Thursday, May 31, 2012

Casino RTP Is Really Freaking Important

RTP stands for Return To Player and is one of the standard concepts in casino gaming. Basically, it determines the percentage of money put in to the game that is then returned to the player over a period of game play.

So for example, if I start a game with $100 and play some number of games, if the game has an RTP of 99%, I would expect to have $99. If the RTP was 95%, I'd expect $95, and so on.

A line that you will hear frequently, if you spend any time researching RTP, is that RTP is practically unimportant. There are MANY more important elements to a game than just RTP, these people will say. That is correct. Most of the things about which the player cares are not associated with the RTP of the game. And that is exactly why these people are full of shit.

RTP has nothing to do with any other element of the game, which means that the best games are designed, and then have the best possible RTP applied to them. When these people try to redirect your attention away from RTP, they are essentially saying "pay no attention to the math behind the curtain."

Of all of the mathematically quantifiable elements of a game, RTP is the most important. It is what determines how long you will play. It doesn't help you determine if you will be one of the BIG winners or not, but there really isn't anything that will tell you that. For the purposes of this article, we will be assuming that your play will follow the mathematically probable trajectory of a slow, downward curve.


This chart is a gross approximation, but it's not far off the mark. Your play would see fluctuations up and down around that trend line, and the magnitude of these fluctuations is generally referred to as volatility or variance. But the important part is that the behavior may jump around, but it always follows the trend line. And over a significant amount of time, a mere 1% difference in RTP can have a large effect on overall play time.


Again, this chart is pretty gross in its approximations, but it gets the point across. The volatility is the "ride" on which the machine takes you, but over time, the end-point is going to, with a high degree of probability, be similar. This is why the RTP matters. No matter what anyone tells you, RTP matters.You want a machine with the highest RTP that you can get.

These people's argument is also made void and just plain stupid because implied in it is the assertion that the slot is in fact a good slot. RTP takes a large sample size of games to make its effects absolutely felt. And if the slot is in fact good, you will be playing it frequently. If you play the game frequently, it won't take you very long until you reach a game count that conforms to the RTP.

Thus, a good slot can not only have any RTP within reason, a good slot is even more affected by RTP than a bad slot because players will so easily hit a large number of games. So when players demand a high RTP, saying that RTP doesn't matter is like saying "don't worry about the calories in this cake, because cake doesn't determine your weight." Yeah. It's true. But if you really like cake, you're going to get pretty fat. On the other hand, I don't care how many calories are in mud, because I'm never going to eat it. The more delicious the cake, the more important calories become.

Of course, these people are pulling this trick to hide the fact that their RTP's are in all likelihood terrible. Online gamblers are not dumb. In fact, if a recent study by Nottingham Trent University is any indication, online gamblers are incredibly well-informed. That means that they would compare RTP's between casinos, thus applying free-market, downward pressure on prices. Casinos don't want this, so they hide their RTP's.

This is why my #1 and #2 casinos are who they are. Both Pinnacle/Galewind and Net Entertainment provide RTP's. Galewind does one better and provides fully documented RTP auditing results. My #3 casino does not provide RTP's, and I suspect that they aren't very good. Still, I felt the need to include at least one US-facing casino on my list.

IGT, whose clients include big names like Virgin and Mr Green, sort of provides RTP's, but there are some serious issues with them which I will be discussing in another post.

Playtech, Microgaming, and Real Time Gaming do not provide any RTP data. That's bad. And if the complaint data available at places like Gambling Grumbles and Casinomeister are any indication, these three companies are truly the giant, pus-filled zits on the ass of online gaming. With complaint numbers are off the charts, and them having never even made motions toward releasing their RTP data, one is left to conclude their RTP numbers are awful and likely hidden with very high volatility. I would not be surprised to learn that their RTP's are below 90%.

I would never be caught dead at a casino running Playtech, Microgaming, or RTG.

Excellent RTP's are one of the big reasons why I only ever play at Pinnacle and Net Entertainment. They both offer 9-to-1 on Baccarat's Tie bet. Their video pokers are all good, with Pinnacle's being fantastic. Pinnacle's slots are all over 97%, and most of Net Entertainment's slots are around 96%. Indeed, these are the way ALL online casinos should be.

