Casinos Responsibilities

Fair and Safe Casinos

Online gambling should boast an environment of fairness and safety. This relies primarily on the casino's actions rather than the player's. Through evaluating player complaints and assessing casino reviews, we've experienced various tricky situations. This has led us to form a pivotal perception of what casinos should do in frequent scenarios.

Before delving into specific situations, it is crucial to establish the definitions of ‘fair casino' and ‘fair and safe casino'.

Note: The principles of fair gambling are continuously developed, reflecting changing trends and new findings. Undoubtedly, it takes time to document all aspects while ensuring a meaningful context. Therefore, certain parts may be pending for now but will soon be included. We appreciate your understanding.

Table of Contents

What is a Fair Casino? 🤝

A ‘fair casino' represents an online gaming palace that adheres to these benchmarks:

  • Payouts for all legitimate wins.
  • Clear and fair clauses in Terms and Conditions.
  • Authentic practices without tricks or deceptions.
  • Adherence to restrictions for specific countries or bonuses.

Even casinos with fair rules can place players in unwelcome situations due to unfamiliarity with certain regulations. To prevent unintentional rule-breaking, we believe that all rules should be technologically enforced by the casino.

“Technologically enforced rules” means that if a casino sets a maximum bet limit of $5 when playing with bonus money, it should technologically prevent players from exceeding this limit. In doing so, casinos can prevent players from unknowingly violating a rule.

As one of our goals is to actively contribute to the improvement of the overall quality of online casinos, we have decided to start using the term ‘fair and safe casino' to describe online casinos that go further than those that are “just” fair. This can be done mostly by enforcing their rules, as mentioned above.

Not many casinos currently fit our ‘fair and safe casinos' criteria. However, we hope that the numbers increase and that this becomes the benchmark for all quality online casinos.

What is a Fair and Safe Casino? 🤝🥇

A ‘fair and safe casino' is one that not only adheres to the principles of a ‘fair casino' but also takes extra measures to protect players from inadvertently breaking rules. It’s the kind of casino that:

  • Strictly enforce maximum bet sizes and other bonus conditions.
  • Warning players when they are about to compromise their best interests (like choosing another bonus that negates winnings from the previous one).
  • Verify potential duplicate accounts upon creation (we recommend checking name and birth date combinations against an existing database and flagging any matches).

However, it's crucial to understand that casinos that don't qualify as ‘fair and safe' can still be reliable. Many ‘fair casinos' still deliver exceptional services and treat players with honesty. ‘Fair and safe casinos' merely add an extra layer of player protection.

Note: While ‘safe casinos' is a term used in reference to responsible gambling and problem gamblers, ‘safe' in our context may hold a different meaning. Notwithstanding, some elements of this article will touch on these areas.

Do's and Don'ts for Online Casinos ✔️❌

Let's delve into the intricacies of what online casinos should and should not do. It's noteworthy to highlight that online casinos should shoulder most of the preventative measures in online gambling rather than transferring the burden to players. The following are the critical areas synonymous with player complaints that we have identified based on our experience:

  • Hidden and unfair rules
  • Maximum win
  • Restrictions on winnings
  • Withdrawal limits
  • Country restrictions
  • Limited bonuses
  • Dormant accounts
  • Betting strategy
  • Bonus hunting
  • Self-exclusions
  • Player verification and duplicate accounts
  • Regulation enforcement
  • Transparency

In a perfect world, if casinos properly addressed these online gambling challenges, justified internet complaints related to online gambling would vanish.

Hidden and Predatory Rules 📕❗  

Every casino has identified Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) indicating the rights, responsibilities, and the relationship between the player and the casino. However, some casinos resort to hidden or unfair rules, not clearly stated in their T&Cs, used to manipulate unsuspecting players.

The casino's perspective 

Here are some potential reasons for the existence of hidden and unfair rules:

  • Certain casinos might unintentionally harbor hidden or unfair rules, oblivious to the fact that these rules are unjust to players.
  • Some casinos deliberately incorporate hidden rules or generate unfair rules to protect themselves against certain player behaviours, prioritizing their own protection while disregarding the effects of these rules on players.
  • There are casinos that intentionally hide rules or integrate unfair rules into their T&Cs to defraud players and maximize their profits.

