Definition of Bonus Abuse
Bonus abuse is a common practice that involves exploiting marketing offers intended for new users by signing up for service multiple times. This activity is also known as promo abuse, bonus hunting, bonus whoring, casino whoring, and bonus abusing. In fraud terms, it is referred to as multi-accounting and often targets no deposit bonuses such as free spins or free cash. While this practice mostly affects sports betting, casino, and poker sites, any company that offers signup bonuses as part of its marketing campaigns may be vulnerable to it. Bonus abuse is considered unethical, and online gambling operators have implemented strict measures to prevent and detect such activities. They may also penalize players caught engaging in this practice, including account suspension or termination, and the confiscation of any winnings associated with the abuse.
How Promo Abuse Fraud Works in iGaming
The security systems used by gambling operators make it quite difficult to recognise when a single player is using multiple accounts to get more sign-up bonuses, especially the various No KYC casinos and no verification casinos, most of which are crypto casinos.
This cheating practice is quite simple and lucrative for players who resort to such casino enrichment tactics, which works the opposite for casinos, for which promotions and customer bonuses are a way to attract new customers and increase the customer base in general.
The following bonuses are commonly used to attract new players:
- First deposit bonus as well as further ones (2 to 5, in our experience)
- Sign-up bonus
- Betting bonuses
- No deposit bonus
Casinos usually invest a lot of money in bonuses, which, through fraud, can cause relatively serious losses for smaller casinos
Most typical online casino promotions
Let’s discuss the most classic types of bonuses that online casinos and betting shops use to lure new players (or try to get their existing players back):
Welcome Bonus (Sign-Up)
Welcome bonuses typically include a match deposit bonus, where the casino matches a percentage of the player’s first deposit, and sometimes subsequent deposits, up to a certain amount. For example, a casino may offer a 100% match deposit bonus up to £500. This means that if a player deposits £500, the casino will match that deposit, giving the player a total of £1000 to play with.
In addition to match deposit bonuses, welcome bonuses may also include free spins on slot machines or free bets on sports events. These bonuses can vary widely between online casinos, and it’s important for players to read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting any offer.
It’s worth noting that welcome bonuses usually come with certain wagering requirements, which means that players must wager the bonus amount a certain number of times before they can withdraw any winnings.
A reload bonus is a promotion offered to existing players by online casinos and sportsbooks. It rewards loyal players and encourages them to continue playing by providing a percentage match on their deposit, up to a certain amount. Reload bonuses may also include free spins or free bets on specific games or events. Like welcome bonuses, they often come with wagering requirements, so it’s important for players to read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting any offer.
For example, a casino might offer a 50% reload bonus up to £200. This means that if a player deposits £400, they will receive a £200 bonus, giving them a total of £600 to play with.
Free Bet Bonus (Matchplay)
A free bet, also known as a matchplay, is a type of promotion offered by online sportsbooks and casinos. It’s a bet that the operator gives to the player for free, usually as a reward for signing up or making a deposit.
A free bet can come in different forms, such as a no-deposit free bet or a matched free bet. With a no-deposit free bet, the player receives a free bet without having to make a deposit. With a matched free bet, the operator matches the player’s bet up to a certain amount.
For example, if a player receives a £50 matched free bet and places a £50 bet on a sports event, the operator will match that bet, giving the player a total of £100 to wager.
Reduced juice is a promotion offered by some online sportsbooks that reduce the commission charged on certain bets.
Percentage of Losses Recovered
Some online casinos and sportsbooks offer a promotion known as “percentage of losses recovered”. This promotion involves refunding a percentage of the player’s losses back to them.
This type of promotion can help mitigate losses and encourage players to continue using the platform.
In online gambling, reward programs may offer perks such as free bets, exclusive access to certain games or events, or even cashback on losses. The more a player uses the platform, the higher their status in the reward program, which can unlock additional benefits and rewards.
When a player refers a friend or family member to the platform, they receive a bonus such as free bets, cash bonuses, or additional loyalty points. The referred player may also receive a bonus upon signing up for an account.
How to Detect Bonus Abuse Fraud
Detecting bonus abuse fraud is an ongoing challenge for online gambling operators. However, they use various methods to identify and prevent this fraudulent activity. Here are some common methods:
- IP Address Tracking: Online gambling operators track IP addresses to detect multiple accounts created by the same person.
- Betting Patterns: Fraudulent users often place a large number of low-risk bets to meet wagering requirements or create accounts with the sole purpose of exploiting promotions.
- Account Verification: Operators may require players to verify their identity and provide documentation before allowing them to withdraw winnings.
- Manual Review: Operators may manually review accounts to detect patterns of a suspicious activity or multiple accounts linked to the same individual.
- Sophisticated Algorithms: Some operators use algorithms to detect and prevent bonus abuse fraud by analyzing betting patterns and other data.
By using a combination of these methods, online gambling operators can detect and prevent bonus abuse fraud and maintain the integrity of their platforms. Players can also help by reporting any suspicious activity they may observe while using the platform.
Preventing Bonus Abuse
Operators use a variety of ways to prevent fraud, all of which are ambiguous – they may reject players for one reason or another. Thus, dealing with cheaters is a double-edged sword for casinos and remains a topic of discussion.
Let’s discuss the most popular preventative methods that gambling platforms use:
- Limiting the number of bonuses and promotions a player can receive.
- Clearly stating the terms and conditions of bonuses and promotions.
- Using sophisticated algorithms to detect suspicious activity, such as creating multiple accounts from the same IP address or device.
- Manually checking player accounts for signs of bonus abuse.
- Educating players about responsible gambling and the consequences of engaging in fraudulent activity.
Responsible gambling can sound pretty funny to cheaters, but the most effective way here – manually checks suspicious accounts, that is what casinos usually do.
When a casino starts to “suffer”, especially from the raids of such fraudsters, who use multi-accounts and make a big score, it may go so far as to restrict access to certain countries (if the casino considers such a country not trustworthy), which, however, can be quite easily bypassed by a VPN.
How fraudsters withdraw bonuses
Scammers usually use the following techniques to withdraw bonuses from casinos:
- Collecting signup bonuses without actually playing, in order to cash them out. The withdrawal bonus is wagered, and then more and more new accounts are registered, after which the cycle repeats.
- Collusive play, where fraudsters control multiple players to defraud unsuspecting legitimate users.
- Chip dumping, where a poker player intentionally loses their chips to another player in order to affect the outcome of a hand. Pretty classic situation in online poker rooms.
- Arbitrage, where bets are placed simultaneously on different platforms to increase the winning odds. This is often referred to as an “arb” and performed by “arbers.”
The withdrawal bonus is wagered, and then more and more new accounts are registered, after which the cycle repeats.
To summarize, bonus abuse fraud is a dishonest conduct that occurs in online gambling when people take advantage of promotional offers intended for new players. It is deemed unethical, and online gaming operators have established a wide range of methods to detect and prevent bonus abuse fraud. Preventive strategies include restricting the number of bonuses and promotions a player can receive, precisely stating the terms and conditions of bonuses and promotions, and educating players about responsible gambling. While fraudsters use a variety of methods to withdraw bonuses, casinos can manually verify suspicious accounts to avoid such activity.