The 9 Most Disgraceful Online Casinos and Game Providers in History
Published on November 05, 2018
Online gaming is an imperfect industry. Sometimes casinos have incidents with unhappy customers or a hiccup in their software.
It’s understandable when an internet casino has a problem here or there. But it’s how they handle these dilemmas after the fact that truly defines their operation.
Unfortunately, some online casinos and software providers have done a terrible job of admitting their mistakes and rectifying the situation. Many of these operations have even proven to be outright scammers.
Luckily, there are a number of watchdog sites that monitor these situations and help victimized players.
But even with these watchdogs looking out for gamblers, crooked online gaming operations have still pulled off scams. And what’s scary is that some of these operators are still around today.
Keep reading as I discuss 9 of internet gaming’s biggest scandals, including some that involve active casinos and software providers.
The Virtual Casino Group scammed players for years through various means. They purposely delayed withdrawals, didn’t pay some players, and had poor customer service.
Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising when considering that the owner, Tej Kohli, has a criminal history dating back to 1997. He was arrested and jailed for mail fraud after trying to bilk American property sellers.
The Virtual Casino Group, which is now owned by Ace Revenue, wasn’t just your typical scammer. Instead, they were a scary operation that allegedly beat one of their customers.
A forum user described a horrific instance where he visited the Virtual Group’s office in Costa Rica to inquire about why he wasn’t being paid. Upon leaving the office without an answer, he was followed by bodyguards, who beat him and threatened his life.
Virtual Casino Group also made the over a $100 no-deposit bonus they offered in May 2013.
One player who took advantage of this deal won $428.46 through slots. They then switched to table games, at which point their balance dropped to $99.55.
Upon looking at his account, the gambler noticed that it featured a pending withdrawal of $328.91. Customer support told him that the casino itself chose to withdraw the money.
He still had at least $99.55 to withdraw. But the player found that his account was locked when trying to log in the following day.
Some of the reasons why Virtual Group/Ace Revenue won so many prestigious awards are that they had poorly written terms and conditions, rude customer support, and numerous complaints surrounding their operation.
The company later sold their sites to Ace Revenue, which moved the operation to the Czech Republic. But the sale and new ownership doesn’t exactly provide more trust.
Following the sale, casino servers kept going down, withdrawals were even slower, and customer support reps still performed badly.
Some of the casinos owned by Ace Revenue include Cirrus, CoolCat, ClubPlayer, PalaceofChance, PrismCasino, RubySlots, and SlotsofVegas.
It’s unclear (so far) whether these gaming sites have cleaned up their act under Ace Revenue’s ownership. After all, it hasn’t been that long since the 2017 sale.
Rome Casino is one of the most infamous internet casinos of all time. They’ve been guilty of everything from running faulty games to having excruciatingly slow withdrawals.
The worst incident in Rome’s tattered history is when they were caught offering a slots game that didn’t feature crucial wild symbols.
TopGame’s Diablo 13 was missing wilds on reels 1 and 5, making it impossible for anybody to hit the jackpot.
Management claimed that they’d taken Diablo 13 offline and had TopGame fix the issue before offering the game again. This proved untrue, though, as players continue to notice the missing wild symbols.
What’s worse is that Rome never offered an explanation for the incident after they finally stopped running the faulty slots game.
At least in TopGame’s case, they issued an apology and announced that they would compensate any affected players. But as you’ll see later in this post, TopGame has had more issues beyond running bad software.
Interestingly enough, Rome and TopGame cut ties with each other after the latter demanded $2.85 million in unpaid earnings.
Once TopGame pulled their software from Rome, the shady casino temporarily shut down so that they could rebrand and find a new provider.
They’ve now become Rome VIP Casino, but the issues haven’t been completely resolved. Rome VIP continues to have slow cash-out processing, non-payment of winnings, and lacking customer service.
Amigotechs embodies everybody’s worst fear about playing rigged online casino games. This software provider has been caught not once but twice running faulty games.
The first complaint surfaced in 2011. A gambler played 922 hands of 50-line video poker and never once had a winning hand on the draw.
The odds of this happening are essentially impossible. Amigotechs claims the problem was due to a software bug and that it was promptly fixed.
But there was another report regarding Amigotechs’ software in 2015. This time, a gambler said that they never once received better than a two pair after playing 2 Ways Royal for 560 rounds.
The probability of this happening is 1 in 18,977,313,106,520,400,000,000,000,000.
In both cases, the software provider and their casino clients benefited from the software bugs. Therefore, it’s hard to trust any gaming site that’s still running Amigotechs software.
