The 9 Most Underhanded Tricks and Ploys in the World of …

As an industry, gambling has historically been one of the most corrupt and unethical institutions in America. Scammers, cheaters, and liars have all found that gambling provides the perfect venue for them to hone their craft…and make a killing doing it. Luckily, the introduction of Online gambling has made things better. By placing all the gambling companies into a common pool where they can be instantly reviewed, examined, or researched, we’ve made casinos accountable. They can’t just cheat indiscriminately and not get called out for it. This, in combination with the software that makes player cheating extremely difficult, has eliminated much of the foul play from modern gambling. It does not, however, keep people from trying. It seems that gambling will always attract a certain undesirable crowd, and that these people will stop at nothing to make an easy buck. We’ve found the most outrageous stories of unscrupulous tactics used by either casinos or players to make a little money. You’ll be amazed by what some people are willing to do.

One casino takes marketing too far when it pays for the rights to name a child

Marketing campaigns generally fall into one of two categories: there are the campaigns that focus mainly on quality, and those that focus mainly on quantity. The first type focuses on building a solid brand name. It targets an audience and tries to form a connection with them. It attempts to create an association in the minds of the target audience between the product or service being offered and quality. These are the ads that you won’t see very often, but when you do it’s probably because you’d be interested in the advertised product. The second type strives simply to get a product or service seen. It isn’t concerned with niche appeal, but instead just wants everyone in the world to have heard the name. Some of those people, the logic follows, must eventually want to check it out,  thus creating a market. These are the spam ads that you see everywhere and find yourself hating more and more each time.

Golden Palace Casino has long been known for its dedication to the second approach. Since the early two thousands, their ads have been showing up en masse in every venue where gambling is even a slight topic of interest. As part of their all-out “get seen at all costs” approach, they’ve also employed several unusual strategies. From paying $650,000 for the right to name a new monkey species the “GoldenPalace.com Monkey,” to spending $15,000 for tattoo ad space on a woman’s forehead, Golden Palace has made a habit of doing almost anything to get seen across the globe. Unfortunately, this trend crossed the line from tacky to actually immoral when the casino paid $15,000 for the rights to name a New Jersey couple’s child “Goldenpalacedotcom Siverstein.”

Obviously the child will not go by Goldenpalacedotcom while around friends, but the burden of such a name is still something he didn’t deserve. Imagine the hassle that a name like that is going to cause at the airport. Or imagine the first day of school, when poor GoldenPalacedotcom’s teacher is going to have to ask what to call him. The emotional baggage that comes with a name like that is more than some children can take. By giving it to this child before he was even born, both the parents and the casino were behaving incredibly irresponsibly.

Selectively enforced rules force one player to accept his losses and ignore his wins

Every Online casino has slightly different rules about the age of consent. Depending on where the casino is based, where the player is logging in from, and how “sanctioned” the casino is, minimum age can be anywhere from 18 to 21. Since the rules are so different across the board, the responsibility for enforcement of those rules falls on each individual casino. Every gambling site has the responsibility to check each player’s credentials against its specific set of rules, since no other casino is going to have the same criteria. Without strictly enforcing its own age policies, a casino might end up in a position like Kiss Casino.

In late 2004, a player at Kiss Casino began complaining that he was not receiving payment for a big win. The play was clean, the win was recorded, and the amount was easily determined. Not surprisingly, the player could not understand why he was being denied his winnings. He contacted the casino and was met with silence. Eventually, after badgering the casino for months, the player received a message claiming that while his win was legitimate, his account was not. Apparently, at age nineteen, the player was not old enough to collect his winnings.

The player was furious. He immediately contacted Casinomeister, explained his situation, and demanded that the casino be placed on the “Rogue List.” The player, admittedly, was too young to be gambling on the site. He was only 19, and the site’s rules clearly stated that no one under 21 would be allowed to play. However, the situation was changed after the player was allowed to play. He had already signed up, played countless games, and lost considerable amounts of money. The casino did nothing to check his age as long as he was losing. Then, as soon as he had won, the site decided to start enforcing their rules. Casinomesiter agreed that this was a shady practice, and that by not checking the player’s age in the beginning the casino had waived all rights to use his age as a factor. The site was placed on the Rogue List, which for an Online casino can be a death sentence. Just goes to show the value of respecting your own rules.

