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The Palace group: vital bonus rules buried deep in the small print


Friday, January 08, 2010

The Palace group: vital bonus rules buried deep in the small print


The Palace Group is a long-standing group of Microgaming casinos, comprised of Spin Palace, Cabaret Club, Ruby Fortune, Mummy's Gold and Piggs Casino.

The Palace Group is among the burgeoning list of Casinomeister accredited casinos, a behemoth which includes, amongst others, the following operational standards:


• Must not confiscate winnings for vague & unclear reasons, such as "irregular playing patterns" or "bonus abuse", without specific T&C violations.

• No player shall be involuntarily placed into a situation which breaches the terms and conditions during the course of play.



Does the Palace group adhere to these laudable aims?


All casinos in the group offer a 100% sign up bonus. The terms for the Spin Palace offer are found on the terms & conditions 100% welcome bonus page, and include this little gem:


6. All withdrawals will be subject to audit by the Casino. The Casino reserves the right to reclaim the Welcome Bonus and any winnings and/or close an account in a situation of obvious abuse or fraud.



...which is basically casino-speak for "if you win with a bonus". Aside from that, these terms are fair enough, and don't present any particular problem for the player.


However, these are not the only terms applicable to the welcome bonus.


Go to the bottom of the page and click on the second link from the left, and you'll find the general terms page. It's very long, has some fairly dry titles such as "website terms of use agreement" and "Maltese Law", and doesn't seem to contain anything relevant to bonuses.


Now scroll all the way to the bottom, to the innocuously titles "other" section:


• Barred countries...

• Ineligibility of employees to gamble at the casino...

• List of casino's "reservation of rights"...


Still awake?


• Right to use winners' names for marketing...

• Declaration of limited liability...


A cup of coffee might help...


• Right of contact...

• Right to amend conditions...


Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...


However, after fully seventy three clauses of tedious drivel (I counted them all) we arrive at a clause extremely relevant to the signup bonus, and entirely missing from the bonus terms page:


18.9
Before any withdrawals are processed, your play will be reviewed for any irregular playing patterns. In the interests of fair gaming, equal, zero or low margin bets or hedge betting, shall all be considered irregular gaming for bonus play-through requirement purposes.

Other examples of irregular game play include but are not limited to, placing single bets equal to or in excess of 30% or more of the value of the bonus credited to their account until such time as the wagering requirements for that bonus have been met.

Should the Casino deem that irregular game play has occurred, the Casino reserves the right to withhold any withdrawals and/or confiscate all winnings.



This is the "Fortune Lounge clause", so named (by me) as having originated at that particular group - see my Fortune Lounge warning.

In the first place, the casino reserves the right to consider any playing style as fair game for winnings' confiscation ("...including but not limited to...").

In the second place, neither this license to confiscate, nor, in particular, the limit to wagers no greater than 30% of the total balance, is included in the promotion terms and conditions.


As such, the player may abide by the full terms and conditions of the signup bonus, yet still find himself in violation of the rules. And since the minimum deposit that may receive the bonus is $20, then a bet of just $6 would constitute this license to confiscate winnings.

In fact, taking the maximum bonus, you may never bet more than $45 without violating the rules and losing any winnings.

Surely almost all players will, at some point in their play, violate this condition unless they're aware of it?


Yet this extraordinarily restrictive and essential to know rule is not mentioned on the bonus rules page, but buried deep in the small print of the general terms - a place where no player would think to look for bonus rules, there being a whole page dedicated to them elsewhere.

How odd.


Going back to the Casinomeister rules of casino engagement:


• Must not confiscate winnings for vague & unclear reasons, such as "irregular playing patterns" or "bonus abuse", without specific T&C violations.

• No player shall be involuntarily placed into a situation which breaches the terms and conditions during the course of play.



The Palace Group appears in violation of both these requirements.


It's always encouraging to see that where the player is held to the strictest letter of the law, the casino may get away with anything.

But then, they hold the money, and may do as they please.


If and when the US government decides to reconsider the illegalisation of online gambling in their country, I wonder where the Palace Group will be in the entry queue?



3 Previous Comments


Simply unnaceptable.

By Blogger Sandracer, at 12:50 pm  


The fact that any bonus by The Palace Group is subject to a 30x play through rule is also hidden in their t's and c's. You are also not allowed to withdraw any funds if you have had a bonus credited until such times as you have met this requirement.

Reality then - you deposit $100 and get a bonus of $100 you must play through that bonus 30 times (i.e. minimum of $3000 of bets dependent on game) before you can withdraw any funds including your original deposit !!

Quick math but based on an average payout of 96.4% (their quoted slots payout percentage)this means that by the time you have fulfilled the bonus requirement you will probably only have around $96 of your original $100 - great bonus eh ?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:50 pm  


The 30X playthrough is clearly listed near the top of the page I linked to above - I haven't checked all the others, but I assume they're the same.

Yes indeed, at 4% house edge the bonus is worthless, other than as an extention of play time for the recreational, as opposed to bonus-focussed, gambler.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 11:43 pm  


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