By now you have probably come across the term ‘general terms and conditions’ on numerous occasions, be at a webshop, social media or other websites and/or platforms. These general terms and conditions can be found everywhere on the internet. In addition to this, numerous organizations/ businesses use general terms and conditions, online casinos are no exception because they too are a provider of a service. Furthermore, it is a known fact that very few individuals reads the terms and conditions that the online casino sets. However, it can be of the atmost importance to read the drafted general terms and conditions, seeing as these bound parties to certain agreements. Every online casino has different terms and conditions, and they can vary greatly from casino to casino. For this reason, a few key elements of the general terms and conditions of online casinos will be presented in this article. The article will be devided into three parts. Part I of this article will present some general information about the general terms and conditions of an online casino, such as the definition of the general terms and conditions and the purpose for their drafting. Furthermore, part II will discuss the provision/clauses that can be found in the general terms and conditions of an online casino. Lastly, part III will go over what the general terms and conditions state about the promotions that the online casinos offer to players.
Part I: General information about the terms and conditions
This section of the article will present some general information about the general terms and conditions (of an online casino). The topics that will be discussed in the first part of this article are the following:
- Definition of general terms and conditions
- The purpose of the general terms and conditions
- Duty of disclosure
- Useful terms
What are general terms and conditions?
Before we dive into the different components of the general terms and conditions of online casinos, let’s first look at the definition of the term general terms and conditions in order to better understand the various components that will be discussed in this article. The general terms and conditions are a sort of contract, between an individual (the player) and an online casino.
The general terms and conditions are thus written provisions. They contain important provisions that are related to the agreement that the payer and the online casino enter into. The general terms and conditions of an online casino often include provisions about the player’s verification, the payment method and important rules that are related to the withdrawal and deposit of funds. In a later section of this article, each of these crucial clauses will be covered in more detail.
Why do online casinos draft general terms and conditions?
As previously mentioned, the general terms and conditions are a sort of contract between the player and the online casinos. The goal of the general terms and conditions is to make sure that both the casino and the player keep to the agreements. It serves thus both the interest of the online casino and the players.
The general terms and conditions give certainty. This way the provisions are much easier to enforce. This also minimizes the chance of legal disputes. The general terms and conditions also provide clarity. This ensures that both the player and the online casino know their duties, responsibility, roles and rights. Moreover, unwanted surprises can also be avoided in this manner.
The general terms and conditions bind the players and the online casino to the agreements that are stated in the terms and conditions of the online casino. For this reason, online casinos are required by law to inform the players over the applicability of these terms and conditions. After all, players must be informed that the general terms and conditions apply and must also explicitly agree to them. By ‘clicking’ the general terms and conditions box, players agree that they have read and understood the general terms and conditions and that they are also aware of their applicability.
Duty of disclosure
Useful terms to know
In this section of the article, you can find several terms that can often be found in the general terms and conditions of an online casino. With the aid of these terms, it may be easier to understand the clauses in the general terms and conditions of the online casinos.
- Verification checks – Online casinos are legally obliged to conduct a verification check. The online casinos do this in order to determine the identity of the player that signs up. For the verification checks, online casinos often make use of identity documents (such as a passports or ID cards) of the players.
- Liability – Online casinos typically inform players about their liability to them. Hereby the online casinos state for example the loses of players for which they cannot be held accountable.
- Eligibility requirements – The eligibility requirements/criteria states who is eligible for registration. For example, players need to be over the age of 18 in order to register at a certain online casino.
- Bonus terms – If a player receives a bonus offer, then the online casino has a number of set requirements (terms and conditions) that the player needs to fulfil before he/she can withdraw the winnings. These terms and conditions often set wagering requirements that must be satisfied within a specific time frame.
- Dormant accounts – Dormant accounts are accounts which have not been used in longer periods of time. (The period can differ from one casino to the other casino). For this reason, online casinos may be allowed to close off these accounts.
- Errors, Interruptions and Malfunctions – There may occasionally be technical issues/malfunctions or errors that have an impact on a certain online casino’s services. Players may typically find some examples of these in the general terms and conditions. Online casinos often refer to such incidents as “Errors,” “Interruptions,” or “Malfunctions” in their terms and conditions.
- Prohibited conduct – Prohibited conduct is behaviour/actions (of players) that the online casinos forbid. Should players engage in prohibited conduct, then the online casinos can close their account, withhold winnings and bonuses and even void relevant wagers.