Only a maniac would play a casino with low RTP's, and since you're not a maniac, I recommend going to one of these two casinos.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Terms & Conditions (T&C's) Are Absolute Hogwash

As many of you probably know, almost all online casinos have a massive "legal" document nestled away somewhere on the site that are the "terms and conditions" of using the site. To be fair, most websites have something similar, and most software has something called the End User License Agreement, or EULA.

I put the word legal in quotes above because while the T&C's present themselves as being some legally binding, legitimate document, they are not. In fact, in the few times EULA's and T&C's have made it to the courts, the company involved either settles, or the judge has ruled against them.


No, the only purpose of T&C's is to provide some semblance of legitimacy to an operation that can essentially do whatever the hell it wants. Most of the players are in countries other than the one in which the casino is incorporated. And even if the player is down the road from the casino, the laws in these countries are, conveniently, so lax as to make successful cases difficult. Truly, a player has no legal recourse.

That is the reality. You have no defense. As such, the advice that I have is to ignore the T&C's of any casino. Because it doesn't actually matter what is in the T&C's, the casino can and will do whatever it wants. If it wants to take your money, it will simply find language within its T&C's to make this action seem legitimate. That is the primary reason for the existence of Robot Exclusion rules. Robots cannot be proven, which is why they are used as the ultimate weapon to take whatever the hell the casino wants.

This is not meant to say that all casinos will eventually do this. Many casinos are, I'm sure, upstanding companies that just want to sell online games. The problem is that even these casinos have T&C's that are not truly legal documents, and they are frequently loaded with sometimes-arbitrary rules and regulations, many of which could be exploited for nefarious purposes.

My advice is to simply ignore the T&C's. Take the casino at face value (accept a one-time bonus once, play games as you would in a real casino, etc.) and simply hope that if you win big, the casino doesn't decide to just take your money.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I Am Anti-Casino

I ripped this from posts on Casinomeister, an online casino message board.

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My earlier post brought up some issues that I want to address more directly. Again, this is half catharsis and half-activism. Also, I want to further affirm that I am not some tin-foil-hat loon.

Pro-Player/Anti-Casino language

I should have better explained my choice of these words, since people read too far into what I was saying.


  • I do think that believing the T&C's to be righteous, and thus defending them, is anti-player, even when the person doing the defending is a player him/herself.
  • These terms defy casino logic, and I do not blame anyone who is taken in by them.
  • Information available from the PAB history reveals an industry that has a long history of confusing its users. I believe that this evinces major problems with the psychology of the online casino world.

I hope to fully explain my feelings with the following information.

T&C's Are Anti-Player

Did anyone else see the episode of South Park where Steve Jobs creates the Human CentiPad? That no one actually reads the T&C's is the running gag of the entire show. In the T&C's of Apple products, in this episode, the user gives permission to be kidnapped, imprisoned, and have their mouth sewn onto the rump of another person. The joke is that the condition being there makes it copacetic and everyone agrees that it is completely fine.

Do you read the legal declaration before clicking “I Accept” before EVERY web page you load? How about every new program that you install? I click “I accept” all the time without reading the terms because they operate on logic that one would expect: do not copy, not liable for damages, etc. If they tried to break the logic of the terms, such as saying that I give up ownership of my computer if I use their website, there would be an outcry and it would not be ruled legal.

Even if the terms are explicitly and boldly stated, I still don't completely blame the users. The terms fly in the face of casino logic. It becomes the logic of a company that is selling bonuses, not casino games. And people unfamiliar with this bizarre bonus world would not understand that. They think that a casino takes bets and pays out winnings, and that's how things work.

To use car dealers as an example again, I would never get angry at someone who went to a dealership, bought a car for a great price, then discovered that the car had no engine. It would not matter that this little proviso was included in the papers, because no one would ever expect a car to be sold without an engine. And if this ever happened, newspapers, television, message boards, and blogs would be alight with the controversy. The practice would not be allowed to continue.

To illustrate my feelings, I looked over MaxD's annual PAB lists, which are ENORMOUSLY helpful. I wish I had found them before making my first post on this subject.

2011:
processable PAB's: 200
Rejected for T&C violations: 52
Percentage of all complaints: 26%


By far the largest chunk of violations that boot people from a viable PAB are violations of terms and conditions that don't even need to be there. If there was any other industry on Earth where fully 25% of dissatisfaction comes from customer confusion, thus resulting in deprivation of goods to the customer, there would be Senate hearings.

