How to Spot and Avoid Casino Bonus Scams

Dean McHugh
26 October 2023
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how-to-spot-and-avoid-bonus-scams

The iGaming world is saturated with online casinos and gambling sites, saturated enough for an average player to mix up casino names and even play at the wrong one. This, coupled with bonus codes, validity, terms and conditions, and many other complicated casino terms, make it even more difficult to avoid distractions when playing online.

Hence, some casinos exploit this situation by running subtle scams with their bonus system while posing as a reputable company to their players. In this piece, we’ll dive into the nooks and crannies of a casino bonus scam, how to detect them and expert tips to avoid falling for one.

What are Bonus Scams and How Do They Work?

A bonus scam is a dubious promotion activity a casino runs that is set strictly to make players lose their funds or misguide them.

Bonus scams come in many forms: from unresponsive customer support to unrealistic wagering requirements, etc. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not a distinct activity done by shady casinos; some reputable sites also subtly run these scams on players who aren’t paying attention.

Bonus scams can work in different ways. Sometimes, the goal is to offer such an attractive offer that players can’t resist, but hidden away in the terms and conditions are requirements that can’t be met. Other times, the casinos pretend to encounter withdrawal issues whenever a player tries to withdraw their winnings.

At UKCasino, we advise players to verify the authenticity of any casino on our review site and carefully look out for any sign that could flag these scams before signing up with a casino or claiming any bonus rewards.

Common Online Casino Bonus Scams

The best way to avoid scams is to know how it’s done. This way, you understand the process and can easily detect one. Below are some of the common bonus scams run by casinos:

Fake Offers

It’s a popular scamming tool used on online sites these days. With players always looking for the best offers, it’s easy to fall victim to this scam. A casino promotes a highly attractive bonus with complicated information. As soon as players sign up, the casino can outrightly scam them of their deposits. But this method often dents their reputation as players leave bad reviews online and report their activities.

Another method is to provide vague information about the bonus, making it difficult for any player to benefit from the offer. However, since they’d think it’s their fault for not reading or understanding the offers, they won’t leave bad reviews or report the casino, thereby keeping the scam hidden from other players.

Dubious Terms and Conditions

Like the one above, the casinos make players sign up for a bonus with dubious conditions. Many players don’t go through this bonus information as it is always bulky and complex, making this scam widespread. For example, a 100% match bonus on the first deposit, but players must meet a wagering requirement of 80x or higher, is a potential scam.

No Withdrawals or Slow Payouts

In this scheme, scam casinos offer enticing bonuses to lure players in. They may even allow you to meet the stringent wagering requirements and accumulate winnings. However, you face several issues or delays when you attempt to cash out your hard-earned money.

Scam casinos may purposely delay processing your withdrawal requests, citing various reasons such as “security checks” or “technical issues.” They might repeatedly ask for additional documentation, creating endless verification requests. In extreme cases, they may even seize your winnings, alleging violations of their terms and conditions.

However, this doesn’t always mean the site is a scam. Sometimes, even legit casinos run into technical issues that might delay the payment of your funds. You can also infringe some of the casino’s rules (e.g. creating multiple accounts in order to abuse bonus offers, cooperating with another player in poker tournaments), which can sabotage your funds as well. So, while it’s smart to look out for fake offers, you should also try to avoid breaking the rules and give the casino enough time before tagging it as a scam.

Rigged/Fake Games

Another common casino bonus scam involves rigged or fake games designed to ensure you never win, no matter how favourable the bonus offer may seem. They operate with games that often mimic popular titles but have altered odds or are programmed to produce unfair results. This means you’re unlikely to win, regardless of your skill or strategy.

Warning Signs of Casino Bonus Scams

Although they are usually masked to look normal, there are subtle signs you can look out for to easily detect a bonus scam. These can range from simply criticising the offers, trying to understand the rules involved or contemplating the rewards system. Below are some of the warning signs we recommend paying attention to:

Extravagant Offers

Imagine stumbling upon an online casino that promises you a massive amount of free money, no strings attached. It sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s because it often is. Scammers use extravagant offers, especially “no deposit” bonuses, to lure in players.

If an offer promises an enormous sum without any deposit on your part, be cautious. Check the legality of online casinos and the wagering requirements of the bonus offer. If they are extremely high, it might be a scam to make it nearly impossible for you to withdraw any winnings.

Shady Licensing

Shady licensing is a warning sign in online casinos because it indicates a lack of transparency and accountability. Legitimate online casinos typically obtain licences from recognised regulatory authorities, such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority, which enforce strict rules to protect players. When a casino lacks clear licensing information, it raises concerns about its legitimacy and commitment to fair play.

Hidden Promotion Rules

One trick scammers often use is burying terms and conditions on their websites. Legit and reputable sites provide clear and transparent terms that are easily available to visitors, so you know what you’re getting into.

Unresponsive customer support

Lastly, If you encounter unresponsive or unhelpful support, it’s a warning sign. Reliable casinos prioritise customer satisfaction and provide prompt assistance to address your concerns or answer your questions.