The Crystal Palace Group is easily one of the most unsavory online casino groups ever.
Owned by Warren Cloud (a.k.a. Oliver Curran), this company ripped off numerous players through non-payment and shoddy bonus deals throughout the 2000s.
The South African-based company was the frequent subject of online gaming complaints. Their customer service was downright rude, and players were lucky to see withdrawals within a few weeks — if ever.
Considering these issues, Crystal Palace certainly wasn’t above taking advantage of problem gamblers. A 2006 complaint documented how the group refused to close a gambling addict’s account upon request.
They instead began emailing him deposit bonuses and other promotions to keep him gambling and losing. The man’s wife emailed Crystal Palace at this point to convince them to close her husband’s account.
The company still refused to close his account and kept accepting his deposits. The player eventually got lucky and landed a couple of video poker royal flushes, earning $22,718 for the hands.
Rather than paying him the money, Crystal Palace locked his account and confiscated all of the winnings. Their reasoning included that his wife sent ” threatening” emails and that he’d already requested for his account to be shut down.
The company eventually fell apart when Cloud died of a heart attack while sailing his yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. Cloud, who went by multiple aliases, was just 34 years old at the time of his death.
Most of the Crystal Palace casinos were purchased by the equally notorious Virtual Group (see #1 on this list). A few of the casinos also went to Paxson Marketing Limited, a Cyprus company that also has a poor reputation.
Betsoft is one of the most popular software providers in the industry today. But their history is tainted by multiple shady incidents over the past several years.
First off, “Jason” posted a 2016 complaint online regarding a jackpot that he hit on Betsoft’s Glam Life. He landed five yacht symbols in an active payline on a $0.50-per-line wager.
Glam Life’s top prize was worth 1 million coins at the time, which translates to a $500,000 prize when accounting for the $0.50 coin. Betsoft confiscated his winnings under the banner that he wasn’t betting the $1 max coin size.
This excuse doesn’t hold any weight when considering that the jackpot is/was supposed to be available at any coin denomination. After Jason pointed this out, Betsoft switched their excuse to how the Glam Life jackpot can’t be won during free spins.
The paytable failed to mention anything about this rule at the time. Betsoft quickly changed the paytable to state that Glam Life’s jackpot cannot be won during any bonus.
Jason and Betsoft eventually settled on an undisclosed amount, and the player was forced to issue public apology as part of that.
The company lost its license with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission in 2014 for undisclosed reasons.
They were also caught running a faulty keno game in 2010. They tried rectifying the situation with an RNG report from an unknown entity, which satisfied no one.
Going back to Jason and the Glam Life jackpot, it should be noted that the casino he was playing at, Betcoin.ag, isn’t entirely innocent in the matter, either.
Jason contacted them for help when Betsoft refused to pay the jackpot. They were useless, though, and instead said that they couldn’t do anything.
Maybe this is completely true, and Betcoin has no power over Betsoft’s actions. But it doesn’t help Betcoin.ag’s case when considering that they’ve also been caught running pirated Novomatic games.
CyberRock Entertainment is notorious for cash-out delays, nonpayment, and strange terms and conditions. An example of the latter is that you can only win 10x your deposit amount if you deposit less than $250.
This means that if you were to deposit $200 and hit a jackpot worth $100,000, then you’d only be able to collect up to $2,000 (200 x 10).
Even if you were able to win the full $100k, you’d have a difficult time getting the money. CyberRock typically takes over two weeks just to process withdrawals.
Progressive jackpots are also included in the cash-out limits, thus allowing these casinos to hang onto players’ money even longer.
CyberRock Entertainment relies on predatory terms and conditions to prey on unsuspecting gamblers. It’s only when these customers go to cash out and/or win big that they realize the horrible T&Cs in place.
The people who run Rome VIP Casino (see #2 on this list) are allegedly behind CyberRock Entertainment N.V. as well.
Some of the casinos that they currently operate include 21Grand, CasinoLust, GibsonCasino, GoFishCasino, Play2Win, RockBet, SupremePlay, and VegasDays.
Euro Partners is part of a convoluted ownership group that’s listed under E-Club Limited and Universe Entertainment Services Malta Ltd.
The ownership twists all lead to Playtech, which is one of the industry’s leading software providers.
The Euro Partners Group has gained infamy for stalling withdrawal approvals, featuring small cash-out limits, and wrongly accusing players of bonus abuse.
Worst yet is that Euro Partners refused to pay millions of dollars stemming from a 2009 progressive jackpot.
“SylvieP” won $4.2 million on Playtech’s Beach Life while playing at Joyland Casino. SylvieP was disappointed to find that the T&Cs stated she could only withdraw $9,000 per month ($108k per year).
