to bar the hunter.

Helen Jansson of BossMedia says they give their players a chance to comply with the bonus conditions, before cracking down. "We check before sending a payout and if the bonus requirements aren't fulfilled, the transaction is held and the money posted back to the player's account," she said. "In the meantime, a message is sent to the player telling them about the rules and what has happened. We, in effect give, players a second chance to comply with the bonus conditions."

Helen explains how BossMedia find bonus hunters: "If a player just places the minimum strictly to the promo rules to collect the bonuses e.g.wagers twice the value of the bonus only and not a cent more, and then makes a withdrawl, it's pretty evident to us that he/she is a bonus hunter...A real gambler appreciates a casino bonus and genuinely uses the goodwill to try to win in the casino because he/she loves the thrill of the play."

Gambling responsibly does not only refer to betting within your financial capabilities. It also means playing in a way that is fair to all concerned, i.e. the player and the casino. The online gambling industry will only continue to offer larger bonuses and higher payout percentages than land-based casinos, if the percentage of fair players remains high.

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