The player's point of view 

A select few players take time to thoroughly read the T&Cs before setting up a casino account, while most of them forgo this step. Those who pay attention to T&Cs, mainly focus on particular sections, such as restricted countries.

These players bank on the assumption that casinos adhere to best practices, and as a result, they don't find it imperative to scrutinize every detail. They wouldn't suspect any unfair rules lurking in the T&Cs. And for those not well-versed in online gambling, they could likely miss the unfair rules even after thoroughly going through the T&Cs.

Those who generally scrutinize T&Cs are the bonus hunters seeking loopholes to exploit casino bonuses.

If a casino enforces a rule not stated in their T&Cs (hidden rule), players cannot be deemed responsible since they were unaware of them.

Our standpoint 

We do not condone any ambiguous or unfair rules as they disadvantage players. Once we identify such rules during our review process or through player complaints, we downgrade the Safety Index and attempt to encourage the casino to adopt fair practices.

When it comes to determining questionable clauses, we use our judgment and experience, informed by our familiarity with online gambling Best Practices.

The T&Cs should be crafted in a clear, concise manner enabling players to accurately comprehend them. The system should be designed in a manner that eliminates the possibility of players unintentionally breaking the T&Cs.

Our advice to casinos 

Each rule imparted by the casino should be plainly stated in the casino's core T&Cs or in the Bonus T&Cs of each bonus. Casinos should refrain from imposing rules that are not publicly accessible as players should not be expected to comply with rules they're not privy to.

Moreover, all rules should align with fair play. Since most players don’t go through T&Cs, they may not notice that a rule is unfair. Strive to maintain player safety by enforcing fair rules. Keep T&Cs straightforward and avoid making up rules that could be used against innocent players.

Remember, aiming for a fair gaming environment is also beneficial to the casino. Keeping players interested and active on the casino website is in the casino's best interest. An unfair approach will deter these players from continuing to engage with your site and word of mouth could lead potential players to competitors.

Examples of unfair rules 

We have provided examples of these unfair practices to further elaborate on ambiguous and unfair rules. Check out these examples alongside our comments below:

When a player's total deposited amount is €200, the player's entitlement will only be up to X10 of the last deposit. This maximum payout will also apply even in cases where the player made additional deposits, which the Casino deems in their discretion to increase the €200 accumulated deposit amount.

In instances where the Withdrawals exceed 10 times the initial Deposit amount, the remaining amount will be voided, dropping the balance to zero.

In these examples, the imposed limits on player withdrawals, unless playing with a bonus, are unjust. We can endorse bonus T&Cs that limit maximum cash-out from bonus play. However, since the above examples don't involve bonuses, they are evidently unjust and unfair.

By indulging in any website activity (casino hidden); or by setting up an account on the website, you consent to be bound by Terms and Conditions; Privacy Policy; Responsible Gaming, FAQ, game rules; Bonus T&Cs, special campaigns, and website-operated tournaments.

As indicated earlier, all imperative rules for players should be housed in the Ts&Cs. There can be certain reasonable exceptions, for instance, bonus T&Cs and Privacy Policy. However, stashing rules in FAQs where no one expects them is dishonest and unfair.

Maximum monthly Withdrawal Approved: €3000. Should a withdrawal exceed this amount, the remaining amount will be voided, resetting the balance to zero.”

In light of this example being too low, the subsequent statement is even more troubling. It's one thing to limit the monthly payout to the player, but it's an entirely different matter and exceedingly unfair to confiscate all money beyond this limit if a player requests a larger withdrawal.

Criteria for ‘fair' and ‘safe casinos' 

To earn our seal of approval as a ‘fair' or ‘safe casino', a casino must not house any unfair rules in its T&Cs. All of its rules should be unequivocally listed in the T&Cs (or in the Bonus T&Cs for bonus-related rules). In essence, no ambiguous or predatory rules can exist.