2010: 229/55/24%
2009: 270/49/18%*
2008: 281/32/11%*
2007: NA


* Data classification isn't explicit. I assumed the classification based on later PAB summaries.

We are, in fact, seeing a climb in both the real number and the percentage of claims that are rejected for likely T&C violations. We are left to wonder how many of the complainants who go AWOL do so because they come here, complain, and then read all of the information here illuminating their situation to be hopeless, so they simply abandon.

In these data, we also find the number of cases that resulted in payment to the player.

2011:
Total number of cases: 200
Cases paid: 61
Percentage: 31%


So in this first year, of all processable complaints, 57% were either legitimate or associated with T&C confusion. Those are miserable numbers.

2010: 229/76/33%
2009: 270/98/36%
2008: 281/131/47%


For all years, if you combine the T&C violations with the number of legitimate complaints, it exceeds 50% of all processable PAB's.

This is the mark of an industry that is not consumer-oriented. In fact, it is the mark of an industry oriented against the consumer. If the industry was regulated, every homepage that you visit where they have a massive “100 EURO WELCOME BONUS!” there would be a little star next to that claim referencing some text right underneath which would say “With 30X wager requirement. Deposit locked until completion. Many more limitations apply. Click to read further.” And that would be a link to a full, clear, absolute adumbration of all restrictions.

(As I've said, I am not calling for regulation. It is impossible. But this is how things would work if the industry was regulated.)

For example, anyone who has ever been to the United States knows that it is the only Western nation that allows prescription drugs to be advertised directly to the public on television and in print. The righteousness of that not withstanding, there are severe limitations on this practice.

If television ads on TV mention what the drug does, they then have to list all of the most common side-effects. The drug companies obviously do not want to do this, which is why when new drugs are released, for the first six months, they will not even tell you what the drug does in the ads. They only say “ask your doctor about it!” (I imagine a man walking into a doctor's office and asking about a drug from ovarian cysts.)

That is because companies like to keep their customers confused. It prevents true comparison shopping. It prevents informed decisions. And in the absence of good information, many people are wont to assume that things will work as they expect them to. They expect things to be alright, because most people in the Western world as accustomed to regulations that prevent outright scams. Everything will be fine, they think.

I think that my aforementioned anti-casino “bent” is well called for. Vinyl Weatherman described himself as being of the “innocent until proven guilty” perspective, and I think that is right-on. But unless the “guilty” verdict is not confirmed to be outright fraud, I will not blame the player. I will default to blaming the casino.

I do not want to give the impression that I am grinding an axe. I have never encountered any problems with bonuses or otherwise. I go. I play. It all works as I expect it to. But I credit that to my discovery of Casinomeister so early on in my gaming career. If I hadn't, I might very well be the same boat as many people who accept a bonus, decide they don't want to play anymore, and discover that they are locked. Or they win big, and discover that they have violated some element of the T&C's in their choice of game or size of bet.

Perhaps this is because I am relatively new to online gaming, but I feel very strongly that I could be in the shoes of these people. I would be incensed if I hit it big, only to discover that it violated some terms I never expected.

I don't mean that to imply that people here are unfeeling or unsympathetic. I do not want to make people here feel bad for their frustration. I'm very aware that the people here have been dealing with this nonsense for years and years and years, and while the dancers may change, the music is the same.

What I argue is that the frustration is aimed at the wrong target. Do not target people who are taking “advantage” of bonuses, target the fact that the bonuses exist at all, or at least as they are currently designed. Target the bad business of the casino industry.

What About Fraud?

2011:
Fraud: 12
Warning issued/rogued: 17


Again, here we have the two extremes. We have players who turned out to be scammers and casinos who were so bad as to get warned or rogued. The casino count exceeds the player infraction count. This state of affairs is the same for every year for which data is available save for 2008.

2010: 13/33
2009: 31/37
2008: 29/27

Jan 07: 1/7
Feb 07: 2/2
Mar 07: 6/14
Apr 07: 1/5
May 07: 0/4
June 07: 0/1
July 07: 0/0
Aug 07: 1/1
Sept 07: 0/5
Oct 07: 1/0
Nov 07: NA
Dec 07: 0/1
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2007 total: 12/40


Every year, and nearly every month, has the number of rogues be higher than the number of truly fraudulent players. I do not attempt to defend the players, but the casinos are also indefensible. If there was any other industry with this level of corruption, there would be Senate hearings. We can assume that many fraudsters do not come and helpfully report their fraud to CM, but we can likewise assume that many people who are scammed by casinos never come to CM to tell their story.

