Can someone please explain to me what in the Hell just happened? When it comes to the provider of Online Casino Software, BetSoft, it never mattered to me what jurisdiction they fell under in terms of licensing. Another aspect of BetSoft that didn’t much concern me was who certified them as a Fair Software Provider and/or Casino company. None of these things were at all material to me because there is only one thing that I ever needed to know:
Bovada used BetSoft Software for their Slot Machines.
As many people here already know, I was long and more intimately associated with our sister sites, WizardofOdds.com and WizardofVegas.com before I ever started writing any Editorials either for here or for LatestBingoBonuses.com. What some of you may or may not know is that, for several years, Bovada was not just one of the Online Casino Affiliates for WoO and WoV, Bovada was THE Online Casino affiliate for both sites. That is to say that those sites literally did not advertise for any other Online Casino.
When it came to trustworthiness, then, as far as I was concerned, Bovada was inherently clean and anyone that Bovada would ever do any kind of business with could be considered to be inherently clean. Bovada was THE site, in my opinion, that could absolutely be counted on never to host any rigged games of any kind as well as to demonstrate strong customer service and always pay out when they were supposed to.
That is, until recently:
Another sister site of LCB, CasinoListings.com, embarked upon an investigation into BetSoft that led to the conclusion that some of the games, whether or not intentional, were effectively rigged to the extent that certain Progressive payouts could literally not be hit at certain bet levels. What was found was that, at Bovada, the Progressive Jackpots on certain BetSoft Slot Games were unwinnable on certain denominations.
Pursuant to the investigation, it was found that these Jackpots were not Linked Jackpots, meaning that there were different individual jackpots based upon the denomination and amount of coins bet and that the probability of winning an individual jackpot could vary from casino to casino. In and of itself, that is not a problem at all. Land-Based Casinos often have different units with Stand-Alone Progressives in which the casino can use an EPROM Chip that differs from those used by other Casinos (theoretically) that can either make the Jackpot less likely, make the Base Game have a worse return by way of a different Reel Assignment, or alternatively, a casino may simply choose to have the meter increase at a slower rate than it would at other casinos.
Provided that all of these things in Land-Based Casinos are being done in accordance with the Minimum Required Return-to-Player that is required by the laws in a given jurisdiction, everything is completely on the up-and-up with that. Much the case with Land Casinos, it is no surprise that Online Casino Software Providers may have different versions of different games available, and I would suggest that there is nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact, it would take a very astute player doing an Empirical study and tracking results of spins to determine the probability of certain symbols showing up to even realize that there is any difference whatsoever. To put it simply, the average slot player is not going to be able to inherently know that two games that have the same title have a different Return-to-Player if the difference is only one or two percent, at least, not without incredibly significant amounts of play.
However, there were incredibly significant amounts of play done in conjunction with this investigation. What was found was that, not only were the probabilities different, but that the jackpots, under certain parameters, could literally not be won.
While it might take more than that, even in the State of Nevada, to shut down a casino or to delicense a manufacturer of Slot Machines, you can rest assured that there would be fines galore for the manufacturer, or for both the manufacturer and the casino in the event that the casino was aware of it. The words, ‘Software Glitch,’ are simply not going to be an acceptable explanation as, in the State of Nevada, it is patently illegal to advertise a particular result as being possible on a slot machine unless that result is, you know, actually possible. Most other states also have laws that are substantially similar to those used by the State of Nevada, so in most cases, this would be illegal in other states within the United States, as well.
The investigation, an amazing job by CasinoListings.com, if I may say so, found that on a particular slot title the probability of hitting the Progressive Jackpot would be around 1 in 20,000 spins, generally speaking, but at Bovada that result literally never hit in 6,000,000 spins. If the game were fair, and based on that 1 in 20,000 probability, using a Binomial Distribution to determine the probability that the jackpot would hit at least once in six million spins results in a probability that is essentially effectively 100%. In other words, for the jackpot to fail to hit over that many spins literally almost cannot happen.
One may ask: Well, how much did that really cost the players? Let’s take a look, shall we?
This is actually a pretty simple question as the game in question, or at least one of them, is ‘Good Girl, Bad Girl,’ so let’s look at that.