Maximum Win Rule (Caps) 💰❗ 

Some casinos enforce win limits that only allow players to win a limited amount of money in one game round or within a predefined period of time. Win limits can be calculated and applied in various ways:

  • Limit on each game round: This restriction ensures that players can only win up to a set amount in a single game round, be it a spin on a slot, a roulette turn, or any other game.
  • Cap on total winnings within a timeframe: This method of imposing limits places a cap on the total winnings over a specified period (usually a day). Here, losses are not factored in.
  • Net winning cap within a timeframe: This approach limits the total amount a player can profit over a given period (usually a day), taking into account their losses as well.

Apart from the various types of win limits, each casino approaches the entire issue differently. Some casinos might apply a win limit right after a win, while others might start dealing with the issue only after a player asks for a withdrawal.

Let's consider a casino with a cap of €100,000 on each game round. If a player hits a big win and bags €150,000 on a slot machine bonus round, they would be able to keep only €100,000. The remaining €50,000 would go to the casino.

Note: Certain jurisdictions mandate winning limits as per their regulations. In these scenarios, casinos have no choice but to adhere if they intend to maintain their license and legality.

Win limits and progressive jackpots 

It is crucial to discuss how progressive jackpots relate to winning limits. Progressive jackpots get paid out differently from regular casino winnings. The money is usually transferred by the game provider that developed the game where the jackpot was won, not the casino where the player had the winning stake.

In a situation where a player wins a progressive jackpot, the casino serves as a financial intermediary between the game provider and the player. Consequently, it makes no sense for the winning limit to apply to such winnings. If a casino does this, it means they are keeping a chunk of the jackpot for themselves, which is why some game providers make sure to establish agreements with casinos that prohibit them from denying the player his full progressive winnings.

Note: There are some exceptions where large networks of casinos run their progressive jackpots. These cases obviously differ.

The casino's perspective 

If casinos apply win limits because of laws and regulations that require them, there is nothing they can do about this, so we can't hold this against the casinos. However, many casinos limit player wins at their own discretion without being told to do so by a regulator.

Casinos use win limits to protect themselves against big wins that could pose a danger to their cashflow and profitability. An unexpectedly big win could be an existential threat for smaller casinos with limited cashflow, so win limits make sense in this context if they are big enough. This being said, we still don't approve of them because they disadvantage players.

Very small win limits (let's say smaller than €10,000) are clearly designed to cheat players and increase the casino's profits.

The player's point of view 

Most players are not even aware of win limits. They expect to be able to keep their winnings in full, regardless of their size. It is devastating when a casino wants to take a big part of a player's winnings because of a win limit that they might not be aware of.

While it's true that most players won't be directly affected by winning limits if they aren't too low, some players who are familiar with winning limits tend to overlook them if they are much higher than the amounts they regularly win. However, if they win an amount exceeding the limit, their attitude towards winning limits can change dramatically.

It's important to note that winning limits disadvantage players and effectively reduce the RTP of some games for certain bet sizes, as the top wins can't be achieved due to these limitations.

Our standpoint 

As long as caps are backed by law or regulation, they might not be ideal but are understandable. Ideally, we'd like to see them abolished, but we acknowledge the casino's obligation to comply with regulatory conditions.

If a casino voluntarily enforces a high limit (say, €500,000), it might not sit well with us, but it is tolerable, especially if it doesn't apply to progressive jackpots.

However, a lower limit voluntarily enforced by a casino will cause us to reduce its Safety Index and caution players about it.

Note: Applying win limits to progressive jackpots is unacceptable. This amounts to cheating the player and/or the game provider. We take this issue very seriously in our assessments of online casinos.

Our advice to casinos 

Instead of implementing arbitrary win limits, we recommend decreasing the maximum allowed bets. This effectively decreases the amounts won by players (and therefore acts as a win limit), while also keeping the game mathematics intact; therefore, not being unfair towards players. The casino shouldn't let players place bets that can theoretically yield winnings that the casino can't afford to pay out.

