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  1. #1
    DaveL's Avatar
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    Default Cassava Powered Bingo Sites Dropping Winning Players And Withholding Prizes

    I've not seen it mentioned elsewhere here at GPWA, but I wanted to bring it to bingo related webmasters about the really shady way Cassava are behaving with players who win and withdraw their winnings.

    Basically, winning players are being banned by the Cassava security team on a regular basis, accused of bonus abuse or abusing free bingo. I was the victim of this behaviour myself, and I'm regularly being contacted by players who are being treated the same. Their accusations are at direct odds with their marketing. I would often receive emails from Foxy offering my bonus deposits. I would often take them up on it, and when I was lucky enough to win, I would take the winnings out.

    Out of the blue I was emailed and told I was abusing bonuses. There's no Ts and Cs that mention what constitutes bonus abuse, but that didn't stop the accusations, or the emails offering me deposit bonuses. It's bunk, as I've said in my coverage of this behaviour, it's like being banned from every Tesco in the country because you only buy biscuits when they're buy one get one free.

    Here's a number of complaints I've received - On that page there are 71 complaints, and a total of £83,758 of prize money that the company has tried to deny players. Here's what I say Cassava are doing:

    • Withholding prize money won fairly by UK bingo players.
    • Using spurious and undefined terms and conditions to ban players who don’t spend their winnings at the site they won them at.
    • Causing mental hurt and anguish by cutting players off from their bingo friends with no warning and no way of contacting their friends to let them know what has happened to them.
    • Encouraging problem gamblers – Cassava are not interested in players who win and take their winnings with them. They want players who once they’ve won at the site, lose all their winnings at the same site.
    • Failing to define what constitutes bonus abuse and overuse of free bingo.
    • Failing to put in place a system that stops bonus abuse by stopping reload bonuses when withdrawals are pending.
    • False advertising. Cassava sites such as Costa and Cheeky Bingo advertise themselves as free bingo sites, yet if you play to much free bingo and withdraw bingo winnings, you will be banned. They adverts also fail to mention that there is a limit to how much free bingo you can play.

    That page of complaints hasn't been updated since July, and since then I'm still regularly getting complaints about this behaviour, all of them seem unfair beyond the bounds of what other bingo companies allow.

    Given Cassava power many of the UK's biggest bingo sites, most affiliates are keeping quiet about this behaviour. I know many are aware of it. It's a real shame, because other than this black mark on them, Cassava Bingo is one of my favourite playing platforms and bingo providers. I've tried contacting a number of other people to look into this, and have made note of the behaviour across my sites. For those of you who weren't aware, it's worth warning your players about it before you send them to a Cassava powered site, as players could find themselves winning big then not being able to get their money out.

    We created an action plan for what players who are banned should do to get their money, so far it seems to work with Cassava. The one thing players never get back though is there accounts, sadly.

  2. #2
    theGman is offline Public Member
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    Default Bingo Sob Story

    Dude me thinks you need a whisky

    Causing mental hurt and anguish by cutting players off from their bingo friends
    Is this really causing you anguish ? or are you just being dramatic.

    If they shut you out they probably have a reason. It might be because of the way you play and how you take and use your bonuses. They are perfectly within their rights to ask you not to come back if they dont like the way you play.

    Their are so many advantage players in the UK - canny gamblers is another word for it , and i think you might be one of them. If you got locked out for that - well then so be it.

  3. #3
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    Lol, no, not causing me mental anguish, but it is for the players contacting me about it. As for whiskey, chance would be a fine thing.

    As for how I play, I play the same way I would in any bingo hall on the high street in the UK. I've never been banned from any of them. I've also never been banned from any other bingo site or network (because this sort of behaviour wouldn't be tolerated by white-listed approved licensing bodies - which Gibraltar is not). We all know how lacking Gibraltar is with its regulation and policing of sites like this. We also know how much 888 / Cassava would like to be brought. Banning unprofitable players seems a sneaky way of fixing the bottom line.

    They are taking people's money, then stopping their prizes. The reasons are tenuous to say the least. I played at the site I was at 4 years on and off. When I was losing my money there was no complaints. As far as I'm concerned, and the bingo players who've had this happen to them, we're all playing within the terms and conditions of the site (as there is no mention of what to avoid any where in the site's Ts and Cs.)

    Advantage players? What's wrong with that. None of us do this to lose money. If Cassava didn't want us taking advantage of offers, they shouldn't email them to us on an almost daily basis, if they don't want players taking advantage of reload bonuses, they shouldn't offer them, or at least disable them when players have pending withdrawals. All respect Gman, you're sounding more like an operator than an affiliate who cares how his players are treated.