True fraud on the part of the casino only further cements my belief that the majority of blame lies at the feet of the casinos and the game makers, both for their marketing practices, but also for the industry that they foment and encourage.

An upstanding game maker would not allow this to happen. “Rogue” casinos would not exist. Every client would receive extensive vetting before being allowed to go forward. Rogue casinos would be shut down by the game makers. Instead, we have big boys like RTG and Microgaming almost always claiming the 1-2 spots in the annual list of complaints.

2011: 200 complaints
RTG: 42 complaints/ 21% of total cases
Playtech: 36/18%
Microgaming: 28/14%

2010: 229 complaints
RTG: 54/24%
Microgaming: 35/15%
Rival: 28/12%

2009: 270 complaints
Microgaming: 76/29%
RTG: 37/14%
Proprietary: 19/7%

2008: 281 complaints
Microgaming: 59/21%
RTG: 53/19%
Proprietary: 29/10%


In all cases, the top three account for 50% or more of all complaints. I'm glad to see that they are working hard to keep their brand reputation up.

It could be argued that this would be expected, since Microgaming and RTG are both very large. But NetEnt is very large, as is IGT, and neither of them register very high on this list. And in any other industry, the biggest guys are expected to be the best, not the worst.

Rogues-

2007:
RTG: 16
Microgaming: 5

2008:
RTG: 5
Microgaming: 1

2009:
RTG: 2
Microgaming: 4

2010:
RTG: 5
Microgaming: 0

2011:
RTG: 2
Microgaming: 0


Playtech and the variety of crappy little nobody companies that you expect to fill up a complaint list round out the data. Rival also explodes onto the scene in 2010, but I'm primarily interested in the two big boys.

Their numbers drop off significantly, but that is only new rogues. For many months, a large number of PAB's come in against Microgaming and RTG that were simply against already rogued or NCD casinos. Again, I do not think this has anything to do with their size. For example, NetEnt is very large, but it only has two warnings to its name since the data start.

Demand And Ye Shall Receive

I don't demand more of Casinomeister. It has no official power and is limited in what it can do. And any customers who come with complaints should certainly not expect the world from it. In fact, the job that Casinomeister is doing is nothing short of amazing.

What I do want is the position that I have taken, an anti-casino “bent,” to not be seen as irrational. It's not. I actually think that it is well-supported by the evidence.

I understand that it isn't an intellectually perfect proposition to gauge the quality of an entire industry based on complaints. If we did that, all industries would be unhealthy. But it is statistically sound to gauge the industry based on the makeup of the data, and here, the number of complaints would be halved if T&C's and bonuses were either rejiggered to not be stupid, or simply eliminated, thus allowing casinos to operate as, I dunno', casinos.

Likewise, the number of rogue complaints would be cut significantly if major players like RTG and Microgaming gave a crap about their customers and shut down casinos that didn't abide by rules of good conduct. If they don't demand it, we should.

So, yes. I demand perfection. Casinos that provide will get my money. Casinos that maintain their reputation will receive my kudos and my recommendations. Casinos that do not will receive nothing but scorn and as many bad words as I can conjure.

While I understand that MaxD's ICE report only revealed some casinos to maintain virulently anti-player sentiments, that still means “greater than none.” And as long as that is true, I shall respond in kind.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My #1 Pick: Galewind Casino


UPDATE 12/5/2013: Pinnacle has lost one of the primary reasons for its award: Galewind Software's casino. Without it, and especially with the shady operation with which they have joined forces, Pinnacle is no longer a viable option for anyone seeking online casino gaming. Sad.

Is it absurd to recommend a casino where you can't play for money on an online gambling website? No. The Wizard of Odds does it. Pretty much every mathematician out there does it. Gambling is a losing bet, unless you see yourself as buying entertainment. There are many problems with gambling, it must be admitted. It can be addictive, it tears at the fabrics of society, and any number of other problems.

But it is entertaining.

As such, listing my #1 casino as a place where you cannot win money negates the possibility of some of this entertainment. But until Galewind's product finds its way into another sportsbook or casino company, for me, this is the way it's got to be.