Win limits should never apply to progressive jackpots, as these are not directly paid by the casino. It makes no sense for the casino to limit these jackpot amounts unless mandated by a regulator.

Maximum Bet for Bonuses 💸❗ 

Most online casinos implement a maximum bet rule while the player is using bonus funds. This restriction mainly intends to deter bonus misuse. Without such a rule, it becomes easy for players to quickly increase their bonus by placing large bets, meeting the wagering requirement, and then withdrawing their winnings. Thus, the maximum bet rule stands as a protective shield for the casino against aggressive bonus hunters.

If a player is gambling with a bonus, which has a maximum bet of €5, they are not allowed to gamble more than this at once. Breaching this rule may lead to the casino disqualifying their bonus and/or winnings.

The casino's perspective 

The online gambling sector widely accepts the maximum bet rule as a standard regulation used for protection against bonus abuses. Therefore, casinos confidently implement this rule and scrutinize the betting history of players who utilized a bonus and subsequently requested a withdrawal.

Contrarily, casino platforms rarely enforce their max bet rules technologically, leaving the onus on players to monitor their bet sizes.

The player's point of view 

Many seasoned players are aware of this rule and ensure they don't contradict it when playing with bonus money. Nonetheless, some players unknowingly break this rule, particularly after landing a significant win, leading them to raise their bet sizes. In such cases, realising later that they have violated the rules often leaves them feeling cheated.

Generally, players would rather not comb through lengthy T&Cs or constantly monitor their bet sizes. Most players will abide by the rule if it is explicitly stated either in the casino lobby or in the game itself, or highlighted prominently on the page or advert about the bonus.

Our standpoint 

We acknowledge the maximum bet rule as a fundamental industry standard, just as casinos reserve the right to retract winnings from a player who violates this rule. We align with industry norms and, thus will not penalize casinos that invoke the maximum bet rule.

Nonetheless, we advocate for the rule to be endorsed at the software level, ensuring that the casino's platform prevents players from exceeding the limit. This is an essential criterion for us to classify a casino as ‘fair and safe'.

Furthermore, the maximum bet sizes should be clearly displayed. Ideally, casinos should highlight this in their lobby, directly in the games, or in an easily accessible part of the page or ad notifying them about the bonus.

Our advice to casinos 

Ideally, casinos should technologically enforce their maximum bet rules, eliminating the possibility for players to breach them. By doing so, casinos can substantially reduce complaints related to exceeding bet limits.

If technologically enforcing bet limits is impossible, casinos should discerningly handle each case. Accidental rule breaches should not warrant the same punishment as deliberate attempts to exploit the rule.

Our review team asserts that to qualify as a ‘fair and safe' casino, the maximum bet rule for bonus play must be enforced. Simply put, the casino's system should disallow players from placing bets beyond the prescribed limit.

Withdrawal Limits💱❗ 

Online casinos often set limitations on how much a player can withdraw within a specific timeframe. These limits can vary depending on the payment method used. This might result in large wins being disbursed in smaller chunks over time.

Note: External factors like legislation or payment methods contribute to lower withdrawal limits or slower withdrawal times at times, and such factors are considered when assessing casino withdrawal limits.

The casino's perspective 

Online casinos generally impose withdrawal limits to manage their finances better, protecting their cash flow, especially against paying out large sums at once.

The player's point of view 

Players usually want to receive their winnings immediately, regardless of the amount. They often fail to understand why there should be limitations on withdrawals, especially when deposits are unlimited and instant.

Our standpoint 

Ideally, online casinos should not impose any withdrawal limits. However, recognizing their necessity, we accept higher withdrawal limits as part of the online gambling scene. If we find the limits too restrictive, we decrease the Safety Index of the affected casino.

Our advice to casinos 

Players should be able to access their winnings within a reasonable timeframe. We believe the monthly withdrawal limit should be at least €50,000. Progressive jackpot wins should not face withdrawal limits, as the casino does not pay them out.