  4. #4
    theGman is offline Public Member
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    Default Bingo Players

    I agree with you when you say if they dont want to honour it dont offer it , but i have also seen both sides of the coin and ive seen in the past what advantage players can do - particularily in the UK.

    It is impossible for Cassava to monitor everyone and everything so sometimes they do seem to be a bit heavy handed. What are they going to do - stop all promotions because a certain section of players know how to take advantage of them ? That would impact on everyone , Affiliates,players and Operator.

    Sometimes hard choices have to be made and they have made them, they have every right to say they dont want you playing at their property if they dislike the way you play. You have every right to complain re it.

    They are the only company that i know of that has an in house person to look after problem gambling - i know this as certain of my players have asked to be excluded , and were then excluded from every single one of their venues. They have won a few Social responsibility awards - i think thats what they call it.

    At the end of the day - if they are not making money they cant run an operation , just as you and other advantage players are in it for the cash - so are they . I respect your viewpoint and feel that there is a certain amount of validity in it , but you are only seeing it from your end of the woods . I have seen what the cost is of advantage players as i stated previously in the past. Luckily for me - i am now an affiliate and my bingo activities have been curtailed due to a NDA and a sale of a site. You seem to be a bingo fundi - why dont you contact the Bingo Aff managers with this gripe and see what they have to say.

    You have a valid point but i also think that they have every right to curtail the activities of ceertain players. I am pretty sure they would not do it without a good reason. Perhaps in making this decision they have got a few innocents caught up in the nets as well. Email them and appeal.

    Good luck my friend - i am all about Casino traffic these days - well for the next 19 months at least

  5. #5
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    What are they going to do - stop all promotions because a certain section of players know how to take advantage of them ?
    In my opinion, they should design promotions that they will HONOR.

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    FictionNet is offline Closed by Request
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    Not allowing winning players to return and win again is one thing (although not long-term sensible, IMO) but if they´re refusing to pay out winnings that have been won without breaking any t&c then it´s rogue, pure and simple.

    My affiliate experience with Bingo is not extensive so I´ll see what more experienced affiliates have to say.

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    lots0 is offline Former Public Member
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    Refusing payment to valid winners is a on going problem at all the Cassava( 888 ) controlled sites and has been since they opened for business.

  8. #8
    lots0 is offline Former Public Member
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    @DaveL

    You might want to consider sending your players that have not been paid over to CasinoMeister to file a Pitch a Bitch with Bryan and Max.

    Casinomeister has put these thieves at cassava on his 'approved' list (what a joke).
    So your players just might have chance of getting their money...

    It's a slim chance, but at least your players MAY get a public airing in a large and active player community of their being ripped off by Cassava.
    Last edited by lots0; 28 September 2011 at 2:20 am.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FictionNet View Post
    Not allowing winning players to return and win again is one thing (although not long-term sensible, IMO) but if they´re refusing to pay out winnings that have been won without breaking any t&c then it´s rogue, pure and simple.

    My affiliate experience with Bingo is not extensive so I´ll see what more experienced affiliates have to say.
    Sadly, it's in their terms and conditions. If they think you've abused their bonuses, they say they can withhold your winnings. Of course, they don't mention how you would be abusing their bonuses, so as a player, responding to their promotional mails for extra bonuses and the like, why would you think you're doing anything wrong? It seems as soon as someone wins a few hundred and try to take it out, they get a message banning them.

    Quote Originally Posted by lots0 View Post
    @DaveL

    You might want to consider sending your players that have not been paid over to CasinoMeister to file a Pitch a Bitch with Bryan and Max.

    Casinomeister has put these thieves at cassava on his 'approved' list (what a joke).
    So your players just might have chance of getting their money...

    It's a slim chance, but at least your players MAY get a public airing in a large and active player community of their being ripped off by Cassava.
    I've been personally telling them to follow the steps in our action plan, and in the main it seems to work. Cassava are giving these people money when they go through the steps I've told them to. I will look into Casinomeister, but as I'm mainly bingo, I've never really been over there much.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by theGman View Post
    Good luck my friend - i am all about Casino traffic these days - well for the next 19 months at least
    I'm going in other directions too, getting in early whilst I can. What have I missed, what's happening in 19 months?

    As for appeal, I emailed them constantly for weeks, responding to their points and pointing out the fact that at no point did I do anything but work with the emails they sent me, and the deposit bonuses they offered. I pointed out I had been playing for a number years at the site without issue. I pointed out I would be taking the matter further. I pointed out a lot of things, but none got me reinstated. So instead, I'm turning over money at other sites that don't find issue with my playing style. It's Cassava's loss.