Galewind is the only company out there with a sterling reputation. That is a big deal for me. After the blow-up with Spielo/G2 and the colossal Gtech, I'm beginning to feel that no one in the online gambling world is on the up-and-up. The only company that even comes close is Galewind. I can only assume that this is the reason why they ran on a single company and the one time they tried to open another casino, they had to shut it down and pay a player what they were owed.

The industry is corrupt as the day is long.

So until the day when Galewind has another casino, go to their website, www.galewindsoftware.ca, and play their free casino.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My #2 Pick: Nordicbet


Well this is pointless now. NordicBet is gone, gone, gone. No more access for anyone outside of the Scandinavian countries. This is getting stupid. The entire industry is becoming so focused on small, scattered casinos that I swear it's going to collapse. All of the big boys who at least put on a show of being upstanding are shutting down, shrinking, or restricting themselves to specific countries.

I blame the United States. I don't know how, specifically, but things are usually their fault.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My #3 Pick: 3Dice

3Dice is a small casino running proprietary software, but they have an excellent reputation. They have the usual collection of ridiculous terms and conditions, and even though they do not provide RTP data for all of their games, they do provide RTP-ish data for game families. Some is better than nothing.

I mentioned in my Pinnacle review how much I appreciated the frequent presence of Galewind's president in online forums. While I can't say the same for 3Dice as regards degree of participation, I can say that they are still frequently available at Casinomeister. Their president is informed, nice, and overall a solid example of a casino owner. Likewise, 3Dice's customer service is famous for being very good. If only they were more quantitatively upstanding, I would find them to be much better.

Unfortunately, the renowned quality of their customer services is bad in two ways. First, it means that customer service is called upon frequently, indicating buggy software. Again, many people who deal with Playtech and Microgaming casinos seem accustomed and completely willing to accept an awful user experience, so their primary means of measuring a casino's quality has nothing to do with actual quality, but on how the casinos handle the inevitable software failure.

Second, 3Dice caters heavily to the low-rolling slot demographic, which is the demographic most likely to call customer service in the first place. It's an old adage in business that 90% of the problems are caused by 10% of the customers. That means that 3Dice is being forced to expend significant resources on a demographic that is earning them relatively little profit. The only way to pay for this expenditure is to have low RTPs, which explains why 3Dice doesn't release those numbers: they suck.

The primary reason for my recommendation is that 3Dice is U.S.-facing. The UIGEA has reduced the selection of online casinos available to U.S. consumers to only the worst, most untrustworthy operations. 3Dice may not be ideal, but they do seem trustworthy. Basically, in the U.S., you take what you can get, and in that sense, 3Dice ain't bad at all.

They are a download product, which means that I would personally never use it. But if you have no worries about your computer, either because you don't mind reinstalling Windows in case of total failure or because you are masochistic, you may want to try them. I don't mean this to say that your computer will explode, only that download casinos don't have the best reputations (an understatement), and because of that, I avoid all of them.

The games themselves are decently attractive. Net Entertainment's games still hold the crown for prettiest games hands down, but 3Dice's newest selection is good. As with so many online software packages though, the flow of the games sometimes sucks. This is a hard characteristic for me to quantify in words, but I hope that you get the picture when I say flow. In Galewind's casino, I can play blackjack at five seconds per game, maybe less, if I'm feeling energetic. That would be impossible at 3Dice.

Overall, if you don't mind download casinos, and you're desperate for a good casino in America, then 3Dice may be the casino for you. My recommendation would be to perhaps try them, but I still think your ultimate goal should instead be to set up a proxy server or some other workaround to play at casinos that are not currently US-facing. Obviously, my first choices are Nordicbet and Pinnacle Sports, but the UK has a few respectable casinos with big names.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why You Should Avoid Bonuses

Bonuses are, by and large, awful. They exist because affiliates like to tout bonuses, specifically sign-up bonuses, and as we discussed, affiliates control much of the industry's direction. Affiliates like ridiculous sign-up bonuses because they sell well. People are likely to click on those links. And since affiliates earn their money from the profits of a casino, they are going to focus on the casinos that will generate the most links.