- Account closure – The term account closure refers to the right of an online casino to temporarily suspend or permanently cancel the player’s account at any time.
- Confirmed wages – In order for a wager to become valid, the system of the online casino needs to first confirm that the wager has been accepted. Moreover, the online casinos need to first have received payment. This process refers to the confirmation of a wager.
- Safer gambling – Safer gambling refers to the gambling tools that are available to players, such as the deposit limit and the self- excluding (from gambling).
Part II: Provision in the general terms and conditions
In this part of the article, numerous provisions will be discussed that usually can be found in the general terms and conditions of an online casino. The topics that will be discussed in this section are the following:
- Identification requirement
- Payment methods
- Data protection
- Responsible gambling
- Local laws
- Intellectual Property Rights
Player verification (identification requirement)
Online casinos are lawfully required to verify the identity of the players who make an account at their website/app. The phrase ‘know your costumer’ (KYC) is also used to refer to the identification requirement.
The verification check needs to take please so that the online casinos can fulfil their legal obligations. In the general terms and conditions of the online casinos, the reasons for the verification check are stated. One of the reasons for conducting the verification check is to confirm that the players are over the age of 18. Furthermore, the online casinos need to confirm that certain players do not have two accounts at that specific casino. In addition to this, the verification check takes place in order to avoid money laundering.
In order to conduct the verification check, online casinos make use of different types of identification documents such as passports, ID cards, drivers licenses, address details on a formal letter (copy) and bank statements. In the Netherlands, online casinos also often make use of the so-called BSN number, the Social Security Number of a certain individual. It should not thus come as a surprise if the online casinos ask this information/documents when registering/withdrawing funds.
In the general terms and conditions of the online casinos, individuals can find out who is eligible for registration and/ or bonuses. The online casinos can impose some eligibility requirements.
One of the most common exclusion is the fact that online casino will not allow an individual to register at the online casino if they are under the age of 18. The (Dutch) law states that minors should be protected because they are especially prone to gambling addiction. Additionally, online casinos have the right to exclude residents of particular countries from signing up and playing there. Furthermore, players are not allowed to have more than one account at a certain online casino. Typically, online casinos will not even permit several accounts linked by a single shared IP address, unit, or home. This way, the online casinos try to prevent the laundering of money. However, players are allowed to have an account at different casinos (at the same time). In addition to this, online casinos can set further requirements for the promotions/bonuses that they offer. A player, for example, can be required to be over the age of 24 or to first make a deposit in order to be eligible for the bonus/promotion.
Player should therefore check the general terms and conditions in order to determine if there are certain exclusions that are applicable.
For the most part, the general terms and conditions of online casinos have a clause wherein the rules for withdrawal are stated. The withdrawing of funds is one of the most important transactions that takes place in an online casino.
When players intend to withdrawal the funds on their account, they should keep in mind the rules for withdrawal. A withdrawal can, for example, only take place if the player has gone through the verification check. In addition to this, players can be required to have a ‘real money account’, meaning that they need to have made at least one successful deposit in order for the withdrawal to take place. Moreover, in the general terms and conditions, the online casinos state the maximum and minimum withdrawal amounts. Players cannot withdraw over and/or under the set amount. Furthermore, in the general terms and conditions of the online casinos, the withdrawal requirements are stated in the caste that the player wants to withdraw funds from an active bonus. The bonus funds thus cannot be withdrawn immediately. In order for the withdrawal to take place, the player first needs to satisfy the set bonus requirements of the online casino.
In the withdrawal clause, individuals can also find additional information about the withdrawal such as the duration of the transfer and how the transfer will take place. The withdrawal usually takes place the same way that the deposit was made. Lastly, it is also advisable to check whether specific requirements apply for certain individuals that reside in other countries apart from the country in which a particular online casino is established.
When making a deposit at an online casino, players will first need to go through the ‘know your player’ procedure, whereby the online casino requires the player to identify themself with the help of identification documents/data. Furthermore, it is explained in the general terms and conditions of the online casino how players can make a deposit.