    I don't see why they are so concerned about people taking money out. All the prize money I've taken out of the sites has come from the player funded prize pools anyway, so it's not like it's really affecting their bottom line anyway - the prize money is not part of their profits. What they make up banning these players, they loose in potential turnover. It's the same as why I don't see how they justify taking withdrawals from deposits on the affiliate programmes, as money withdrawn comes from the prize pool anyway.

    I have contacted affiliate managers about it, not to mention the certain high ups in a leading Cassava powered network. They basically say their hands are tied as it's Cassava doing it, not them. I wouldn't call myself a fundi at all, I just sleep better at night knowing I've tried to look out for my visitors and fellow bingo players rather than just see them as cash cows. Congrats on the sale as well, did you ever get rid of that other site we talked about before?

  12. #11
    theGman is offline Public Member
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    Default Bingo players

    I just sleep better at night knowing I've tried to look out for my visitors and fellow bingo players rather than just see them as cash cows
    I applaud your stance , im afraid that ive become a little bit more cynical and pragmatic when dealing with these massive gambling companies. I recently had Party Affiliates tell me that they moved my earnings into their Recovery fund for my security.

    I still think though that on the whole the Cassava network is by far the best for players and affiliates alike. I might be looking at the matter through rose tinted glasses though as i was in at an early stage on this particular piece of software - before 888 aquired it

    I completely understand what you are saying and hope that there can be some resolution to this issue for all concerned.I agree with the statement that you should honour what you offer. If they are not paying players and then banning them it should be an issue that is highlighted. If they are paying players and then banning them , that is their right - not nice but it is their choice.

    The site we spoke about is in a bit of a holding pattern - we reworked the whole thing and when i am able to promote bingo on a full time basis again IE in 19 months then it will probably be my mainstay. Its just sort of ticking over at the moment.

  13. #12
    Anthony-Coral is offline Former Employee of Coral
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    (because this sort of behaviour wouldn't be tolerated by white-listed approved licensing bodies - which Gibraltar is not). We all know how lacking Gibraltar is with its regulation and policing of sites like this.
    As far as I am aware, Gibraltar is White Listed for UK advertising

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeyBoy View Post
    As far as I am aware, Gibraltar is White Listed for UK advertising
    Whilst yes, that's true for advertising and indeed licensing, it's only because the UK has to accept this region (as well as Malta and Cyprus) because they are part of the EU. They don't accept them on the strength of their licensing abilities.

    The other areas that have been whitelisted, like Alderney, are there because their licensing regime is up to the standard that the UK Gambling Commission would like. Gibraltar, Cyprus and Malta are there because of their location / status in the EU.

    As a UK bingo player, the sites I see with the worst abuses, most predatory Ts and Cs, excessive bonus wagering requirements and questionable marketing claims are all based in those 3 regions. If they were based in an acceptable white listed region, they wouldn't be able to get away with most of the abuses they do.

    It is a bit like the turkey voting for Christmas, but personally I do support the UK Government's plans to only allow UK licensed sites to operate in the UK market. It will be a massacre for affiliates when it happens, but it will be the best way to ensure players get the treatment they deserve. The sooner the UK got stop automatically accepting licensing from the likes of Gibraltar and their operator focused regime, the better.

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  16. #14
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    Although Malta and Cyprus qualify as white-listed territories and have membership of the EU, the UK Gambling Commission actually opens inclusion to the white-list not on the basis of EU membership but on membership of the EEA; the European Economic Area, which is slightly different.

    For example, the EEA has more member states than the EU and includes places such as Lichtenstein.

    Gibraltar is neither a member state of the EU or the EEA so it's inclusion on the white-list for the UK must be based on something else. The Government didn't have to include Gibraltar on the basis of an existing treaty so perhaps it was on the strength of their licensing abilities

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    Why are you still choosing to push XBingo above other brands?

  19. #16
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    Because it's not Cassava and it's licensed in the Isle of Man.

  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeyBoy View Post
    Although Malta and Cyprus qualify as white-listed territories and have membership of the EU, the UK Gambling Commission actually opens inclusion to the white-list not on the basis of EU membership but on membership of the EEA; the European Economic Area, which is slightly different.

    For example, the EEA has more member states than the EU and includes places such as Lichtenstein.