Almost maliciously, they also like those massive sign-up bonuses because the casinos are then set up to make it highly likely that the player will lose everything, because with the casinos losing 50% or more of their profits to the affiliate, it's the only way that they can stay in business. Thus, the profit from that player is 100%, and the affiliate makes lots of money.

In one sense, you can't completely blame either the affiliates or the casinos. This situation evolved organically as a give-and-take between casinos and customers. Truly, Online Casinos have the same fundamental needs as any other business. They need to attract new customers and retain existing ones. The problem arose in the way these two ends eventually grew to be met.

1. You need large Sign Up Bonuses (SUB) to attract new customers.

2. You need to provide continuing bonuses to retain existing customers.

This situation gave rise to a number of consequences, all economically expected.

a. People will try to create multiple accounts to take advantage of a large SUB.

b. People will make a purchase only if it is associated with a large bonus.

c. If possible, people will use a "robot" to grind their way through a bonus's Wager Requirement (WR).

d. The Casino needs additional overhead to track, accommodate, and prevent a, b and c, while also covering their base costs and the costs associated with affiliates.

e. The Casino needs to make additions to both their General Terms & Conditions and their Bonus Terms & Conditions to specifically address a, b and c. Thus we have terms like “bonus abuse” and “spirit of the bonus” or “spirit of the offer.”

Because bonuses are a "loss leader", a Casino needs to get that money back from somewhere else. One place to do this is with the slots. So, they drop their slot RTP. Not surprisingly, for most, if not all, casino bonuses, the only games that count 100% toward the wager requirement are slots. Because they've been "rigged" to essentially guarantee that the casino will not lose.

Another place to do this is with the Bonus Terms & Conditions. In them, casinos advertise large Sign Up Bonuses, but place severe restrictions on actually receiving that bonus, like a 50X Wager Requirement, game play limited to certain games, follow-up purchase requirements, and other similar mechanisms.

If you haven't already figured it out, this is a terribly untenable business model. And while you can't blame them for evolving into this situation, you can blame them for the maintenance of it. Everyone involved can be rightly blamed because the system as-is means that the vast majority of players are one-time customers who show up, lose it all, and never return.

This is awful for everyone but the affiliates, since they earned some money from that person, and the affiliate is vacuuming up new people every day. For the casino, it's a catastrophe. Eventually, they will have generated a lot of bad will, the click numbers drop, and affiliates remove them from the listings.

This is why we have casino's that go out of business like health food stores in Mississippi. Likewise, it's also why we have casinos that “rebrand” themselves every year or maintain a dozen different names. It's the only way to reset their reputation: simply not have one. And since all of the customers are one-time players from affiliates, there's no motivation to actually make a better product.

Indeed, the casino/affiliate/bonus system is strangling the industry.

But in the face of such intransigent stupidity, what can you, the player, do?

The best way to play at an online casino is as a casino. You go there to play some games and hopefully end up on the winning end of the math that underlies the entire endeavor. Casinos that focus on bonuses have stopped being casinos. They have become a store that sells bonuses. Needless to say, this has turned the world of online casinos into an ever-escalating battle between people who want to manipulate bonuses and those who write the increasingly-obtuse terms & conditions meant to stop them.

Not only do you not want to accept bonuses for practical reasons, you don't even want to patronize casinos that implement bonuses. Why? Because if a casino has a bonus, chances are the RTP's on the games, usually slots, are very low.

If the RTP's are published, you at least know what the playing field is, but then you must face wager requirements of as high as seventy-times your deposit plus your bonus. That means that if you deposit $100 and get a $100 bonus, you would need to wager $14,000 dollars before your money becomes unlocked and you can withdraw it.

If you play at a casino as a casino, generally, casino logic holds sway. It works exactly as you would expect it to work. You go in, place a bet, and see what happens. Accepting bonuses breaks this system, and I, for one, am not interested in breaking games that I enjoy.

All of this is not meant to decry bonuses of any sort, only the ones that are given before activity happens. Many casinos offer post-play bonuses, and this is the same at brick-&-mortar casinos. I live near Foxwoods Casino, the largest in the world, and you accumulate bonus dollars for ever dollar gambled. These can be traded in for more chips, food, accommodations: anything. If online casinos have a similar system of compensation for loyalty, that is good business.

Unfortunately, few casinos do this. Most rely on big, up-front bonuses. And that is only making the industry worse. You need to patronize casinos that don't do this, because they are our only hope for making the industry better.