A woman’s flattery turns sour when her true identity is revealed

95% of the time that a situation looks too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to almost all areas of life, but when it comes to a subject as potentially dangerous as Online gambling it is especially so. Which is why so many eyebrows were raised when a brand new casino came on the grid and started offering benefits that most of the largest Online casinos around couldn’t manage. Slots Alley was the site’s name, and users noticed several irregularities right away. The site offered unthinkably big progressives, unlimited 300% bonuses, “mystery” software, and full certification from “the Fair Gaming Labs.” Nobody was quite sure what it was, but something was amiss.

After enough buzz had been generated about the site, independent watchdog groups became intrigued. They contacted the casino and were all met with the same response: a perky young woman claiming to be named “Natalie,” emailed them back and assured them that everything was legit. She claimed that the progressives were possible because of the casino’s land-based status, the bonuses were available thanks to a long list of possible abusers, and the software was developed on site. As an added measure, she also sprinkled a healthy dose of praise and flattery into each response. Most of the sites were satisfied, and let the matter drop.

Then, while on a trip to Barcelona, Bryan Bailey of Casinomeister.com made a startling discovery. A friend with whom Bailey was having lunch casually brought up the subject of Slots Alley and, after hearing the story of Natalie, began laughing. He explained to Bailey that the site was being run by two people across seas, using software that was ripped from the previous employer of one of the men. He also explained that both of the company’s heads were men, and that one of their names was “Nati.” Bailey brought this news to the attention of the rest of the Online gambling community, and soon most were as incensed as he was. “Natalie” responded with more sweet-talk and flattery, but was completely ignored now that her gender had been revealed. The site went under a few weeks later.

One unscrupulous player tries to leverage his grandfather’s identity for a quick buck

Owning multiple accounts at a gambling site is outlawed for two important reasons. First of all, it allows a player to bypass all of the withdrawal and deposit limits set by the site, since every time one account runs dry the gambler can simply move to the other. On top of this, it can also allow a player to game the system by logging into both accounts at once and playing against himself, thus doubling his odds of winning. So when a casino discovers that a player has been using multiple accounts, they make the smart decision by confiscating that player’s winnings and banning them from all further play.

In early 2002, a player going by the name “Crudebar” sent a complaint form to the Casino watchdog site casinomeister.com claiming that homebets.com refused to pay his grandfather, who had won more than five thousand dollars. As proof of the legitimacy of his claim, Crudebar also included with his a claim a picture of an old man standing with a younger man at what appeared to be a high-school graduation. Crudebar claimed that the picture was of his grandfather and himself, and cited it as proof that they both existed. In order to clear the whole mess up, Casinomeister requested a copy of the man’s photo I.D. Their request was ignored.

So, after being let down by the player, Casinomeister turned to the casino in order to find some answers. They explained the complaint to homebets.com, and requested any relevant information. The next day, homebets.com sent Casinomeister two very interesting pictures. One was the photo I.D. provided by Crudebar himself, and the other was the photo I.D. provided by “his grandfather.” Despite one of the photos having clearly computerized gray hair and a slightly distorted face, it was still clear that the photos were exactly the same. The head position, the facial features, the size of the face, and everything else was practically identical. Crudebar had at least taken the time to change the birth dates and addresses on each I.D., but in a fatal lapse of judgment, had forgotten to change the signature. Just for good measure, Casinomeister took the issue public and put Crudebar to shame.

A casino advertises a win that they still refuse pay out on

When a person wins big on an Internet gambling site, they can often become understandably frustrated by how long it takes for the casino to pay up. Between the software checks (to make sure the big win wasn’t a malfunction), the hand replays (to make sure no bots were used), and the account audits (to look for suspicious behavior in the past), it can take weeks for a payment plan to be reached between a big winner and a casino. This is a normal and necessary part of the cashing out process, and only requires that players to be patient. Sometimes however, it crosses a line. In cases such as that of “Christine”  V.S. Aloha Casino, waiting to pay can become just another casino ploy to make dirty money.

