Most online casinos use an affiliate program to enlist websites to promote their casino brands. The majority of these programs are owned and operated under the guise of the company who owns the online casino or casino group. Some of the larger groups of casinos also have a dedicated loyalty program run through a separate website brand. But who are tied back into the ownership of the online casino group.
A similar situation exists with Casino Rewards. With Reward Affiliates being their affiliate program. Casino Rewards owns 22 online casinos. CR operates the loyalty rewards program, player support services, in addition to other aspects of operating these online casinos.
For any gambling affiliate the most important factor is trust. One needs to know the program and gaming venues they’re promoting are not up to anything dodgy which could jeopardise their income.
Over the past month or so a number of affiliates have drawn concern toward Casino Rewards cross marketing to their players. Affiliate tags are being dropped from mailers. How long this questionable practice has been taking place is unknown. However it’s being done by Casino Rewards, CRhelpdesk.com and CR-Promos.com. All sites owned by CR.
The big issue, Casino Rewards would not have these player details if the affiliate had not referred the player in the first place.
Why are Casino Rewards doing this?
A cynical person may believe it’s an effective way to cut the affiliate out of their commission. Simply send the player to any of their untagged sites and hope the player finds another casino within their brand more attractive to play at. Hence the player tagged to the affiliate at XYZ casino stops playing and commences gambling at ABC casino. Problem solved, player now playing at a casino where Casino Rewards does not have to honour the affiliate commission.
However things don’t stop there with the Casino Rewards cross marketing. Being a Rewards Affiliate myself, I asked a friend to join Captain Cooks Casino on the weekend (Sunday 10’th March 2011).
Entering the casino lobby of Captain Cooks, he was presented with a small promotional page. At the top were links to home, banking, promotions and Casino Rewards. Clicking these links produced a interim loading logo of the Casino Rewards Brand. On a fast connection this branding logo almost doesn’t register – possibly verging on subliminal messaging would be closer to what occurs.
Heavy use of the Casino Rewards Brand on the Captain Cooks casino site seems a little odd. One would expect the casinos logo if anything!
Video capture of what one sees in the Captain Cooks Casino lobby:
Seems someone at Casino Rewards didn’t like us displying this video and subsquently had it removed from YouTube. In it’s place, a static image of the Captain Cooks Casino Lobby and what players are presented with when logging into the casino:
Not long after my friend signed up at Captain Cooks Casino he received a welcome email. Contained in that email was link to the Casinos Terms and Conditions. At the footer of that page is a Casino Rewards small banner (approx 88×31), clicking that banner takes you to the Casino Rewards website. But the affiliate tag is missing. On the CR page is a massive list of their online casinos.
Click any of those links and casino page loads. In this example my friend click the Casino Share link. He soon arrive at the casino web site, minus the affiliate tag. It’s been replaced with a tag indicating it was a direct type-in from Casino Rewards.
NB – Don’t lose sight of the fact this player found the Casino Share website via the direct welcome email sent to my tagged player from none other than Casino Rewards. Who 15 minutes or so previously had just joined Captain Cooks Casino by following a tagged affiliate banner on my website.
To keep the focus on what’s taken place, my tagged player, is now viewing the Casino Share site untagged. That site offers him a $2,011 no deposit sign-up deal. Over 3/4 better than Captain Cooks sign up offer of $500 free. Will that player join Casino Share? The odds are very good that he will.
Over the course of the following hours since my friends joined Captain Cooks Casino, he’s inundated with mailers from CasinoRewards.com, CRHelpDesk.com and CR-Promos.com. All links to sites in these mailer are untagged. Meaning any casino he visits and signs-up as a member will be tagged to Casino Rewards and not my affiliate tag.
Reiterating Casino Rewards would not have these player details if I had not referred this player to Captain Cooks Casino.
Can things get any worse. Sure they can!
My friend (Tim) received an email today again from Casino Rewards. Keep in mind he’d joined Captain Cooks Casino less than 24 hours previously. The email he received was bizarre to say the least. Being in rhe online gaming industry since 2000, this email was a concocted shill. Certainly not a email an eCOGRA sealed casino group should send to players.
Below is that email (Tim’s name, email and casino account partially hidden).
- Mark the implied “Captain Cooks Loyalty Supervisor” sends an email to Loyalty at Casino Rewards.
- The operator at Casino Rewards replies to Mark, obviously known to the sender but signs out with the generic sig of “Captain Cooks Loyalty Team“.
- Tim receives both correspondences. Why? Was this meant to look like a sending accident. I’m think that way, how about you?
Early yesterday the 11’th of April 2011, I sent and email to my affiliate manager at Reward Affiliates asking what the hell is going on. As of close of business (Australian EST) 11’th of April 2011 I’m yet to receive a reply to these questions regarding Casino Rewards Cross Marketing my tagged player.
It should also be noted, the affiliate manager has strongly contested any wrong doing on the part of Casino Rewards and or Rewards Affiliates. at the GPWA and other affiliate forums.
NB – Observe the time stamps on the emails between the Captain Cooks Loyalty Team member and “Mark”, the supposed Loyalty Supervisor. Sent to Mark: Apr 11 2011 4:33:07:153AM – Sent From Mark Apr 11 2011 4:23:07:153AM… Please repeat after me, Computer Generated shill, also resembles a bait a switch too! Either way, In My Honest Opinion… it’s a cheap way to con a player into think these in-house emails were sent by accident to Tim…
—– Original message —–
From: “Loyalty CasinoRewards” <email@example.com>
Date: 11 Apr 2011 08:58:25 +0000
Subject: RE: RE: Tim Xxxxx, Captain Cooks Casino VIP player from Adelaide
Hi there Tim,
I chatted to you the other day and I thought I’d pick up from where I left off. I’ve been told by my supervisor to look after you!
For starters, I’m going to credit your account with an extra 10 credits on the house when you make your first deposit. After this, we can see what else we can do for you so please let me know if I can go ahead with this.
Also, if you’re thinking of depositing larger amounts, I’ll personally make sure you’re never short of a decent bonus 😉
In case you don’t remember, your account number is: cccxxxxxxx119r
Enjoy the rest of your day in Adelaide and I look forward to your reply.
Captain Cooks Loyalty Team
From: Mark – Captain Cooks Loyalty Supervisor
Sent: Apr 11 2011 4:33:07:153AM
Subject: RE: Tim Xxxxx, Captain Cooks player from Adelaide
I’ve had a look at Tim’s account and would like you to keep an eye on it as they seem like they could be a good player.
Can you do me a favour and get back to Tim by tomorrow for me and offer a decent bonus?
BTW, if Tim deposits more than the minimum, then credit the account with an even bigger bonus – I’ll leave the sum to you 😉
Captain Cooks Loyalty Supervisor
Sent: Apr 11 2011 4:23:07:153AM
To: Mark – Captain Cooks Loyalty Supervisor
Subject: Tim Xxxxx, Captain Cooks player from Adelaide
Hope you’re well. Just a quick mail with regards to one of my new players – I chatted to someone called Tim from Adelaide the other day. I’ve had a look at their Captain Cooks account and I think they deserve 10 $ bonus if they make a deposit.
Just wanted to double check with you that I can go ahead and credit the account with the extra 10 $ bonus?
Captain Cooks Loyalty Team