Online casinos can also set a minimum and maximum deposit amount. By setting a maximum amount, online casinos try to protect the players against excessive gambling. This is also part of their gambling addiction policy. In addition to this, online casinos also offer players the possibility to set their own deposit limit. Lastly, in the general terms and conditions, the players can read how the deposit will be processed
When playing at an online casino, players have the possibility to deposit and/or withdraw funds via a number of payment methods. However, players should go over the general terms and conditions of the online casino in order to find out whether their preferred payment method is supported. Players should also keep in mind that the winning funds (withdrawal) will be transferred to them via the same payment method that the deposit was made, as often stated in the general terms and conditions.
In the general terms and conditions of the online casinos, players can usually find a clause wherein the online casinos establish their liability. In this clause the online casinos typically inform the players for what they can and cannot be held accountable. In the liability clause, players can also read whether a certain online casino can be held accountable in the case that an error occurs. It is therefor wise for the player to read the general terms and conditions so that they know what the online casinos can and cannot be held responsible for.
Players are required to share a good amount of personal information/data with the online casinos in order to be able to play games of chance at a particular casino. For this reason, players seek assurance that their personal data is secure.
When processing data, the online casinos are required to comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In this regulation, it is stated that online casinos need a lawful reason for the processing of data. Online casinos are allowed to process data seeing as they have the consent of players, and they are also required to process the personal data of the players in order to fulfil their legal obligations. Additionally, players must be informed of the purposes for processing their personal data and the duration of data storage by online casinos.
Online casinos are lawfully required to take measures for the prevention of gambling addiction. For this reason, the online casinos often include a clause in their general terms and conditions about responsible gambling. In the clause about responsible gambling, online casinos inform players about the ‘tools’ that they offer which can help with gambling addiction. When playing at an online casino, players can for example set a loss limit, which can prevent them from losing more money than they intended. In addition to this, players can also set a deposit limit. Moreover, online casinos offer players the possibility to ‘take a break’ from gambling for a certain period of time. This can differ from casino to casino, seeing as the gambling legislation differs from country to country.
When offering online games of chance, online casinos need to comply with the local law. As a result, players from certain countries are prohibited from playing games of chance at online casinos. The online casinos also state this in their general terms and conditions. In addition to this, local laws (as is the case in the Netherlands) prohibit online casinos the awarding of promotions/bonuses to individuals younger than 24 years. Additionally, some countries require casinos to impose stricter measures in relation to their responsible gambling policy. When travelling, players should keep in mind that their favorite online casino may be unavailable to them because local law prohibit the online casino from offering their services in a particular country. In addition to this, the gaming experience might be slightly different due to the stricter gambling laws in certain countries which the online casinos need to comply with.
Intellectual Property Rights
Text, graphic, logos, audios, and software are an example of intellectual property. Seeing as this is property of the online casinos, players are prohibited from doing certain things with the intellectual property of the online casinos. Unless specifically allowed and then only for the player’s personal and non-commercial use, players are not permitted to access, print, or download any sections of the site’s content. Without the express consent of the online casino, information on the site may not be altered, shared, or displayed.
If players use the intellectual property of the casinos in a way that is prohibited, then they could face legal persecution. Players should therefore keep in mind the intellectual property rights of the online casinos that are stated in the general terms and conditions.
In some cases, players might want to file a complaint against the online casino that they play at. Players thus need to be informed about the filing of a complaint. For this reason, in the general terms and conditions, online casinos include a clause about the filing of complaints. Herein, players can read how the complaint procedure looks like at a particular casino and for which reasons the complaints can be filed. The complaint procedure may differ from eachother for residents of different countries. As a result, the complaint might take longer to process for certain residents.
Part III: Terms and Conditions for promotions
Online casinos employ promotions and/or bonuses to draw in new players, while also trying to retain and earn the loyalty of the existing players. However, just like presents, these promotions and/or bonuses always come with strings attached to them. There are always certain requirements that need to be fulfilled. So do not be fooled by the popular misconception, the promotions/bonuses that the online casinos offer are not free money. In the general terms and conditions of the online casinos, players can often find the set requirements for the promotions/bonuses that the online casinos offer. For this reason, part III of this article will present the requirements related to the promotions/bonuses that can be found in the general terms and conditions. The topics that are going to be discussed are the following:
- Wagering requirement
- Time limit
- Other limits and requirements
- Welcome/sign-up bonus
Players may choose from a variety of bonuses offered by online casinos, including sign-up bonuses, deposit bonuses, cashback bonuses, free spins, and many more. Everyone who is at least 18 years old is generally eligible to claim bonus offers as often stated in the (general) terms and conditions. Although the majority of online casinos in some countries, like the Netherlands, require players to be above 24 years old in order to receive bonuses. As previously mentioned, online casinos may also limit the bonus to a single household or IP address. A further restriction that the casino may impose is that a bonus offer may only be used only once per person. In addition to this, residents of certain countries may not be eligible for a particular bonus offer. Moreover, everybody who has an account at a certain online casino is eligible to receive bonuses. Everyone is thus theoretically eligible to receive a bonus unless the online casino has additional conditions in place, which will be stated in the terms and conditions.