I am actually going to base this on the LCB Review of the ‘Good Girl, Bad Girl' game, and use the picture in that Review to make my determinations as I am otherwise not sure what the Progressive reset values are:
It would appear that this game offers the player a choice to either play on the, ‘Good Side,’ the, ‘Bad Side,’ or on both sides where the good side offers the opportunity for smaller, but more frequent payouts and the, bad side generally offers less frequent payouts, but higher overall potential payouts. Furthermore, it appears that the Minimum Coin Bet to be playing Max Lines (fifteen lines) on one side or the other is fifteen coins, but then, a player can also play both sides which yields a total bet of thirty coins.
In order to keep things really simple, I am going to assume that someone is only playing the fifteen coins required to play all fifteen lines on the, ‘Good,’ side, and the denomination in the picture on that Review is $0.10, so we are going to say that the total bet in order to do that is $1.50. Again, it was found that hitting the Progressive has a probability of roughly 1 in 20,000 and the Progressive amount based on that picture was $610.88, which I am using simply because I do not know what the Progressive resets to in the event that it is not hit.
If we take 610.88/20000 (simple enough) we arrive at a monetary value of $0.030544 per spin on that possibility, but then it is also important to factor in the meter move, which is also entirely money lost in the event that the player cannot win the jackpot. However, even ignoring the Meter move, if we take that $0.030544 and divide that by the $1.50 bet required for that to be a possibility, then we arrive at 0.0203627, which means that players are getting tagged for 2.03627% more of their total bets than the Return-to-Player actually would be if the game were fair. Once again, that is before considering however much money contributes to move a meter on a Jackpot that the player cannot possibly win. In the event that the Meter Move is 1%, then the player is getting tagged for an additional 3% and change on every spin.
For those of you who think that might not seem like much, let’s take a look at a player who plays at a feasible rate (based on most machines I have played) of 600 spins per hour. A player playing at this rate will have made $900 in total bets from which he or she is losing an additional and guaranteed 2.03627% that he is not actually necessarily supposed to be losing (and, again, not including the meter move) which means that the player is losing $18.33 (rounded) per hour played, or alternatively, per 600 spins played on the game at that bet level.
Of course, this is all far more serious than that. For one thing, we are looking at the $0.10 denomination, but apparently, the $0.25 denomination was also effectively gaffed which would mean, based on the parameters above, an additional loss of $45.83 per six hundred spins, or per hour played if one is playing six hundred spins per hour.
Furthermore, someone who is merely playing nickels is still losing an additional $9.17 per six hundred spins under these parameters compared to what the return of the game is actually supposed to be. In terms of the House Edge, when considering that Online Slots often hold five percent or less, that 2% contributes very seriously to the House Edge of the game.
Furthermore, I didn’t even look at this in the worst possible light. For one thing, I did not consider the Meter Move simply because I don’t know what the Meter Move actually is on the game. Additionally, I assumed that the player was playing one side, ‘Good,’ or the other side, ‘Bad,’ as opposed to both sides. If the player was playing both sides of the game, then you can take those losses that I stated about, at least in terms of amount, and double them!
To put this in another context: Imagine a Land-Based casino that had a Video Poker game for quarters, let’s say it is 9/6 Jacks or Better upon which the player has to bet $1.25 ($0.25 Denomination) in order to be getting the full 800-For-1 payout on the Royal Flush. Based on this Wizard of Odds Page:
The Return to Player on standard 9/6 Jacks or Better is is 99.543904%, but of that return, 1.980661% is wrapped up in hitting the Royal Flush. Let’s imagine that the Video Poker machine did two things, the first is that it was literally incapable of giving the player a Royal Flush on the deal because it was programmed to switch one of the cards to something else in the event that the hand would otherwise be a Royal. Let’s also assume that, in the event the player made a hold that could theoretically result in a Royal Flush on the draw, that one of the Royal Flush cards was taken out of the deck. Of course, in the event of holds of one, two or three cards, this would also reduce the likelihood of the player ending up with either a Straight or Flush, as well, but we’ll ignore that for now…
If the player plays 800 hands per hour, which is perfectly feasible when it comes to a relatively skilled Video Poker player, then that player is making $1,000 in total bets per hour. Of those bets, the player is losing an additional $19.81 in excess of what the player could assume the House Edge to be due to the fact that a Royal is impossible. This type of software in the machine that would behave this way is so patently illegal that the result to the manufacturer would presumably be nothing less than millions of dollars in fines. To even imagine such a thing taking place is nothing short of inconceivable!!!