In 2001, a player by the name of “Christine” racked up a total jackpot of $60,312.00 at Aloha Casino after hitting the progressive jackpot. Clearly thrilled, Christine immediately tried to cash out and was met with the usual claim that time was needed to verify the win. So Christine waited. After two weeks with no word from the casino, Christine attempted to email the company. After getting no reply, Christine simply waited longer. This continued for almost two months, with Christine emailing and calling the casino countless times with no results. Eventually, the anger became too much for Christine to take quietly when she realized that the casino was actually bragging about her win on its front page.

After two months of refusing to even acknowledge that Christine had won their money, Aloha Casino actually had the audacity to tote her jackpot as an example of their “loose slots.” It’s one thing for a company to be rude to a paying customer, but it’s quite another for that company to expect the customer to comply with its efforts to make itself look good. Christine took the matter to several online gambling “watchdog” sites who immediately put the casino to shame. Not to anyone’s surprise, the site paid up soon after.

When a problem gambler tries to quit, he’s met with extreme resistance from his casino

Possibly the most important aspect of responsible gambling is knowing when to quit. It’s the rare, and happy, gambler who can always cut himself off before he spends too much. For the rest of us, there’s always the risk that we are going to spend more than we wanted to before we realize that we have to quit. Which is why it needs to be so easy for a player to drop out at any time. As soon as a player decides that he has had enough, he should be able to simply walk away. Whenever a casino goes out of its way to discourage this easy exit, it is a breach of ethics. And when a casino not only encourages problem gambling, but actually refuses to allow a player to remove themselves from tempting situations, that casino has lost all claim to moral integrity. This is the situation that one poor man found himself facing with the Crystal Palace Group.

After deciding that he had a bit of a compulsive gambling problem to deal with, a player at the Crystal Palace Group, whose name was never revealed, asked to have his account deleted. Instead of complying with the man’s wishes however, the casino instead sent him several emails with promotional bonus coupons. Essentially, they sent him a little more money and told him to keep gambling. The ploy worked, and the man racked up a few more losses. In retaliation, the man’s wife emailed the casino and threatened to dispute any charges from the casino with the bank if they refused to close the account. Instead of closing the account, the group apparently reached an understanding with the man and his wife. The man agreed to not dispute any of the charges on the condition that his wife would watch all of his play and make sure it didn’t get out of hand. Then, as what we have to assume is karmic revenge, the man  hit a couple of royal flushes and ended up with $22,718.00 worth of winnings.

But, of course, the casino was hesitant to pay. After a few weeks of hearing nothing from the group, the man was sent a message stating that he would receive no money from Crystal Palace Group. According to the message, the man had sent emails “threatening chargebacks,” and was playing on an account that was invalid since he had requested it closed. After taking money from the man countless times after he had requested his account closed, the scumbags were actually trying to convince the man that it was his fault that he wasn’t receiving the money. It is unclear whether or not the man has received his money yet, but he has been working with consumer advocates to try to get what’s due.

A player is denied his winnings for essentially playing too well

“Bots” are one of the most common tools used by players to scam Online gambling websites. A bot is a program that any player can run while using gambling software. It will watch the current situation of play, run the numbers, and make the statistically logical decision. It essentially plays your cards for you, and better than you’d be able to by yourself. For good reason, bots are banned from use at any Online gambling institution. Evidence of the use of a bot generally results in confiscated winnings and instant account termination.

Which is exactly why Heroes Casino claimed it was refusing to pay one of its players a $34,000 jackpot in the fall of last year. The casino insisted that upon reviewing the game in which the player supposedly won, they saw significant evidence of a bot being used and, as such, owed the player nothing. The player, whose name was never revealed, adamantly opposed the assertions. Roughly a month after striking the big win, he contacted a player advocacy group who began to investigate the matter.

