Some of the biggest casino resorts in the province of Ontario have reportedly given out an estimated $10 million in of the form of free house credits over the past seven years. Now, the casinos find themselves completely without reimbursement as over 600 of the gamblers given credits have walked out and let their accounts default.
When the program started in 2010, the publicly-owned casino resorts handed out free chips to individuals, and are presently dealing with an average of $17,000 in debt on each defaulted account. Owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, these casinos include Casino Niagara, Caesars Windsor, Fallsview Casino, and Casino Rama. Though they are officially under ownership by a sector of the provincial government, each casino is run by a private operator.
A representative for the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario has stated that giving away something like free house credits can create a potential issue for individuals with an excessive gambling habit. The destructive cycle that problem gamblers incur is only made worse when the debt on an account is not handled, and the player is allowed to keep trying to make up for lost funds.
Regarding land-based casinos, the inclusion of house credits for free has been a point of contention among various operators, including esteemed Las Vegas casinos, and agencies for years. While it is currently in practice with certain casinos, many other provinces and their associated venues do not approve of such a program.
When responding to the scenario, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation only said it does not know whether the defaulted accounts were direct results of individuals with problematic gambling habits abusing the program. Various experts hope that advancing technology and analyzing data in the future may help to solve the issue of lax guidelines when it comes to giving away house credits.
According to documents from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the $10 million owed will now need to be written off as a bad debt after exhausting all other options to reclaim the funds. The program has offered a total of $37 million in house credits to gamblers since it started in 2010, but this does not exactly mean that all credit was used by players. This service is also not advertised or promoted as is the case with other casino offerings.
The service is applied to players who make up approximately one percent of the total casino clientele. According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, this only accounts for an incredibly minuscule fraction of the $1.4 billion in revenue from the four casinos. Many players apply for the free house credits but do not receive them, and 59 individuals were denied credit in the previous fiscal year.
Players who receive credit under the program have 24-hour access to those funds, do not owe any interest upon reimbursement, and have as many as 30 days to pay back the balance.
However, the system leaves the door wide open for problem gamblers and can potentially hurt both parties involved.
How Do Online Casinos Handle Bonus Credits?
The online casino format offers bonus credits with certain terms and conditions attached, and they sometimes can be steep for the player. However, sites like Jackpot Paradise and other online casinos can ultimately create a better mutual exchange for both the player and the operator through the online system.
Virtually every online casino offers a welcome bonus. This promotion is available to new players only, but it can add considerable value to accessing the casino after a real money account has been created. The online casino offers bonuses anywhere from 100 to as much as 1,500 currency units at a time when a player signs up. There are certain requirements to meet, though, before the player can access these credits. Any web-based casino typically gives a new member seven days to claim the welcome bonus, after which it becomes unavailable. Players also need to wager a certain amount before they can withdraw bonus credits from the account. Wagering requirements range from 30 times the bonus to up to 60 times that amount.
Though it may seem hard to meet these requirements, players will usually not have any time constraints to do so after the bonus has been claimed. It works well to offer the player additional credits without the risk of abusing the program or leaving an account to default. High rollers are especially lucky because they can meet requirements for wagering quickly, and also be considered for VIP status where the promotional benefits become even better.
Online casinos also offer regular promotions for every member of the site, but they almost always require some form of commitment from the player’s side. Percentage matching bonuses, similar to a welcome bonus, are standard fare at online casinos and are typically offered throughout the week. However, these require a deposit from the player first and are only applied to the account when the transaction has been completed. Players may also be required to enter a promotional code for the bonus to take effect.
On the surface, welcome bonuses and promotions at the online casino can look like they drag along many obstacles with them, but in the long run, the necessary requirements create a much safer experience for the player and the casino as security is made a priority.
All players are encouraged to practice responsible gambling and seek assistance if a problem arises. Fortunately, every licensed online casino is equipped with resources to help out players who may need it. Settings on the player’s account can moderate spending, such as deposit limits or loss limits. Accounts can also be frozen for a time, as little as one week or up to many months consecutively. Online casinos also work with nonprofit organizations to create much healthier gambling habits for players and offer tools that can stop excessive gambling. Players should always check and see if an online casino is licensed and certified before making a deposit. When done right, the online casino format can offer a convenient and much more rewarding alternative to land-based venues.