The logo is hard to miss on the home pages of several on-line casinos.
“Gambling.com site of the month.”
Some casinos even go as far as to boast: “Find out why we’re consistently the top-ranked casino at Gambling.com.”
A click on the links will take the gambler to the Gambling.com Web site where a list of the top sites are ranked each month.
Members of gambling.com are given three votes each month to select the “best gambling sites on the Internet.” The Web site is one of the more popular in the on-line gambling industry.
To the newer on-line gambler, this may seem like a gold mine — a list of casinos ranked by unbiased players each month.
Many of the top-ranked casinos comp Inscrivez-Vous gamblers to cast a vote for their casino each month at Gambling.com.
For example, English Harbour casino gives its players a free $20 chip each month for voting for the casino, but only if English Harbour makes it to the top-ranked casino list at gambling.com.
The promotion has resulted in the casino being among the top-ranked routinely each month because its players vote for the casino solely to receive the free $20 chip.
Other casinos will give its voting players an even bigger chip bonus if their casino ranks among the top in the monthly vote.
Some casinos have recently taken this even further.
This month, Pinnace casinos announced that it will give its players a free $20 chip just for voting for any of its casinos listed at gambling.com – whether or not the casinos win the top ranking. Pinnace owns more than a dozen java-based casinos.
That results in $60 in free chips for players who use their three allowed votes at gambling.com to vote for the Pinnace-owned casinos. The overly zealous Pinnace went overboard with the promotion and encouraged gamblers to use multiple e-mail accounts to vote for the casino — a direct violation of gambling.com rules and grounds for disqualification.
Gambling.com does, however, encourage the practice of casino’s paying gamblers to vote at the site.
It states on their Web site: “An increasing number of websites are suggesting to their visitors that they go to Gambling.com to vote. Others are offering incentives to voters. This is most welcome.”
However, you will not find this endorsement in a visible spot on their Web page. It is not on their home page or in the directory where gamblers go to vote.
The statement is located by clicking on a link called “top sites” in their menu and then by scrolling near the bottom past their voting rules and award procedures.
No one can deny that these competitive promotions for voting are a great perk for gamblers. It’s free money to play in casinos.
There is a huge downside, however.
The casinos are buying votes.
They are purchasing a good reputation for a measly free chip.
What could be a reliable, unbiased resource for on-line gamblers is instead a ranking of casinos that have the best buy-your-vote-with-free-chips promotions.
Newer and unknowing on-line gamblers will not know the real reason that a casino may be among the top ranking because there is no disclaimer on the home page that casinos are allowed to buy votes.
The Gambling.com logos that top-ranking casinos display on their individual Web sites also do not tell gamblers the truth behind the vote.
Instead, these gamblers erroneously believe that the casinos are among Gambling.com’s top ranking each month based on other qualities, such as fairness, software, and customer service.
More recently, the buying of casino reputations has taken a new direction.
A few weeks ago, Pinnace Casinos began a promotion where it paid gamblers to post reviews of casinos at its Web site — BettorsReview.com.
Pinnace credited gamblers $10 per review. The money is credited into the gambler’s account with Pinnace casinos; one account is valid at all its on-line casinos.
The promotional offer was very attractive to gamblers, many of whom received more than $500 for their reviews at BettorsReview.com.
As many on-line gamblers realized during the promotion, they did not even need to try the casino to post a review.
Pinnace did not check to make sure the reviews were based on valid or authentic information. Pinnace did not even verify that the person writing the review even had an account at the casino he or she was reviewing.
Just a few praising lines earned $10 per review whether or not you even tried out the casino.
Again, while this is a wonderful opportunity to make easy money to gamble with at Pinnace, it creates more muddy water for new and uneducated gamblers.
What may seem like an honest review is in fact just the opposite and is based on nothing but pretty prose.
Reaping the free chip rewards of these promotions is great for gamblers in the present. It’s a quick and easy way to earn some extra chips.
But in the long run, as the competition among on-line casinos grows fiercer, it will get increasingly more difficult to determine which casinos are reliable, honest, reputable, fair and which are not.
That is a scary thought.