The sad aspect of this is, if not for the work done by CasinoListings, this might have never been detected. For one thing, the average player might not even know what the probability of hitting the Jackpot is supposed to be, so even if that player did otherwise have the theoretical ability to test the game for fairness, the player would have no means of recognizing when the game is being unfair. Even then, an average player who did somehow have awareness of the probability of hitting the jackpot is somewhat unlikely to play 20,000 spins on this one game, let alone several million or at least the few hundred thousand that would be enough to result in at least a hint of suspicion about the game. For example, the player could play 50,000 spins knowing that the probability of hitting the result is 1 in 20,000 and, quite correctly, just believe that he or she, ‘Ran bad.’
That would actually be perfectly within reason as a Binomial Distribution yields an 8.21% Probability of going 50,000 spins without hitting a result with a probability of 1 in 20,000. Of course, such a run of 50,000 spins would suck for the player, but it would hardly qualify as anything suspicious. In fact, the player would have to go 92,105 spins, which is over four and a half, ‘Cycles,’ before the probability of going so many spins without the result hitting even dropped below 1%. While dropping below 1% is certainly a curious event, statistically-speaking, even that is a far cry from actually proving anything.
That brings us to the question of whether either Bovada or Betsoft should be accountable for paying the players who played this game anything and my answer is: You damn right they should! It’s actually really quite easy to figure out, you look at the play history for every player that says they played the game, you determine what the total contribution of the Progressive to what would be the overall return of the game in terms of the Base Pays as well as the contribution to the Meter Move is in terms of percent, and then you give the player that percentage of the money that they put into the games directly back.
When I say, ‘Directly back,’ I mean cash in player account back. I’m not talking about giving it back in the form of some Bonus money that has to be wagered 67 million times before it has to be cashed out, I’m saying that you give the money back with, at absolute most, a 1x playthrough requirement and, after that, the players can do what they like with that money.
I understand that it could, theoretically, be a legitimate accident on the part of Betsoft. Moreover, I understand that it is potentially true that Bovada did not know anything about the errors on those games, but what everyone knows now is that those games had errors and that those errors cost people money. At a very minimum, those games advertised Jackpots as being possible that were literally not possible. While Bovada probably did not have anything to do with it directly, they host the software that is used on these Slot Games which is enough to give people who trust Bovada the belief that those slot games are fair. The slot games were not fair. Bovada should renumerate the players.
That then leads us to the question of whether or not, in my opinion, Bovada should be Blacklisted if they do not make restitution to the affected players. I am going to stop short of answering that query with a, ‘Yes,’ but I will say that, if they don’t, I would absolutely not play at Bovada Casino for any reason other than Advantage Playing against them and I would absolutely not recommend that anyone I know play at Bovada Casino unless an opportunity exists to Advantage Play against them. That is just one man’s opinion, though. If Bovada does not make some form of restitution, however, I would definitely say that there are sites out there that I trust even more than I do Bovada...and that is NOT something I have said before.
That is not because I believe that Bovada had anything directly to do with the fact that the games it was hosting were effectively gaffed, but it has to do with my opinion that they should do right by the players who have lost money to them and who will likely continue to lose money to them.
Apparently, Bovada has pulled the BetSoft games in question out of their inventory, so that is definitely a positive. I seriously doubt if a casino that has worked as hard as Bovada to achieve its stellar reputation wants to be even associated with software that does not perform up to spec.
Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether or not this, ‘Glitch,’ was accidental or intentional on the part of BetSoft and that is possibly something that we may never know. The one thing that I do know is that I find it funny that these, ‘Glitches,’ often seem to work to the detriment of players rather than in their favor. Of course, in those rare events that a software error does work in favor of the player, the Online Casino in question has a nasty habit of sometimes asking for their money back or directly deducting the winnings from the player’s account.
For my part, I implore Bovada to do the right thing and prove that the high opinion that I have always had of them is right. Look into the accounts of any players who go to your customer service and claim to have played these games and reimburse them the percentage of their total coin-in that they were affected as a result of this Software malfunction...or whatever the Hell BetSoft wants to call it today. I understand that we may be talking about tens of thousands, if not more, in reimbursements here depending on what denomination the players were playing, but, in my opinion, it is absolutely not just the right thing to do but also a good business decision that proves that Bovada puts doing the right thing by its players above all else.