How to Avoid Bonus Scams at Online Casinos

Now that you’ve understood how these scams work and the easiest ways to detect them, we’ll discuss the best ways to avoid them below. Ensure you pay careful attention to tiny details, and as cliché as it might sound –try to follow your gut feelings too.

Do Proper Research on Casino Licensing and Regulation

The first and most crucial step in avoiding bonus scams is doing homework. Start by researching the online casino you’re interested in. Make sure it’s licensed and regulated by a reputable authority. A licensed casino must adhere to strict rules and regulations, ensuring fair play and player protection.

Reputable online casinos proudly display their licensing information on their websites. Consider it a red flag if you can’t find this information easily. Legit casinos want players to know they are operating legally. To make your research easier, consider using a trustworthy casino review site like UKCasino, where you can find a list of reviewed, licensed, and regulated casinos that guarantee the safety of your funds.

Check the Terms and Conditions

One common pitfall many new players fall into is not thoroughly understanding the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of bonus offers. The T&Cs contain crucial bonus information, including wagering requirements, game contributions, and withdrawal restrictions.

For instance, some bonuses may have high wagering requirements to be met before you can cash out any winnings. Also, not all games contribute equally to these requirements. Table games like blackjack may contribute less, while some games like roulette and live dealer games might not. Not being aware of these details can lead to wasting your funds.

Before accepting a bonus:

  1. Take the time to read and understand the T&Cs.
  2. Pay close attention to wagering requirements and game contributions.
  3. If you’re unsure about any terms, don’t hesitate to contact customer support for clarification.

Beware of Unrealistic Offers

It probably is if a bonus offer seems too good to be true. Scammers often use unbelievable offers to lure unsuspecting players. Be cautious of bonuses that promise enormous sums of money or extremely low wagering requirements. Legitimate casinos offer bonuses that may not seem that exciting at first, but are reasonable and achievable.

Explore Players’ Reviews and Comments

Search for reviews and ratings of the casino online. Negative feedback from players is a clear warning sign. If you find numerous complaints about delayed withdrawals or unfair bonus practices, it’s best to steer clear of that casino.

Confirm Customer Support

Before committing to an online casino or claiming any bonus, try to test its customer support service. Reach out with any questions or concerns about the bonus. This is a smart step because legit casinos provide prompt and helpful responses. If you encounter unresponsive or unhelpful support, it’s a sign that the casino may not have your best interests at heart.

Do Test Runs

Testing the waters, such as depositing small amounts initially, can also help you gauge the reliability and fairness of the casino and its bonus. It allows you to check the ease of deposit and withdrawal processes, the responsiveness of customer support, etc. So, you can minimise the risk of committing huge funds to an unverified casino.

Are Casino Bonuses Real?

Of course, many casinos offer real bonuses that are of actual benefit to players. However, this only applies to those certified, regulated and licensed to operate by reputable regulatory bodies such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and others.

Real casino bonuses are common in these verified casinos, especially those that have existed for many years. You can always claim them as long as the offer is within a reasonable range. But pay attention to playthrough requirements, validity period, eligibility status, withdrawal processes, and any other condition that can make you forfeit your bonus.

Conclusion

Gambling is entertaining when you do it at the right casino. It’s even more fun with exciting bonuses and reward systems. However, with so many casino bonuses, it’s easy to fall victim to these scams. To be safe, we recommend following the tips and guides provided in this piece.

Ensure you know what bonus scams are, what shapes they take on casinos and the best ways to avoid them. At UKCasinos.com, we work tirelessly in reviewing casino sites and bonus offers to ensure they are licensed to be safe and secure for players. We suggest you check out our reviewed casinos for easy research and get expert insights into the casino’s authenticity.

FAQs on Casino Bonus Scams

  1. Can I Trust Online Casino Platforms?

    Trustworthy and reliable online casinos exist, but practising due diligence with your licensing research and reviewing player reviews on online forums and review sites can help you fish out the shady platforms.

  2. Can Online Casinos Refuse Withdrawals?

    Sometimes, casinos may require you to meet some withdrawal conditions before you can get your funds. We recommend being patient and reaching out to the customer support agents for possible reasons and solutions. However, being refused outright without valid reasons and proper communication is a red flag.

  3. How Do I Know If An Online Casino Is Safe?

    Pay attention to important features such as clear licensing, regulatory compliance, and positive player feedback to ensure your funds and bonus winnings are safe and guaranteed.

  4. How Do Gambling Scams Work?

    The modus operandi can vary widely, but common scams involve rigged games, or fake bonuses aimed at deceiving players.

  5. How To Spot No-Deposit Casino Bonus Scams?

    The easiest way to do this is by looking for unrealistic offers with high wagering requirements or unclear terms. Once you notice any of these, then you are running into a potential scam.

Author Dean McHugh

I am a full-time Sports Betting & Casino Content Writer based in the UK. I have years of knowledge, covering a broad range of different sports. If I don’t know about it, it's not worth knowing! My favourite sports are Football, Tennis, Golf, Snooker, Cricket, Boxing and MMA. As you can tell...I love sports! I have a passion for the Casino and iGaming industry, I have worked in and around it for the best part of 20 years.