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Cassava / 888 Bingo – Where Winners Lose And Are Banned

Posted by: BingoDave - Wednesday, May. 4th 2011 12:54 PM

Following on from my previous post about Cassava banning unprofitable players, I’ve found myself on the end of a ban. Not only that, but I’ve seen a marked increase in both the amount of people being banned on the entire Cassava network, but the amount of reasons given for handing out such bans. The one thing these reasons and bans all have in common is that they fly in the face of fair play, being aimed at those that win and withdraw cash from the sites powered by Cassava.

Anatomy Of A Bingo Winner’s Ban

My ban was first proceeded with a frozen account for ‘security issues’ – I sent through ID and eventually they unfroze the account. Following that, I took advantage of a number of bonus deposit special offers, emailed to me from Foxy and Cheeky Bingo, where I once again won and withdrew the money I had won. It took but a few weeks and my account was frozen, this time for good. I am no no longer able to play at any site powered by Cassava (close to a 3rd of all UK facing bingo sites) for doing nothing more than playing offers mailed me and withdrawing any winnings I had.

First I was accused of registering multiple accounts – which is untrue. When I pointed out that there were no rules against having a single account at separate Cassava sites, they changed their tune and accused me of ‘bonus abuse.’ Now, the only bonuses I have taken advantage of have been the ones sent to me by the promotional teams – ie, deposit today to get a 150% match bonus. I explained that to the security team, but no – this is what they said:

“Please be reminded that the Company reserves the right to cancel your account for any reason whatsoever at any time without notice to you and any balance in your account at the time of such cancellation will be credited to your credit card and/or sent to you by check. It also states that the company also has the right in its unfettered discretion, to void any winnings and confiscate any balance in your Bingo account in the circumstances listed in the terms and conditions registered on the site.

David, you account was blocked because it is believe that you breached the Terms and Conditions which you agreed to upon signing up your accounts, where it states that if it is believe that a user is abusing or attempting to abuse a bonus or other promotion, or is likely to benefit through abuse or lack of good faith from a gaming policy adopted by us, then we may in our sole discretion, deny any bonus or promotion, or rescind any policy in respect of that user, either temporarily or permanently block that user’s account.”

There is nothing in the Ts and Cs about depositing and playing when sent a promotional offer, or any further explanation of what constitutes bonus abuse. So if I don’t know what I’m doing wrong (and I’m not) how can I know to stop it? I also explained I was aware of what they were doing to respectable players who won and withdrew, and that I would take the matter further. They went into child mode and have since been doing the equivalent of sticking their finger in their ears and going ‘la-la-la can’t hear you.’

I made the analogy before – about being banned from every Tesco in the country for only buying biscuits when they are on buy-one-get-one-free offers. It’s ridiculous. I’m still regularly receiving emails from the likes of Foxy Bingo, Moon Bingo, Costa Bingo and Cheeky Bingo offering me extra deposit bonuses should I deposit today, despite the fact my accounts are banned at all these sites, and I’m unable to sign up any other Cassava powered sites. Let me stress here once more, there was no bonus abuse on my part, I only ever took advantage of offers the company contacted me about and played how a normal bingo player would play.

Cassava Banning More And More Customers

And, it’s not just me – I’ve now heard from around 30-50 people who’ve been banned in the same fashion. The they all have a few things in common – they regularly remove their winnings from their account, deposit when special offers are mailed them and play free bingo games provided by the company. Now though, Cassava are adding more reasons to ban winning players who don’t leave their winnings in their accounts and spend them at the sites.

Banned For Playing The Free Bingo Games

It seems those who take advantage of the free bingo games offered at sites like Costa and Cheeky are being banned too. The reason given – they’re “abusing the free games”. Seriously, abusing the free games. What I think they really trying to say though, is you’re not paying any money into the system, you’re banned.

Gossip Bingo mentions a limit of 3 hours of free bingo a day, or 250 games a week. Strangely, this isn’t mentioned at any other sites such as Cheeky or Costa, or come to that on their advertising. Maybe the Advertising Standards Association would be interested in sites advertising themselves as free when they’re banning players for using these free services? Once again, if you don’t want people using bonus / free games supplied, don’t supply them.

Banned For Being A Bingo Couple

Also, I’ve heard from a couple of couples who play from the same house on their own separate accounts are also being banned (despite having separate account details and bank cards). Whilst I can see the potential for this to go tits up for people doing this, it is quite a common occurrence, and Cassava should find some way of checking out and verifying if the accounts are owned by separate people before banning them.

What Are Cassava Playing At?