When getting an online casino offer, players should keep in mind the wagering requirement that the online casinos often include in the general terms and conditions. This way, the online casinos inform the players about the wagering requirement in order for them to be able to withdraw the winning successfully.
The wagering requirements obligate players to wager their deposit and bonus amount a number of times before they can withdraw the winnings. The wagering requirements apply to all types of bonuses. Here is an example of the wagering requirement:
A player at a certain online casino deposits 100 euros and receives a 100% matching bonus. In this case, the player has 200 euros on his playing account. In order to withdraw his winnings, the player is required to wager the deposit and bonus amount 25X. This wagering requirement obligates the player to make a total of 2500 euros in wagers (wager requirement X deposit + bonus) in order to make a withdrawal. A player cannot take their winnings until the wagering requirement has been met.
This example shows that the player cannot withdraw winnings from the bonus if the wagering requirements are not fulfilled. Players should also keep in mind that the wagering requirement differ from one bonus type to the other, but also from one casino to the other.
When it comes to promotions and/or bonuses, online casinos often set a time limit within which the wagering requirement needs to be fulfilled. In some countries, there are strict rules for this time limit, seeing as it cannot be too short because it would lead to excessive gambling. Additionally, certain parts of the promotions/bonuses can have different time limits. This is something that the players should also keep in mind.
The time limit that the online casinos set is usually 30 days, in some cases the time limit can be shorter and or longer. This depends on the online casinos and the type of bonus/promotion that is offered.
In the general terms and conditions of the online casinos, players can typically read more information about the time limits that the online casino set. It should thus come as a surprise to player that the online casino will not allow them to withdraw money if they did not meet the wagering requirements within the set time limit.
Other limits and requirements
Besides the time limit online casinos may restrict players to withdrawing a maximum and/or minimum amount as previously mentioned. Should a player for example accumulate more money with the bonus than the set amount for withdrawal, then the player will only receive the maximum amount that the online casino set. In the case that the amount is lower than the minimum for withdrawal, then the online casinos can state in the general terms and conditions that they are not obligated to play that amount. This raises the possibility that players may feel taken advantage of, which ought to be sufficient motivation for them to review the general terms and conditions. This way, the players will be aware of their rights and be prepared to act should the situation demand it.
Players should also be aware that the online casinos can set additional requirements/limitations for the bonuses. One of this common requirements/limitation is the restriction of certain games. The games that are restricted do not contribute to the wagering requirements. In addition to this, the bonus offer can usually only be claimed once by one specific player, as often stated in the general terms and conditions.
Welcome/ sign-up bonus
One of the most popular bonus types that casinos offer is the welcome or sign-up bonus. For this reason, in the general terms and conditions, players can often find a clause dedicated to this popular bonus type.
As the name suggests, individuals (over a certain age) are eligible for this bonus type when they register/open an account at a particular online casino. As soon as the player registers, the online casino awards them with a welcome bonus. Online casinos frequently employ this strategy to draw in new players.
In the general term and conditions, the players can find out all about the set requirements, such as who is eligible for the bonus, the wagering requirement and within which time limits the wagering requirement must be satisfied.
Would you sign a contract without not having read it first? If the answer to this question is a resounding ’no’, then you should also consider reading the general terms and conditions of the online casino in which you are interested. When you sign up at a certain online casino, it is assumed that you have already read the general terms and conditions. Only a small percentage of people read the general terms and conditions. However, this should not be the case, seeing as the general terms and conditions are a contract between you (the player) and the online casino in which the rights and obligations of both parties are laid down. By going through the general terms and conditions, you can avoid unpleasant surprised in the future and steer clear of ‘shady’ online casinos. The general terms and conditions do, after all, represent the trustworthiness of a particular online casino.