How VIP Loyalty Programmes Work with UK Casinos
How VIP Loyalty Programmes Work with UK Casinos
Many online casinos offer VIP programmes to their most valued players, limited to a select few. VIP Programmes are often offered with different tiers, with each tier catering to a different type of player. These tiers are based on the games they play, their deposit amounts, frequency of deposits, and how much they win.
In turn, each VIP tier is awarded unique bonuses and promotions that can include cashback, free cash, free spins, exclusive promotions and gifts, and even a dedicated account manager.
VIP and loyalty programmes can be useful when used responsibly, giving a high rolling gambler more for their money.
What is a VIP Programme?
These VIP programmes are similar throughout the industry. These are just a few of the privileges VIP status offers:
- Special gifts and promotions
- Personally tailored deals
- Higher deposit limits
- Lower wagering limits
- Faster payouts
- Personal VIP Account Manager
Generally, an online casino will not reward you until you achieve membership in their VIP programme. By the time you achieve VIP status, the casino will already know your profile and wagering patterns and will tailor their offers according to your preferences. These offers include exclusive bonuses and deals, exclusive invitations, and even special holidays.
Casinos design these programmes to find, retain and reward their very best players. VIP players are chosen based on their playing patterns, such as time spent on the site, their deposit history, and amounts wagered.
Most VIP programmes use a point system; players are encouraged to gamble more to earn points. The more points a player has, the more they are rewarded. Likewise, their VIP position can be upgraded or downgraded in accordance with their activity.
Loyalty programmes are designed to foster loyalty among their members and to prevent high rollers from going to another casino.
How Does One Become a VIP Player?
Generally, there are three possible methods to achieve membership in a VIP programme. First, many casinos automatically enroll their new users in the lowest level of their privilege programme. This is a value-added strategy designed to attract and retain new users.
Second, you could have an existing VIP player to refer you to the casino. Online casinos often encourage current VIP players to refer their friends to sign up. Your friend will get a bonus for referring you, and you will be enrolled in the privilege programme.
Finally, the most common method is to sign up and play consistently. Casinos in the UK track player patterns to separate their best and most loyal players from the rest.
High rollers are usually spotted early on, based on their substantive deposits and impressive level of play. These high rollers are especially valued by casinos, and receive a particular level of specialized care and attention. In some cases, the casino may even invite them to private, off-the-books VIP programmes. These programmes are very exclusive, and only a select few even know about them.
Different Types of Privilege and VIP Programmes in the UK
Before you can take advantage of these online casino programmes, you need to know the different types.
Essentially, there three types of such programmes common to UK casinos:
- tiered programmes
- reward structure programmes
- unofficial, high roller VIP programmes
The classic, or tiered casino VIP programme: This is the most widespread and common type of privilege programme in the UK. Usually, there are 5 tiers, but some casinos go as high as 10 tiers.
The most common names for the tiers include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. This type of programme offers players special privileges according to their level. The privileges commonly include free spins, cashback, free money and win match bonuses. The match bonus percentage depends on the level of the tier.
Reward VIP programmes: The concept is similar to a tiered programme, but the advancement through the programme is based on the amount a player wagers, as well as their performance. The more you play and wager, the more you advance.
Unofficial VIP programmes for high rollers: Online casinos pay special attention to their highest wagering players. They count on a tight connection between the players and the account manager to provide bespoken deals, gifts, and other incentives.
Keep in mind, every casino has its own unique system of tabulating VIP points and advancing players. For example, some casinos base points on deposits, while others base them on wagers.
How Privilege Points are Awarded
If an online casino uses a deposit-based structure, a player's VIP status is calculated according to the total amount of deposits. However, the calculation is time-limited; for example, there must be a certain number of deposits in a given time period, such as 3-6 months.
On the other hand, a wagering-based point structure depends on how much money you wager. For example, if you wager £1 you earn 1 point. The number of points you earn for wagering £1 at different levels will vary. In some cases, points might double.