Slot players come to Bovada to play the games and have a good time. It is true that many of them do, in fact, expect to lose...and they should expect to lose. What players should not expect, however, and should absolutely not have to deal with is having jackpots advertised to them on a particular game that are literally impossible to hit. This sort of thing cannot happen or it is a black eye on the entire industry and could theoretically put all entities associated with Online Casinos, not just the casinos themselves or software providers, in jeopardy.
All of that takes us full circle and back to the question of, ‘Who Can You Trust?’ For me, it’s not really a question of, ‘Who,’ but of what. For my part, I trust Table Games. With respect to Table Games, especially when it comes to Even Money or close to Even Money Propositions, if software is programmed (whether intentionally or accidentally) such that a player is going to get bilked, then it actually takes a significantly lesser number of plays to make that determination than it does with Slot Machines and payouts that reflect probabilities of 1 in the thousands or tens of thousands.
When it comes to Table Games, an individual person with the right tools and know-how could actually perform a fairness test on the results, and the Wizard from over at WizardofOdds and WizardofVegas has done exactly that on multiple occasions. Furthermore, people can even track the results of their own play, and in the event they do not know how to test those results for fairness, those results can be disseminated to someone who does know how to do that. It is true that some games could be theoretically gaffed in such a way that the player only ends up getting bilked by an unfair result infrequently, so infrequently, in fact, that it is statistically undetectable by an individual player, but most providers or casinos are not going to do that.
The majority of software providers and casinos are going to realize that it is not worth the loss to their reputations to bilk people out of a bet every hour or so, even if such bilking would only be detectable, statistically, if people made a concerted effort to collaboratively track results. These entities are going to understand that the games they provide have an edge working in their favor, and that non Advantage Players are knowingly playing against that edge and will happily continue to do so as long as they are at least getting a fair game that is in accordance with the probabilities of the physical devices that the Online Games are designed to represent.
When it comes to unscrupulous Casinos and Software Providers, there is not much chance that they are going to design the software to bilk people in such a slow way that it would still pass a fairness test. In essence, they are going to be going for a big score quickly. The result of that is going to be, sooner or later, they will likely be outed as cheaters.
For my part, I am going to continue to trust the major Online Casinos that have passed Fairness Testing Certifications and that host games that have also passed such Certifications. I am also going to trust Casinos who have stellar Reviews and Player Comments on this website and will also look at where the casinos themselves are licensed in making my decisions. Of course, I typically would not Advantage Play Online unless I perceive myself to be at an Advantage, so in the event that I get burned, that’s just something of an Occupational Hazard.
Who Should You Trust?
I would say that it is obvious that you can continue to trust LatestCasinoBonuses.com and any sites that are sister sites to or otherwise affiliated with LCB. This investigation conducted by CasinoListings.com and followed up on by LCB proves, once again, that LCB always puts the players ahead of its bottom line.
Think about it: Does LCB benefit when an investigation reveals that a major Online Casino Software company was using, at best, crappy software at one of the world’s most trusted Internet Casinos that essentially rendered advertised jackpots impossible? Of course not, that’s terrible news for LCB because now people will be less likely to sign up for Bovada and slot players will be less likely to use an LCB link to sign up at an Online Casino that uses Betsoft software.
LCB, as with any other business, exists to make money. However, LCB has always been and will always continue to be a site that makes its money on the square in this business. LCB is, first and foremost, an advocate for the players and always seeks to do right by the players when the Online Casinos either cannot or will not. To that effect, LCB would rather lose money than do anything that could be perceived as aiding and abetting in the bilking of players or leading players to an unfair game. We’ve seen this as LCB has endured the test of time by not only being the world’s foremost gambling authority in conjunction with its other sites, but also being the absolute number one place that players turn to as a source of both information and support.
When it comes to individual Online Casinos or software companies, it can often be difficult to know who to trust with the myriad of options that are out there. From rigged software to pirated software, to slow-paying, no-paying, delayed withdrawal tactics and casinos who do not honor their Promotions or wrongfully accuse players of somehow violating the Terms & Conditions, there are any number of pratfalls out there...and that is just for the Recreational Player not even to start getting into what an actual Advantage Player has to sometimes deal with. Even with all that, though, there is a beacon in the dark who can always be trusted: That beacon is LatestCasinoBonuses.