This is Why I Always Say “Read the Fine Print!”

$46k jackpot winner duped by unconscionable online casino terms.

$46k Jackpot Winner Duped by Unconscionable Online Casino TermsIt’s a real shame what some of today’s unconscionable online casino operators are able to get away with. Every day, players are getting duped out of deposits and/or winnings for one absurd reason or another. Most often, it’s either because the website operator goes rogue, or the player failed to read the fine print. Sometimes, it’s a little bit of both.

A recently alleged case of jackpot thievery took place at Grand Eagle Casino. It’s one of 14 iGaming operations under the long-standing wing of Genesys Technologies. The fact that it is licensed in Curacao—a jurisdiction that puts very little restrictions on their operators, and fails to invoke any semblance of ameliorating player protections—should be an instant red flag for any player. However, the proprietor has spent more than 10 years building a reputation as being one of the ‘good guys’ operating from this circumspect jurisdiction.

If what we’re hearing this week is true—and based on emerging evidence, it certainly appears to be—that reputation could soon come crashing down. Here’s the story, as it’s being told from a reliable source that’s been operating as an online casino watchdog for many years.

$46k Jackpot Winner Duped by Unconscionable Online Casino Terms

The incident dates back to January 12, 2019, when a member of Grand Eagle Casino turned to the watchdog’s forums to complain about being denied a massive amount of winnings. She said she won a jackpot worth over $46,000, and provided screenshots to prove it. The next day when she attempted to login, she found the account locked. Customer support said she’d breached the terms and conditions.

She said she had claimed a free spins bonus upon sign-up. She met the playthrough requirements, but did not win anything from it. She collected 10 more credits from loyalty points and made a deposit to the account. The player also provided emails to the watchdog showing that she was being strung along and told various stories over the ensuing weeks. The operator finally settled on the reasoning that she had accepted two no deposit bonuses prior to making a deposit.

The casino watchdog investigated the matter and found that she had, indeed, broken this rule. Section 8 of the terms state:

8.4.1 A player is only permitted to claim one free bonus offer on their casino account, where no deposit is required. This includes free money offers and free spins offers. Should a player claim more than one free bonus offer (in succession without making a purchase at the specific casino in question), any winnings generated from this bonus will be null and void.

By these definitions, players automatically forfeit any winnings if they are derived from redeeming two or more no deposit promotions in a row. So that much was settled – the player did breach the online casino’s T&C, denying access to the winnings. But according to the watchdog, it’s a baited trap. And the rabbit hole goes deeper yet…

First of all, were this online casino regulated in a jurisdiction where the importance player protections supersede the value of licensing fees and other revenue, such terms would not exist. Curacao takes no responsibility. So long as the operator abides by its own terms—something players instantly agree to by using the website—no wrong has been done.

Jurisdictions like Malta and the UK would go ape-shit over such unconscionable online casino terms and policies. In these jurisdictions, if accepting two no-deposit bonuses in succession breaks the rules, then the operator cannot make it possible for a player to accept back to back no deposit bonuses. The simple fact that it’s possible is a disgrace to the iGaming industry, trapping players into forfeiture should they happen to get so lucky as this woman did.

To make matters even worse, the watchdog reports that, after denying the player the winnings, Grand Eagle Casino did not put the $46k jackpot back into the prize pool. The operator pocketed the cash, reseeding the jackpot at its starter amount, as if it had been won and paid out.

It all boils down to one thing, and I’ve said this countless times. The online casino community can be a fantastic, entertaining and rewarding place for those who are educated in the ways of this global industry, and a monster to those who are not. Do your research, stick to reputable licensing jurisdictions and please, always read the fine print!

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