For the majority of mobile casino players, sign up bonuses are one of biggest – if not the biggest – reason that they’ll join a casino to start with. This week, however, sign up bonuses are at the centre of a new investigatory crackdown, as the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looks into dishonest and rule bending behaviour from gambling operators. While no operators have so far been named as subjects of interest in the investigation, the CMA has made it clear that it believes players are being misled and their money put at risk, and has announced a sweeping investigating into operator behaviour.
The Problem With Sign Up Bonuses
For most players, joining up to new mobile casinos and claiming the associated bonuses has only ever been a positive experience. Often, these bonuses form a fun, if not profitable, introduction to a new site. However, not every experience of new player bonuses is so universally positive. Many players have been left with a bad taste in their mouths and are feeling lied to or misled by unscrupulous gambling operators.
There are three aspects of bonus offers which players are running into problems with: what’s promised, the terms and the payout. First up, there’s the issue with the promise of the bonuses on offer; in other words, it seems that casinos are making deals seems far better than they are, offering astronomical bonuses which the terms won’t actually allow players to see. So let’s talk about those terms.
One of the biggest complaints about bonuses is that the terms and conditions for claiming them are either unclear, unstated or unfair. Firstly, casinos may attempt to make it difficult for players to access the terms and conditions and when they can, they may then obfuscate them so that players don’t fully understand what they’re agreeing to. Then, there’s the fact that they might well be just plain unfair, requiring players to wager their bonus value through hundreds of times before they can withdraw funds.
That leads onto the final complaint – that withdrawals are too hard to make. That's either because the withdrawal minimums are much higher than the original deposit, or because casinos flat out refuse to pay out.
The CMA Investigation
Because of the increasing prevalence of these aforementioned issues in online and mobile gambling, the CMA has announced that it is launching a joint investigating in unison with the UK Gambling Commission. The stated aim of the investigation is to identify the operators which are being dishonest or deceptive with their new player bonus offering, and to deal with the problem by legal means.
The hope is that – although players will still be risking their money whenever they gamble online – the work in this investigation will help put players on a much more level playing-field with operators and prevent them from being taken advantage of more in the future. The action taken in this new investigation should send a strong message to online and mobile gambling operators that if they operate outside of the law, they will be tracked down and can be prosecuted.