The online casino world is an extremely competitive environment. Up till now, one of the main marketing tools to create customer retention among operators has been to offer exciting online casino bonuses when players sign up, as well as lucrative promotions to keep players on the site.
In the early days of online casinos, bonus abuse was a lot more common. People would sign up, receive the bonus and cash it out immediately, getting money for nothing. Playthrough requirements were, therefore, an ingenious introduction to curb this type of play and have worked well to this point.
However, the UK is seeing a massive resurgence of bonus abuse, largely due to new regulations by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which are mainly geared to protect players.
How bonus abuse rings work
UK casinos have waged war against a new trend in the industry, where bonus abuse rings seem to be popping up all over the place, capitalising on a variety of weaknesses in the bonus play laws enforced by the regional regulator.
For those out of the know, bonus rings include a network of affiliated players (or a syndicate) that tour online casinos with one purpose only – to play the bonuses and leave with the wins without an intention to ever play the games again.
These characters are often prone to committing identity fraud so that they cannot be traced or effectively blocked. If one player does this now and then, a casino can deal with the losses, but when a network of players focusses on one casino bonus and they do the same thing, it can be very frustrating and the casino losses start to add up.
Weak links in the chain
This trend is largely aimed at United Kingdom casinos because new UK gambling regulations have stacked gambling laws so in favour of customer protection. This leaves the casinos feeling the effects.
The regulator is very strict on the type of wagering requirements offered on casino games, which are far lower than anywhere else in the world, making it easier to play through them and capitalise on the free cash offered with minimal fuss.
The UKGC has also ensured that players can withdrawal their real money wins at any time they choose, leaving casinos at the mercy of their players.
To top it all off, UK casinos already have to pay taxes on all promotional offers, meaning that if defrauded, the casino loses the withdrawal and the tax. It is for this reason that more and more casinos have decided to fight this sort of treatment head-on, often by removing no deposit bonuses and match deposit bonuses from their line up altogether.
Now operators concentrate more on other types of promotions to captivate their audiences, such as the offering of loyalty rewards, cashback offers on deposits, and exciting tournaments. This way, no free money can be exploited from their coffers.
The good are punished along with the bad
Most UK online casinos will agree that such regulation is in dire need of revision, as it affects not only the casino operators but ethical players alike.
It is very unfortunate to see that good UK casino gamers are now left in the lurch and must be deprived of exciting bonus material because a minority group has decided to exploit a weakness in the system.