Note: We suggest finding another payment method for players who can't access their winnings quickly due to a limit linked to their current method.

Restricted Countries 🌏⛔

Some countries are ‘restricted', meaning online casinos can't accept players from these areas. Cases differ on how these restrictions are managed.

The casino's perspective 

Casinos often list restricted countries in their terms and conditions (T&Cs) leaving it to players to verify their eligibility. They let users from restricted countries register and play until they request a withdrawal. Then they lean on the ‘restricted countries' rule to refuse the payout and close the account.

The player's point of view 

If players can access the site, register, deposit funds, and play, they naturally assume they're allowed. Some seasoned or cautious players might check the T&Cs to determine restrictions.

Our standpoint 

It's unacceptable for casinos to knowingly let players continue to gamble if they are from a restricted country, planning to invoke the relevant rule only when the first withdrawal request arrives.

Our advice to casinos 

Ideally, casinos should limit player registration at the outset using an automatic country check. If a player from a restricted country manages to play due to an absent check, the casino must acknowledge its mistake and pay out any winnings, as long as no other rules were violated.

For a casino to qualify as a ‘fair casino' or a ‘fair and safe casino', it must prevent players from restricted countries from creating accounts. This check should occur during account registration.

Restricted Bonuses 🎁🚫

Casinos typically limit bonus offers to players from specific countries. However, the issue with restricted bonuses is the same as that with restricted countries.

The casino's perspective 

Some casinos only mention restricted countries for each bonus in their T&Cs, asserting that their system is not capable of enforcing bonus distribution only to eligible countries.

This is highly unfair for players, bearing similarities to previously discussed issues (restricted countries).

The player's point of view 

In situations where the casino's system fails to technically restrict bonus distribution, players might unknowingly claim a bonus they aren't entitled to. The problem arises when they realize the restrictions upon attempted withdrawal after winning. Essentially, they're gambling without any possibility of winning.

When a player claims a bonus, they rightfully consider it theirs. It is utterly shocking to face withdrawal issues due to this poorly implemented rule.

Our standpoint 

We firmly believe casinos should make sure bonuses are awarded only to eligible players. If a casino can't technically enforce this, players should still be allowed to withdraw their winnings even if they belong to a bonus-restricted country. In essence, once a bonus is awarded, the casino should not confiscate it or any winnings derived from it unless other rules have been violated.

The problem often begins with promotional communication. Casinos and their affiliates might email bonus offers to ineligible players. These players then assume the bonuses are up for grabs, which may not align with the Bonus T&Cs. We suggest that only eligible players receive information about bonuses.

In conclusion, casinos should award bonuses only to eligible players. If a casino erroneously awards a bonus to an ineligible player, the casino should acknowledge its mistake and pay the player their winnings.

Our advice to casinos 

Our review team will only endorse a casino as ‘fair' or ‘fair and safe' if it doesn't allow ineligible players, due to country restrictions, to claim a bonus.

Dormant Accounts 👤🔒 

An account is deemed dormant if a player has not engaged with it within a predetermined period, typically 180 days. In such cases, some casinos will start depleting the funds left in these idle accounts.

The casino's perspective 

Casinos are not financial institutions, and maintaining funds in player's accounts over extended periods can incur costs. This is why they siphon funds from dormant accounts. Regrettably, certain casinos misuse the dormant account clause to gain extra profits, exploiting players who may have forgotten about their accounts.

However, not all casinos practice such policies. Many consider their reputations important, preferring to return dormant funds to their customers after extended periods of inactivity, reinforcing their commitment to fair gaming.

The player's point of view 

Despite a clear difference, some players often liken their casino accounts to bank accounts. They presume their idle funds would be safe and intact. Consequently, the news that a casino has or intends to decrease their balance can be rather disappointing and unexpected.

Our standpoint 

While it's generally accepted for casinos to deplete inactive accounts, we believe they should uphold a period of at least 360 days (180 as an absolute minimum, which won't impact the casino's Safety index) before initiating any deductions. Furthermore, casinos ought to employ all possible measures to report this to players in advance.