It would have taken her over 40 years to withdraw the full amount at this rate. She instead chose to accept a lesser payout worth $2.3 million after not getting anywhere with customer support.
Joyland Casino was owned by Six Digits Trading in 2009, which was associated with Playtech founder Teddy Sagi.
The Israeli-Cypriot businessman has been involved in some questionable deals, where he’s tried using investors’ cash to purchase his own holdings.
Sagi’s checkered past dates back over two decades to when he was convicted of bribery and fraud in 1996. He spent nine months in jail for the crimes and started Playtech shortly after he was released.
Netad Management (a.k.a. Affactive Casinos) was an Israeli company that ran a number of US-friendly gaming sites. Their list of violations includes low withdrawal limits, failing to pay winners, and taking three months to verify customer IDs.
The 90-day window on approving player identification was one of the biggest jokes in online gaming. They even used their slow cash-outs against customers, claiming that they couldn’t withdraw money since they hadn’t played at the casino within the past three months.
According to Bloomberg, the for fraud, identity theft, hacking, and stock market manipulation in 2015. They hacked J.P. Morgan bank and also orchestrated illegal pump-and-dump schemes with penny stocks.
The Affactive casinos went offline shortly after the owners were busted. Nobody has purchased their now-defunct casino sites to my knowledge.
While it’s good that Netad Management was effectively wiped off the face of internet gaming, many players were burned when they couldn’t withdraw their money. Of course, there was little chance of these players cashing out when Netad was in operation.
I discussed TopGame earlier and their problems with running slots without necessary wild symbols. But this is only one of the questionable moments in their history.
TopGame, which has since rebranded to Pragmatic Play, is known for low weekly cash-out limits, delays in withdrawal processing, and displaying fake credentials.
The latter includes floating trust seals from Gaming Laboratories, McAfee, and Norton — none of which were actually earned.
They also promoted an odd story that claimed a gambler named “doodlebugger21” won a gold bar (1kg) at each of their 20 online casinos. Considering that 1kg of gold was worth $18,000 at the time, the “world’s luckiest gambler” earned $360,000 through Pragmatic Play’s promotion.
In all likelihood, doodlebugger21 didn’t actually win raffles at 20 different online casinos. The prevailing wisdom is that it was a fake promotion designed to generate more interest in Pragmatic Play’s sites.
They’ve trotted out a number of different names for the parent company behind TopGame/Pragmatic Play. These names include Pragmatic Play Ltd., Engage Entertainment, Celicorp Ltd., Dalberry Technologies, TopGame Technology Dynamics, and TopGame Software Solutions Ltd.
TopGame also got into a strange dispute with Rome Casino. The latter claimed that they were extorted for $2.85 million, whereby nonpayment would result in their software being taken away.
TopGame claims that this is the amount Rome refused to pay them. Whatever the case may be, Rome eventually switched to Rival Gaming and reopened as Rome VIP Casino.
We applaud TopGame/Pragmatic for stepping up and apologizing for the Rome Casino incident mentioned in point #2. But they have too many other questionable incidents to be considered a reputable software provider.
The last thing you want to do is choose an internet casino that will steal your deposit, fail to pay winnings, and/or run rigged software. This is why it’s good to be aware of some of the biggest scandals and scams in online gaming history.
Most of the rogue casinos and companies on this list have a few things in common.
Be on guard if you find a casino that exhibits any of these characteristics. If a site doesn’t pay quick enough and is rude to their customers, then they’re likely a bad operation overall.
You also have to consider the software providers that supply casinos. I covered a few companies that have had issues with rigged games — all of which are still in business at the time of this post.
Non-payment on jackpot winnings by a provider or casino is another huge red flag. You should steer clear of any site that’s not willing to pay up when it loses to customers.
The best way to spot rogue casinos and providers is to do some research beforehand.
You’ll normally find out everything you need to know just by researching a prospective casino. Watchdogs are good about blacklisting sites that process cash-outs slowly, feature software from shady providers, and treat customers poorly.
Looking up software providers is also wise if you have the time. After all, reputable software providers normally don’t license their games to questionable casinos.
Luckily, the internet is filled with information on nearly every online casino. You’ll have more than enough resources to thoroughly investigate gaming sites and separate the good from bad.
One of the best resources you can use is right here on this site. Check out our recommended online casinos section, and you’ll find plenty of reputable and trustworthy places to play.
We only ever recommend casinos that we’re comfortable playing at ourselves, so you can rest assured that you’ll be treated in the right way.