Reddit ser DjPxH recently took to the Bitcoin subreddit to complain that digital casino BitStarz, a regulated entity of the Caribbean island Curacao, was withholding a recent sizeable win of around 5 BTC he had achieved.
DjPxH wrote in distress:
I don’t mind providing address, bill utility (as I already did), bank account statement, but they are asking me for credit card proofs of deposits done in over 1 year (which I threw out as they were prepaid, or with old bank accounts…) (I made about 5 deposits (2 CAD, 1 USD and 2 EURO and these were made months and years ago). I was not asked for any proofs until I won today… Now BitStarz refuses to pay, states their ToS, when it’s literally fraud. If my account was such a problem, why would they have been accepting my deposit for the last year and approved all of the minors payments I receive.
The post received a lot of attention. Various users warned against the use of this casino, citing their Bitcointalk trust reputation, where many people have had issues with it. One user even claimed to have been bilked out of 20 bitcoins. However, Bitstarz itself also paid the post a great deal of attention, and repeatedly stated that it was trying to stick with regulatory requirements in its jurisdiction. A representative from the company told DjPxH:
All we need to make sure here is that no stolen card has been used, and you’re of course free to mask the first 12 numbers of the card if you feel uncomfortable showing all the numbers (which we totally understand).
I’m not going to discuss publicly (for your own safety as I’m not going to out your private information online) why we came to this conclusion as I believe you’d like to hear this in private instead of it being posted on a forum. But in general terms I have no problem explaining why a casino ask for proof of deposits and a copy of your card.
I’m just putting all the facts out from our end as well and then you and other people here can make an educated decision as to if it’s reasonable or not, but I’m simply telling you the obligations of us as an operator.
Overall, there seemed to be confusion amongst Reddit users as to why the company was demanding proof of verification for a credit card the user hasn’t used in quite some time. The representative continually repeated that the company is bound by local licensing laws to get certain information. Interestingly, the representative said that Curacao does not require the casino to gather any know-your-customer information before a deposit is made, but only when trying to pay out winnings.
Given all the negative things that are said about the casino on Reddit and elsewhere, it is questionable how the outcome would have gone had the user not reached out and pressured them. After all, paying out $3,000 is nothing compared to losing hundreds of potential new users forever. Thus, the result is that DjPxH was paid within 24 hours of making his post. He notes that he did make verification documents available, which seems to be the source of the confusion from the first.
Another post in the thread also raises concerns for potential BitStarz gamblers. User Mikadilly said that he played there in good faith, believing he’d done everything right, but then his winnings were withheld due to an obscure part of the casino’s terms of service:
Had kind of similar experience as well. Won 6 btc using their bonus. Made a 40x rollover requirement. Tried to withdraw – all my winnings were confiscated, because I bet more than 0.025 per spin. Which is in their terms and conditions. But still – unethical business practice.
This raises concerns on more than one level. The author is an experienced gambler both online and in real life, and the rules of any good casino are always clear and up front. As one commenter said, a digital casino should obviously not even allow behavior which would disqualify a cashout. It’s only going to lead to lingering posts like Mikadily’s. Imagine going to the racetrack and placing a $1,000 bet on a 7-to-1 horse, winning, but then being told that $1,000 was over the betting limit. Why did they take the bet then?
Experiences like those of DjPxH and Mikadily can be avoided by going to other casinos, clearly, and familiarizing one’s self with the rules of the place before wagering. In any case, while Mikadily’s 6 BTC remains in the hands of the casino, user DjPxH had a happy ending in this story, and when there is such incentive to cut and run for organizations with murky ownership in gambling-friendly island nations, that can sometimes be the best outcome one can hope for.
Image from iStock/Todor Tsvetkov.