While many sports bettors enjoy using their sportsbooks, some bettors remain dissatisfied, mainly stemming from one key feature – bonus funds. Naturally, users can get angry when they learn sportsbooks don’t release bonus funds as hard cash. From a business perspective, that makes sense for the book. Sportsbooks call their bonus currencies free site tokens because their bonuses aren’t free money. They’re credits to bettors’ accounts, and they’re meant to be used for making additional bets. It’s outlined in sportsbooks’ terms and conditions. But bettors don’t have to read the full list of terms and conditions for bonus terms. The important bonus terms are usually a click or two away from the bonus announcement.
However, an asterisk and small type below the flashy bonus isn’t always enough to tell bettors what they’re getting into. Some sportsbooks are better at clarifying the conditions than others. But bettors can gauge which sportsbooks don’t do that well through app reviews.
Why Bonus Terms Can Invoke Bettor Rage
Anyone who’s seen ads for $1,000 risk-free bets or $1,000 deposit bonuses know how tantalizing those bonuses appear. However, we’ve had enough ads thrown at us that we’ve learned to be suspicious. (Even Jordan Belfort advises against hard selling. It doesn’t work when everything seems to be an ad.) Many bettors understand that a free $1,000 is too good to be true. Many also learn that the bonuses are paid in site credits that can only be used to bet on sportsbooks.
However, some types of bonuses come with more contentious conditions than others. Risk-free bets are straightforward. If bettors lose their first wagers, the sportsbook will refund the bettor’s lost stake in site credits. The two conditions usually include a minimum set of odds the bonus will work on and always the condition of site credits. The bonus is also usually good for a bettor’s first wager only. Risk-free bets can be easy to miss, but they’re less controversial than deposit bonuses’ playthrough requirements.
Deposit bonuses sound great to bettors who don’t know about playthrough requirements. Playthrough requirements are bonus terms that require bettors to not only deposit funds but also use them to bet. For example, DraftKings’ $1,000 deposit bonus awards $1 for every $5 that bettors deposit.
However, DraftKings will only release those dollars into bettors’ accounts after they wager at least $25. So, to get the full $1,000, bettors would have to deposit $5,000, then wager $25,000. It puts a damper on the $1,000 deposit bonus, doesn’t it? But bettors will notice that DraftKings is not consumed by negative reviews.
DraftKings is clear about the bonus’ terms. The fine details are on the same page as the bonus. The terms are also written in clear language. DraftKings goes the extra step of clarifying its terms with hard numbers. Its own text says how much bettors have to deposit and wager to get the full bonus. DraftKings does a good job of preparing bettors for the realities of the deposit bonus. DraftKings’ sportsbook app also has a 4.8 on the App Store with over 200,000 reviews and few 1-3-star reviews.
However, other gaming companies botch the crucial customer education step.
Golden Nugget’s Michigan App
Golden Nugget’s app has an online casino and online sportsbook together. However, it has a different app for the three states they’re in. It also has an online casino, which dampens its reviews to begin with. One-star reviews of online casinos often include complaints about hitting big once, then not hitting again. (The idea that casino gambling can be profitable is a plague among people who should be literate enough to know better.) However, Golden Nugget’s Michigan app is rated 2.1 with 189 reviews. Most of them are one-star reviews.
And most of them are about unclear promotion terms.
The promotion in question is the deposit bonus at Golden Nugget’s online casino. It’s a $1,000 deposit bonus with a 10x playthrough requirement. (Online casino bonuses are a little different from sportsbook bonuses.) Bettors have to deposit their money, then play 10 times their deposits to get the deposit bonus. However, there’s a big difference between the text in the ad and the text in the terms and conditions.
The ad section claims that Golden Nugget will “match [bettors’] first deposit instantly, all the way to $1,000.” However, the terms and conditions are on a separate page, and they tell a different story. It’s on that page that bettors discover the 10x playthrough requirement. The issue isn’t just that the terms and conditions are on a separate page. It’s that the terms and conditions contradict the bonus description. Saying the bonus is matched instantly is at odds with the 10x playthrough requirement.
Why It’s The App’s Fault And Not Stupid Players
If you noticed my jab at casino reviewers, you may be wondering why I’m blaming Golden Nugget for its casino’s one-star reviews. First, I only ribbed people who thought casinos existed to profit them. That’s a witheringly stupid idea regardless of context. Casinos couldn’t exist if they didn’t create a house advantage for themselves.
However, bad reviews about unclear bonus terms are not a problem at every online sportsbook or online casinos. DraftKings Casino and DraftKings Sportsbook don’t have those widespread complaints. But Golden Nugget Casino made a mistake. Its bonus description and terms and conditions offer conflicting descriptions of its deposit bonus. That misleading writing is unethical, whether it’s intentional or not. It’s almost certainly unintentional, but it’s no less damaging to Golden Nugget’s reputation and the gaming industry at large.
Golden Nugget isn’t the only online gaming company to deal with this problem. But bettors should know what to look for when they’re skimming promotions. Check specific terms, not just the quick description on the page. Look for the catch. Read our Gambling 101 guides to know what to look for.