Cassava are part of 888 Gaming, and power a large percentage of the UK’s most popular online bingo sites as well as the UK’s largest online bingo networks. It hurts me to have to bring this behaviour into the spotlight, as I’m a fan of their bingo offering, and other than these crazy bans, I’m more than happy to recommend their sites, and also happy to play at them. However, if we’re going to call out this behaviour, and ultimately try and do something about it, then we need to look at what Cassava are playing at. This is merely speculation on my part, but it fits in with what’s happening.

Firstly, the last year or so, 888 has been trying to sell itself to Ladbrokes. Many in the industry believe these bans happened to remove players who were affecting 888’s bottom line. The players banned all withdraw money, and in some cases, large amounts of it. Let me state here, this doesn’t directly affect 888 profits as all winnings come from wagering. That said, if a player takes the money out of the system and doesn’t spend it at the site in question, it drags down the company’s turnover. Removing such players would give Cassava a falsely inflated balance sheet, making it all the more attractive to Ladbrokes.

This is a moot point as Ladbrokes have pulled out of the purchase of the company, but the bans are continuing at pace. There is another reason for wanting to cull winners and in some cases keep their winnings. At the moment, 888 are in financial difficulty following their purchase of the Joy Of Bingo Network. News of this has caused their share value to drop considerably (I know, I have some…) and if the company can’t keep its cashflow and turnover looking as attractive as possible, then it could cause them further financial problems.

With this knowledge, their behaviour looks understandable, but completely flies in the face of basic gaming principles, customer service and if anything is incredibly short sighted. The company tells people that they have broken Ts and Cs and it’s their discretion to remove your account and keep your rightfully won winnings. Lovely, but the Ts and Cs at their sites are vague to say the least and give no guidelines about how to avoid falling foul of the very things they ban you for. It’s a crazy situation and Cassava seems to think it can get away with what it’s doing without consequences. Let us disabuse them of this notion.

What Can We Do?

As bingo players being short-changed, ripped-off and unfairly banned for playing bingo games in the manner we choose, we need to sort this out. We need to send a message that we won’t accept this sort of behaviour, and the only way we can do this is to stop our fellow bingo players falling foul of this sort of behaviour. We need to let them know what’s happening, and let the wider world know about this despicable behaviour.

Here’s what I propose – we need to get this to the attention of the wider media. The likes of Watchdog and other consumer programmes need to stand up for British bingo players who are being fleeced by a UK based company that’s dealing out questionable gaming services under a Gibraltar gaming license. Cassava are acting like their behaviour is acceptable and right, but they are not, and we need to let people know this.

With media pressure maybe Cassava could change their ways, but if not, the ultimate power lies with the UK Government to ban all gaming companies based outside the UK and the jurisdiction of the UK’s gaming and licensing bodies, whatever shape they take in the near future. Then these sort of practices can be held accountable to us here in the UK. With enough public pressure on MPs, this could be the ultimate goal for us UK bingo players. Yes there would be problems in the short term, as sites needed to move to the UK for licensing purposes, but I think in the long term it would benefit us the most.

We should also let the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority know that we’re not happy about what’s happened. If enough of us complain then they should take action. That said, don’t hold your breath, they share the same office buildings as Cassava, who are one of the island’s biggest gaming companies. Inaction on their part seems to be the general state of affairs, and another reason that the UK Government should look at the automatic white-listing of EU states licensing bodies. Besides that, Cassava has rejected mediation from any third parties in disputes with players, as somehow it believes it can’t be held accountable for its behaviour.

What You Can Do!

If you’ve been banned by Cassava, and believe the reason why is because you take out winnings on a regular basis, or have been accused of bonus abuse and excessive free game use, then I’ve set up a special page show you what to do. Over the next couple of months I will be gathering names of people who’ve been affected by this, and presenting my findings to various organisations and MPs, alongside developing awareness of this problem in the wider media.

If you have friends who play online bingo, warn them that regularly taking money out of Cassava powered sites can lead to a ban.

You can also complain to the ASA if you feel you have been falsely advertised to on TV by sites citing free bingo as a reason to join the site then banning you for playing to much of it. A number of Cassava powered sites also sponsor programmes on TV, so maybe you should let those programmes know what goes on from their sponsors.

The fightback starts here, let’s get it on for the rights of bingo players across the UK who want to play at Cassava’s sites without the fear of a ban for winning.

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22 Comments on “Cassava / 888 Bingo – Where Winners Lose And Are Banned”

Debra Heybourn Says:

Hi,

Agree with everything you say but how come you are endorsing Foxy and other Cassava sites on this website by having them on your ‘Hotlist’ ??????
Surely you should be warning people against joining the site.