In most cases, casinos claim to make “reasonable efforts” to notify inactive players before any deductions. This is done to encourage the players to either play more or withdraw their balance. However, the term “reasonable effort” can be subjective, as we can't fully understand the communication intensity that a casino employs to reach their players. But, we can agree that emails alone wouldn't suffice as a reasonable effort.

Moreover, the deducted funds should be appropriate, and accounts should not be depleted all at once unless the balance is extremely low. We believe a reasonable deduction could be 5% of the remaining balance per month, or possibly less. For casinos preferring a fixed monthly deduction, a reasonable amount would be around €/£/$20.

Our advice to casinos 

If a player has not engaged with their account for a while, the first step for a casino should always be to reach out. If feasible, casinos should return the idle balance to the player after deducting any processing fees. If the balance is less than the minimum withdrawal limit, the casino may confiscate it, but only if it adheres to the rules stated above.

If a casino decides to deduct funds after a certain period of inactivity, the following guidelines should be adhered to:

  • Wait for at least 180 days before initiating any deductions.
  • Exhaust all possible communication channels before taking action: emails, text messages, phone calls, and physical mail.
  • Never remove more than 5% or €/£/$20 of the remaining balance from the player's account per month.

To be considered a ‘fair casino' or ‘fair and safe casino' by our team, casinos should adhere to these recommended guidelines.

Betting Strategy 📈💡 

Some casinos prohibit certain betting strategies in their terms and conditions. Players who are found guilty of contravening these rules often face consequences, including having their withdrawals declined and winnings confiscated.

The casino's perspective 

The logic behind this rule is to shield the casino from bonus manipulators, who are frequently recognized by their betting behavior. Nonetheless, it's problematic when the rule gets misapplied to honest, regular players, leading to the undue withholding of legitimate earnings. Noteworthy is that bonus manipulation can happen even when the bet size remains constant.

The player's point of view 

Players value their freedom to play according to their preferences. They question the need to shun certain bet sequences, considering the undeniable fact that all casino games bear a house edge.

Our standpoint 

We see it as unfair when casinos exploit the ‘betting strategies' rule to seize players' winnings.

Note: We acknowledge that betting strategies may be used to detect dishonest practices. Our issue arises when it is unjustly used as an alibi to deny players their due winnings.

Our advice to casinos 

Our suggestion is straightforward: avoid leveraging betting strategies as a reason to withhold winnings. While such strategies can be indicative of rule violations, they shouldn't be the primary reason for penalizing players.

Defining betting strategies is another issue. Virtually, any bet sequence can be labeled a betting strategy. In case a casino decides to contradict our advice and ban certain betting strategies, these must be clearly defined. Players should be made aware of what's allowed and what's not. Without such clarity, the ‘betting strategies' rule can be misused against anyone, a predicament neither players nor we appreciate.

Bonus Hunters 🎁🎯

Bonus hunting, or bonus abuse, refers to the calculated attempt to exploit online casino bonuses to make profits. Many casinos have clauses in their T&Cs empowering them to withhold the winnings of players suspected of bonus abuse.

The casino's perspective 

Casinos face financial loss from bonus abusers who cleverly exploit casino bonuses. These bonus seekers aim to gain a statistical advantage over the casino. Therefore, it's reasonable for casinos to take measures to protect their interests.

The player's point of view 

Players anticipate being able to utilize bonuses they receive and withdraw any earnings made. Whether a player is aware of bonus abuse or not, they still expect to profit from it.

Our standpoint 

We maintain that if a player honestly opens a casino account, without creating duplicate accounts, and complies with all T&Cs, he/she should be allowed to freely use any given casino bonus.

Note: We disapprove of the unethical practice of using someone else's details to open multiple accounts in different casinos, even if the person involved is conscious of the activities.

We oppose the practice of denying players their winnings after they've fulfilled all wagering requirements without breaking additional bonus play rules, even in cases where the casino suspects the player is a bonus abuser. Once a player has played with a bonus and won, they should be allowed to keep their earnings.