    Gibraltar is neither a member state of the EU or the EEA so it's inclusion on the white-list for the UK must be based on something else. The Government didn't have to include Gibraltar on the basis of an existing treaty so perhaps it was on the strength of their licensing abilities
    Sorry, yes - I meant the EEA. EEA is for automatic licensing, thanks for correcting me. I thought Gibraltar was part of the EEA? It certainly isn't mentioned as being white-listed like the other regions so I would be interested to know why it's white-listed if it's not because it's part of the EEA.

    Gibraltar refuse to deal with sites behaving like Cassava, putting it up to the sites in disputes Ts and Cs to cover it. To me, that's not good. If UK sites were offering free bingo on TV and the web, then banning players for taking out their winnings derived from free bingo, it wouldn't fly. The Gambling Commission would have something to say about it as would the ASA. Until the GRA start acting on it then it will continue. Lots of people who contacted me have been fobbed off by the GRA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    Because it's not Cassava and it's licensed in the Isle of Man.
    My mistake, I just knew it was the same affiliate program. Good luck with Casinomeister

  23. #19
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    Default Banned, but no "reasonable" explaination.

    I am writing this as a recently "banned" member from Cassava's Costa Bingo site (banned 20/10/11). I joined the site well over a year ago as I am registered disabled and spend a lot of time online playing games (bingo, poker etc) and 99.99% of the time for free.
    I have always, ever since I first joined the site, spent AT LEAST 6 hours a day every day playing the free games, but never won much (think I won about £2 in 12 months). While playing I would be in EVERY room playing practically every game for the entire time that I was on the site. In all this time I never once received a warning, got banned or anything, and Costa wasn't the only site I did this on as I have accounts on other Cassava powered sites too.
    On 19th October 2011 I noticed that there wasn't many people in the first time depositor room so thought to hell with it, I'll credit my account and see how things go as the excitement of getting down to 1TG was getting boring.
    I credited my account with £5, getting £10 bonus. I played every game in the 24 hour free first time depositor room, played some free games, some 5p games and also bought tickets in advance for the hourly rooms. I won, in this 24 hour period, well over £150. I took out nearly half of this (about £70). I never spent ANY of the welcome bonus and also left cash in to play paid games with.
    Approximately 2 hours after the 24 hours had expired I was "timed out" and requested to log back in again. I tried but my password wouldn't work. I rang customer services who said that there was security issues with my account and that I had been sent an email and that I would need to contact the sender of the email.
    The email stated this so-called "professional" use. It stated that I had played too many free games and for this reason I was now banned from all Cassava powered sites. I would love to know how "professional" you can be trying to win £1 in a room where there are 600-800ish players!!
    I emailed them back (as this was and is the only way of making any contact with them) and explained my situation to them. I also mentioned that while I haven't been winning or credited my account they hadn't banned me, even though I had been spending considerably more time on the free games than I had in the 24 hours after crediting my account. They emailed me back with the same response and told me again that I cant use other Cassava sites.
    Since then I have been playing email tennis with them, constantly being told that they refuse to pay me anything I rightfully won from what they offered me. If I had been aware of this prior to crediting my account I wouldn't have put any money on and just continued playing the free games.
    One thing I did notice on the site was the same people winning over and over again, so guaranteed those people have probably been banned too.
    If Cassava was based in this country they wouldn't get away with it.
    If they want to limit the amount of games people are allowed to play they should have a system in place to stop people when they reach their daily limits or at least make it clearer when you sign up.
    The advertisement they sent me said "free bingo all day every day" and this is one of the things that attracted me to the site. Nowhere on that email did it state that terms and conditions apply or that gaming was limited to 3 hours per day or 120 games per week (believe me I was doing well over that when I joined up in just one day).
    I have spoken to Trading Standards and the ECC. Both have agreed that I am not in the wrong, but at the same time neither of them have any power to make them pay me. I would have to go to the small claims court to get my winnings.
    If Cassava want to ban me because of how I play I understand, that it is their choice. I just dont see why they should keep my winnings as this was only won in paid games and in the 24 hour first deposit room. I bet other players who had been in those games would be annoyed if they knew, I know I would.
    Last edited by pieman1979; 31 October 2011 at 5:02 am.

  24. #20
    FictionNet is offline Closed by Request
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    This thread is very valuable to a mostly-casino affiliate, such as myself. I don´t have much bingo traffic and only generate a handful of players each year so I haven't extensively looked into bingo sites. In the past, I´m certain I would have linked to Cassava sites and it makes me feel like poop that I have quite possibly sent a player to somewhere like this.

    This thread has ensured I will only link to non-Cassava bingo rooms.

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