BingoDave Says:

As I mention in the piece above, other than this behaviour they offer a compelling service to bingo players – but bingo players need to be warned and aware of what can happen before they sign-up and start playing. I will have to review that page though if they don’t fix this, which ultimately is what I want them to do.

dreamfish Says:

I too have been banned from all sites for playing free bingo excessively. I joined several after being enticed by email and didnt see any rules saying could only play a certain amount of games. I am waiting for my wins. They are a disgrace and I have emailed the advertising standards authority as their ads are very misleading. If they dont want to pay out for free games, why have them? I bought tickets as well.

Peter Says:

Hi, i won over 3 thousand point on cheeky last week which
I withdrew. The next day i tried loggin on and it said account blaicked email support. Every cassava sites was blocked and ive not yet had an email sayin why. Do u think ill still get my winnings? I did get email day before sayin
Refunded via visa delta so is it too late now, will i get it or can they stop it from clearin?

Debra Heybourn Says:

Hi Dave,
Thought I’d let you know I have e-mailed the UK Gambling Commission but with no joy , they said I had to contact the GRA (which I have already done with, again, no joy).

E-mailed Watchdog as well – still waiting for a reply.

Anything else I can do ???

BingoDave Says:

Hi Debra, the only thing else I can think to do is drop a note to ITV about their sponsorship deals with a company that rips off its users. Not sure if that would do much good though either.

BingoDave Says:

Peter, have you received your winnings yet? If you haven’t regular polite emailing seems to do the job. Let us know.

Alison Keeble Says:

I’ve just been banned from all of their sites. I was told that I was playing too much free bingo on Gossip. Personally, I feel that is an excuse. I was depositing and playing on other sites but definitely cashing out far more than I ever deposited through luck, free games and using redeposit bonuses. Strangely, I hadn’t actually been playing Gossip free games for the last few months!

Trying to get two balances out of them for just under £30 each. Have just received two withdrawl emails, so hopeful they will pay.

kimmi999 Says:

I have been banned from all their sites for abusing the free rooms, I made 4 withdrawals from 4 sites, they paid out on all,:)

Jamelfree Says:

Ditto Kimmi999, banned today for what would seem is playing more free bingo than paid for. This is what I was sent:

“As a responsible company we are continually monitoring our sites. During this monitoring we note that the way you have used your account with us, leads us to believe that your reason for joining our site was to take advantage of the bonuses we provide.

With regards to your account, this has been reviewed and the decision to permanently discontinue your membership still stands. This decision is final and has only been taken after careful consideration of all factors involved.”

I read Ts and Cs very carefully, and on all the sites I signed up to it DOES NOT SAY you shouldn’t play in free rooms, in fact, Costa and City among others advertise themselves as a chance to play bingo for free. The only site that says anything about it is Polo Bingo, which said it will ban ‘professional players’ if they play too much in the free rooms versus actually spending money. I regularly play the slot and casino games on the sites and enjoyed being a member but this is not on.

kimmi999 Says:

Hi Jamelfree, I withdrew more then deposited and they didnt like it. see my email below, my daughter was also banned a week before me for the same reason,

This is Lauria from the Security Department at Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd. Cassava Enterprises manages security services for Foxy Bingo. I am contacting you with regards to your Foxy Bingo account.

During a routine check on your game activity, it has come to my attention that you are abusing our bingo games by playing our free games to excessive and unreasonable measures. This appears to becoming a regular occurrence in your gaming on our site. As a gaming site, we need to be able to monitor that our bingo games are not being misused. As I am sure you will appreciate, in any form of gambling there is a small element of risk.

for this reason, your account with Foxy Bingo has been blocked; furthermore, your accounts registered with Cassava Enterprises have been blocked. As such, you are respectfully asked to refrain from registering further accounts with sites owned and/or operated by Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd. Any new accounts registered shall be immediately blocked upon detection and any successful deposits or accumulated winnings shall not be paid.

Thank you for your time and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you well for the future.

Minelab Says:

I would just like to say i have a few accounts with cassava bingo, recently i funded 70 in one day then was thrown out of the bingo room tried in vein to log back in but to no avail,so i contacted redbus thats the site i was on when thrown off, now then like i say i have accounts on other sites one naming little big big bingo an so on yes we woman do like to shop around and get the best offers going !
Anyhow i had some winnings in that account at red bus which were not sent to me so when i took this up with security they tell me i have multiple accounts with that network and basically i was taking the p….. so i told them its not criminal to have more than a few accounts elsewere but to them i had abused the bonus lmao i funded more! never taking anything out, and that was on all sites always funding and very rarely did i win or withdrawal, i say to cassava why advertise to unsuspecting customers when you know sometime or other your going to block them for having a few accounts elsewere on your network !
if like my self i never abused bonus whats so ever why do you ban or block profitable players? theres a reason for this yet i dont know what it is!
but i will say this never ever again will i even think about joining cassava or anything remotely similar as you are TAKERS and have no or none respect for your customers and good customers we are so i hope you sink and sink fast.