Our advice to casinos 

Our recommendation for battling bonus abusers is to create bonus rules that make bonuses non-exploitable. Alternatively, casinos could detect bonus abusers at account creation or during play and then stop offering them bonuses.

Self Exclusion 🔓🙅‍♂ 

An integral part of responsible gambling is the self-exclusion feature. This tool allows players to have a cooling-off period during which they're not allowed to gamble. During this time, the player cannot reverse their decision until the term stipulated is over.

Some casinos introduce a loophole by allowing players to immediately cancel their self-exclusions. Obviously, this isn't compliant with the responsible gambling guidelines.

Affiliated casinos 

Many casinos are part of larger entities and outline in their agreements that if a player self-excludes at one casino, all associated casinos must honor this exclusion. While this seems commendable, the implementation of such a policy often leaves much to be desired.

There have been instances where a self-excluded player is permitted to gamble at an affiliated casino. The problem arises when the player wins and the casino refuses to pay the winnings, citing the self-exclusion clause. Of course, had the player lost and not won, the casino may have overlooked the self-exclusion clause and kept the money. Such behavior, sadly, leans heavily to the unfair.

Proactively implementing such rules is essential. Casinos should ensure that players aren't allowed to gamble in circumstances when it's not permissible, even if it involves sophisticated software management to uphold player protection.

The casino's perspective 

Most casinos endeavor to promote safe gambling experiences. They're typically not inclined to profit from addicted gamblers, the demographic that mainly uses the self-exclusion options. However, certain casinos either claim the inability to fully enforce self-exclusions or lack such a feature altogether.

The player's point of view 

Self-exclusion is a vital tool for players grappling with compulsive gambling tendencies. It provides them a haven when their gambling habits spiral out of control. Subsequently, enabling gambling during this period serves as a potential detriment to their well-being.

Our standpoint 

We profoundly believe that all casinos should offer responsible gambling tools, especially self-exclusions. Upon a player's election to self-exclude, they mustn't be allowed to play until the stipulated period.

While some casinos might genuinely struggle with implementing effective self-exclusion, it’s pertinent to mention that casinos lacking this feature or ineffectively managing it could potentially be exploiting vulnerable users.

Our advice to casinos 

Make the self-exclusion process straightforward. Creating user-friendly tools will encourage players experiencing gambling issues to seek help when required.

Ensure to uphold the self-exclusion policy strongly. When a player chooses exclusion, abide by it. Under no circumstances should they cancel the self-exclusion, particularly without a cooling-off period.

Informing players about affiliated casinos during the self-exclusion process is also critical. It would be best to allow players to decide their self-exclusion scope, whether for one or all casinos in the group.

Lastly, winnings cannot be withheld under the pretext of self-exclusion. If a player is allowed to gamble despite self-exclusion, winning should not be denied.

For a casino to be labeled as a ‘fair and safe casino' by us, it must allow players to self-exclude themselves from playing. If casinos allow players to revoke their self-exclusions, they need to wait through a waiting period of at least seven days.

Multi-Accounting and Player Verification 👥❌

Most online casinos permit only one player account. Multiple accounts are flagged as ‘duplicate accounts', in violation of terms and conditions. Normally, duplicate accounts are detected during the player verification process, usually triggered by the player’s withdrawal request. If winnings are made from a duplicate account, they are often canceled, although in some cases, the deposit might be refunded, assuming the duplicate account was created unintentionally.

The casino's perspective 

The ‘one account per player' policy is primarily a buffer against those who exploit bonus provisions. When players create multiple accounts to claim the welcome bonus repeatedly, it tilts the odds in the players’ favour. This loophole forms one of the few means through which players reduce the casino's advantage. Casinos, therefore, safeguard themselves by suspending duplicate accounts.

The player's point of view 

At times, a player may unknowingly create another account after forgetting the existence of a prior one. Others may choose to create a new account rather than recover passwords for an older one. We firmly believe that players should not be penalized for accidentally opening duplicate accounts.