After reviewing the play of cards, the advocacy group contacted the player and told him that while there was no conclusive evidence of a bot in use, his play was suspiciously well calculated. In response, the player sent them one picture: a piece of paper with numbers and notes across the surface, and a mechanical pencil. The calculations, he claimed, were entirely his own and did not warrant any kind of punitive action. After reviewing the paper, the advocacy group concluded that the calculations did indeed match the play of the game and, according to the site’s rules, made his winnings perfectly legitimate. After being shown the evidence, the casino claimed that their software was buggy and promised to replace it. Instead, they disappeared. The player contacted the software provider who told him that the casino had been dropped from their service due to unethical behavior. Luckily, in one of the classiest moves of the year, the software company paid the player in full for his win. At least somebody stepped up.

An Online marketing strategy goes too far when it advertises gambling as a stress relieving tool

For any company that works mostly Online, it’s crucially important to be easily discovered by a simple Google search. The commercial benefits of having a site become one of the first listed among search results are well documented, and significant enough to spawn an entire industry that works to increase search engine rankings for clients. These search engine optimization (SEO) companies have been growing steadily for the last five years, and have helped build the Online presence of gaming sites, business sites, and almost every other kind of site imaginable. As part of one of the most Internet-dependent industries in existence, Online gambling sites clearly have a lot vested in their SEO efforts.

So when the Internet casino Jackpot Factory started paying an SEO firm to create content that would attract search engines to their site, it was seen as a pretty normal move. That is, it was considered normal until people actually started to read some of the articles being created. One of them claimed, “Slots Relieve Life’s Pressures. . . Slots relieves the stress that is a part of life.”  Another two read, “Not Coping? Play These Slot Machines,” and “Money Worries? Play Slot Machines.” Every single piece of content seemed to suggest that gambling was not only a good solution to money issues, but was as good for mental health as a long stay at the spa. The largest piece even went so far as to say “since playing free slots I feel so calm, I am drawn to meditation.”

Shrewd marketing practices are one thing, but encouraging problem gamblers to drown their emotions with slot machines is quite another. The posts are ridiculous enough that most people are not willing to believe them, but all that means is that only the weakest, most desperate gamblers would be affected. False advertising is bad enough by itself, but when it is targeted to take advantage of the weakest members of society, it becomes truly immoral. There is no excuse for this.

Buying ad space on the back of a notorious streaker gets one casino a lot of publicity. . . and a seriously bad reputation

There is a certain perverse logic to the old saying “no publicity is bad publicity.” Obviously bad publicity does exist, but having your company’s name in the public eye is almost always worth whatever negativity is associated with it. After enough time, anger and outrage almost always dissipate, but even when the emotion surrounding your company’s name has vanished, the name itself will stick around. It’s worked for countless celebrities, major corporations, and blogs across the Internet. Now, as just another trashy stunt in its unique marketing strategy, Golden Palace Casino seems to be using the same strategy.

In early 2004,  Mark Roberts snuck onto the field of the 38th Superbowl in a referee’s outfit, just before the second half of the game started. After positioning himself firmly in public view, he then stripped down and performed a dance while wearing nothing but a thong. As a serial streaker, this was not an unusual move for Roberts; he had been streaking for years previous, and had already disrupted events such as the World Cup, the World Synchronized Swimming Championship, and a Miss Universe contest. Streaking was just what the man did. What was unusual however, was the large tattoo scrawled across his back. It read, in bright golden lettering, GoldenPalace.com, complete with the casino’s logo. It was a publicity stunt of the most extreme variety.

Golden Palace denies having anything to do with Mr. Roberts’ “performance.” They claim that they were never aware of Roberts’ intentions, and that his use of their logo was his decision alone. Mr. Roberts’ was unavailable for comment. Understandably, many people have had a hard time understanding why a man whose only apparent motivation is getting naked in public would want to give all that publicity to any company for free. While there is no way to prove Golden Palace’s involvement, it is fairly safe to assume that, once again, they’ve outdone themselves with their sleazy behavior.

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