Brita Says:

Another one banned (today) from all Cassava sites. They don’t even give a gentle warning… just an emailed ban, and take whatever you have in the kitty. I had almost £25.00. Will miss playing (and the money) :-(

F Says:

Got banned today, signed up for £10 free play, won £650. They obviously didn’t like it.

marion mccoll Says:

Help,

I have been banned from Cassava and they owe me over £5k! I have emailed and emailed and their latest reply tells me that they are not obliged to pay any money on my account. I spend an absolute fortune on this site but last week I actually won a lot for once! Then two days later I received an email to say I am banned. I am sick with worry. Any ideas how to get this back. I have done nothing wrong. They are saying that I was re-registering my accounts and abusing bonuses. Rubbish!

David Parry Says:

Hi,

Despite you writing the passage below in response to someone requesting why you continue to endorse cassava sites on your site you continue to do this despite more and more players being banned every day!!

As I mention in the piece above, other than this behaviour they offer a compelling service to bingo players – but bingo players need to be warned and aware of what can happen before they sign-up and start playing. I will have to review that page though if they don’t fix this, which ultimately is what I want them to do

Bingo

BingoDave Says:

You have a fair point David. My reasons for still promoting Cassava sites is not ideal, but due to the nature of the site, I need to continue to feature them here. Without the advertising revenues generated by the sites we feature, there would be no site full stop, as keeping it up and running takes a lot of time and money.

I still stand by my assertion that Cassava’s bingo is one of the best out there for players, their range of promotions is wide and varied and they are the main face of online bingo in the UK. This is the one area they fall down in – and I’m doing all I can to try and get them to change their ways. There are players out there who will not find issue with these bans, they don’t care about taking money out as they go in and play and roll any of their winnings back into the sites to prolong the time they get playing and interacting in the chat rooms enjoying the entertainment on offer. You’d be surprised how large a percentage of players that represents, and for the sake of balance, I still need to feature these sites.

There is plenty of information available on the site for players to make a balanced decision. Since we became aware of this behaviour we have been pointing out the issues to players and will continue to do so. However, if we completely shut ourselves off from featuring sites by Cassava, players will be the poorer as they miss out on big games and promotions. We can tell them of our concerns and give them the info they need to make the decision themselves. Most other sites out there have not even raised or mentioned these issues. I realise it’s not ideal, but I have confidence that the press we’re giving about this issue will cause Cassava to rethink these bans.

David Parry Says:

Thanks for your reply bingodave, I understand your reasons for still promoting these sites and I do appreciate that you do actively warn people of the practice cassava have of what seems to be banning profitable players as I have contacted a few other sites like whichbingo, wikibingo, superfreebingo and bingohideout and all of these are unwilling to run a story warning other online bingo players about this.

I sincerely hope you have some hope in getting cassava to rethink these bans (are they aware of the comments on this site?) as I do agree these sites do have some of the best software in my opinion which is why i’m so aggrieved at having all my accounts blocked! Good luck :o)

BingoDave Says:

I should hope they are aware of the comments, I have contacted a number of their leading licensees about the issue and have been in dialogue about it, as well as pointing out what’s being said here and elsewhere. It seems that many of the licensees are stuck with Cassava’s behaviour, and are not happy about it. Others have actively helped get people’s accounts reinstated. I’m equally pee’d off because I miss playing at Foxy Bingo, which used to be my place of choice. :(

David Parry Says:

I have also wondered whether or not the decision by mandalay gaming to open the xbingo site on a different software platform after costa,sing,city and fancy were all opened on cassava/dragonfish sites had anything to do with them getting fed up of the way cassava security have been dealing with their players

BingoDave Says:

I think there’s a few more reasons other than just the security team. I’ve heard a number of Cassava skins owner complain about transparency and other things at Cassava. It could also be that they get a much better share of the profits with their own platform / a different platform.

dion fitzgerald Says:

i was banned in the beginning of 2010 and was told it was for free game abuse. i told them there was nothing in the rules about how many games i could play but they were having none of it. after several months i did manage to get some of my money back but they still owe me about £100+ from several of their sites. im still banned today. thankfully i can still play on their sites through other means 8-)

i will agree though cassava is a dirty company and needs some serious looking at by the right authorities and unban all those who were unlawfully banned