Our standpoint 

While we believe that monitoring of account duplication should be a standard casino procedure, we concede that the responsibility lies primarily with the player. Not out of conviction, but because of its acceptance in the industry. We are hopeful that future standard industry procedures will be more proactive and protective for players.

In circumstances where a player intentionally creates multiple accounts to exploit bonus provisions, casinos have every right to reprimand them. However, players who unknowingly create a second account and do not exploit bonuses should not be penalized for minor oversight.

Our advice to casinos  

Why not adopt duplicate account checks during account registration? The implementation for this doesn't need to be a comprehensive KYC process involving IDs, but a personal detail verification that prevents duplication. If technology does not permit such features, casinos should adopt a lenient stance towards players who accidentally duplicate accounts without harming the platform.

A ‘fair and safe’ seal from our reviewing team is only bestowed upon casinos that initiate duplicate account checks at the point of registration instead of during withdrawal requests.

Rule Enforcement 📑👮 

Online casinos frequently encounter situations where players fail to comply with the outlined terms and conditions (T&Cs). However, the handling of these scenarios often leaves much to be desired.

Many online casinos simply inform the players of their T&C transgressions and shut down the account, without providing an explanation for their decision. Unfortunately, this often leads to confusion and frustration among the players, as the casinos cease all communication.

The casino's perspective 

Upon discovering a potential violation, most online casinos focus on conveying the ramifications for the player (e.g., forfeiting winnings or revoked bonuses). The method of delivering this news is of secondary importance to the casinos.

The player's point of view 

Given that a player’s understanding of the breached rules generally lacks depth, such sudden accusations can leave them feeling lost. Left without concrete reasons for the violation, players are prompted to dig deeper for a more detailed explanation.

Our standpoint 

In instances where an online casino must reprimand a player for rule breaches, clear communication is paramount. At the very least, information to the player should include:

  • Which specific rules were violated (reference to the exact T&C clause is necessary)
  • The time and manner in which the infraction occurred
  • The penalty that will be imposed and measures the player can undertake

Transparency 📖⚖️

Let's delve into the kind of information that casinos should ideally provide their players. Key aspects to consider are:

  • Return to Player (RTP) for each game: RTP can be seen as the heart of each casino game, in terms of mathematical value. It guides players to distinguish favorable games from those that are not, purely mathematically.
  • Access to game and account history: Not all casinos implement this correctly, but a feature that enables players to track their gaming history and evaluate their financial outcomes over time is highly desirable.

The casino's perspective 

Unfortunately, not all casinos are comfortable revealing information like RTP and account history, based on the belief that revealing how much players can potentially lose (RTP) or how much they've already lost or won (account history) could potentially harm their business. Accordingly, they prefer to keep such information under wraps.

Providing such information could be technically challenging for some casinos, but such obstacles should not deter them from offering ‘transparency' tools to players.

Though it's true some game providers don't disclose the RTP of their games, it's a fair assumption that casinos are aware of the RTP of most of the games they offer. The key is to share this knowledge with their players.

The player's point of view 

Though not all players are interested in knowing their account history or the RTP of the games, a significant number are. Transparency empowers them to make informed decisions about game selection and their willingness to continue playing.

Moreover, some games come with varying RTPs, reinforcing the importance of players knowing the specific RTP of the game they choose to play.

An account history log is also an effective responsible gaming tool as it allows players to track their financial gains or losses. Frequently, regular players may have sustained more losses than wins since opening their accounts, but they might not remember these details clearly and could underestimate their cumulative losses. Hence, direct access to real-time numbers is crucial.

Our standpoint 

All players are entitled to know the RTP of the games they choose to play. This information needs to be readily available and ideally reflected directly in the browser window during gameplay.

Additionally, players should have easy access to their account history to monitor their financial wins and losses.

While these guidelines are not set as industry standards yet, we urge all casinos to assimilate these principles. We look forward to witnessing an increase in casinos adopting transparency, and providing their players with comprehensive information in the future.

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