Disputes Based on Online Casino BonusesBy: Ryan Alders, Wednesday February 3rd 2010
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With millions of transactions taking place at online casinos every day it is hardly surprising that disputes arise between the online casinos and the players. eCOGRA is an organization that has a dedicated disputes resolution section. It has reported that most of the disputes at online casinos revolve around the issue of casino bonuses.
There are various kinds of disputes that can arise in connection with bonuses. The online casino may claim that the player has not met the wagering requirements and therefore refuse to allow the withdrawal of the winnings from the bonus. In some cases when the online casino claims that the wagering requirements have not been met it may distribute a smaller amount than the player has estimated. Different online casinos have different terms and conditions for wagering requirements. This often results in disputes on whether the wagering requirements have been met or not. Different online casino games contribute differently to the wagering requirements and also the wagering requirements may differ from country to country. Some bonuses are cashable bonuses and are disbursed to the player. Other bonuses are non-cashable bonuses and only the winnings from these bonuses are disbursed to the player. Lack of clarity on the nature of the bonuses is also a reason for disputes.
The eCOGRA report on disputes resolved in 2009 states that about half the disputes were resolved in favor of the online casinos. This implies that about half the times the players are in the wrong. The main problem here is that players do not read and understand the terms and conditions laid down by the casino before they start wagering. They blindly accept the terms and conditions. Therefore the players must read all the terms and conditions, particularly those pertaining to bonuses, and understand them. If they have any problems they should contact customer support and seek clarification. If players find that certain terms and conditions are not to their liking or even are patently unfair they should desist from playing at those online casinos. Once they accept the terms and conditions then they are binding themselves to those conditions. The disputes adjudicator will not go into the fairness or otherwise of the conditions but take them as given. It will be next to impossible for a player to get a favorable decision on the grounds that the bonus condition was unfair.
The good news for players is that about half the times that disputes are ruled in their favor. This implies that there are some online casinos who try to wriggle out of making bonus payments. The first thing that a player must do in this case is to document the events in detail with dates and times of the relevant transactions. He must then send this documented grievance to the customer support of the online casino and a follow-up for a resolution. If the online casino does not respond within a reasonable time or it turns down the player's claim then the player has to seek external help. Usually the licensor of the online casino will have a dispute resolution mechanism. The player must send the complete information to the licensor requesting them to look into the dispute. Incorrect or incomplete information will vitiate the player's case. In case of eCOGRA approved casinos, eCOGRA handles the dispute resolution and is known to be extremely fair and competent.
If there is no designated dispute resolution authority then the player can take the dispute to online casino watchdog forums like Casinomeister. It is in the interest of the player and the industry at large that players who know that they are in the wrong should not raise disputes in the hope of weaseling something out of the online casinos.
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