Also, the rewards can be influenced by the type of games played. For example, slot games can have higher rewards compared to table games. This will vary between the different casinos.
Both types of privilege programmes have their advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest advantage of the deposit-based structure is that the types of games will not influence your rewards. However, if you like the excitement of tracking your progress, the wager-based structure could offer more entertainment value.
The Types of Rewards and Bonuses UK VIP Programmes Award
Casinos in the United Kingdom offer a wide array of VIP bonuses. Once VIP status is reached, players are rewarded for their loyalty with generous bonuses. Let's take a look at the most common VIP bonuses available in the country today.
Match bonuses: These are presented in the VIP programmes as VIP Bonuses, High roller bonuses, Weekly VIP Bonuses, and Monthly VIP bonuses. These are essentially the same type of match bonus players get upon sign-up. However, usually, the VIP bonuses are more generous, with an improved wagering requirement.
Free bonuses: These are essentially a gift from the casino to the player. These can be given as Free Cash or Free Spins. Free bonuses are given when the player reaches a certain target. These can be level-up bonuses, performance bonuses, or level maintenance bonuses.
VIP rewards: These are reserved for the highest levels, and do not depend on a player's level of wagering or deposits. Let’s take a look at commonly available VIP bonuses offered by UK casinos.
Cashback: Cashback bonuses are a favourite of high rollers. This type of bonus definitely keeps players coming back for more. The way it works is that the casino gives you back a certain percentage of your losses. However, whether cash back bonuses can go along with wagering or not. The rules vary from casino to casino.
Gifts: These are freebies given away by the casinos on different personal occasions such as the player's anniversary. Gifts can also be given when a player level's up, special VIP gifts, and weekly and monthly loyalty gifts.
Many VIP gifts are based on a player's personal preference. For high rollers, gifts are granted after a discussion with the personal account manager. VIP account managers often set targets for high rollers to achieve, for very generous gifts such as holidays. These targets are set on weekly or monthly deposit or wager amounts. High-rollers prefer this type of bonus; it circumvents the hassle of achieving more ordinary bonuses and gets them what they really want. Some of the favourite high roller bonuses are cashback rewards, faster money withdrawals, and personal account managers.
Before you begin playing, look through the various offers, to decide the best casino's VIP Programmes for you.
UKGC and BGC Set a Code of Conduct for Casino VIP Programs
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have set a zero-tolerance code of conduct to prevent VIP account malpractice.
In a report entitled “The Gambling Industry’s Code of Conduct for High-Value Customer VIP Reward Programs”, the government regulatory authorities have summarized the proposed actions to counterbalance what they deem risky VIP practices. These include restricting access to VIP programmes for anyone under the age of 25. Also, the report called for increased monitoring of spending, improved due diligence, and a higher level of accountability for the senior managers in charge of the VIP programmes.
Furthermore, the intensity of play such as removing turbo buttons and slowing the speed of spin has been implemented. Further efforts to shield children and adolescents from online gambling advertising will also be made.
Formerly known as “VIP Schemes”, some industry experts have accused casino operators of fostering gambling addiction through such programmes. Showering players prone to addiction with free gifts only led them to rack up thousands of pounds of losses.
Some have called VIP programmes a predatory practice, designed to increase and maintain a gambling addiction. Sadly, suicide is sometimes the final end to gambling addiction.
However, a spokesperson for GVC said the company is committed to providing “the safest possible gambling environment.”, and, “regarding our VIP customers, as in any industry we want to make sure that our regular and most loyal customers have the best possible service.” Moreover, VIP players on GVC platforms are subjected to enhanced checks on their source of income, and affordability.
UK Gambling Commission Threatened to Ban VIP Programmes
UKGC threatened to ban casino reward programmes if the new guidelines were not followed.
To help casinos successfully implement the new Code, the UKGC ad BGC released a list of guidelines to help operators make the necessary changes. The most important change is to establish transparent and clearly worded practices that can be ambiguously overseen by regulators.
Also, each casino is to be subjected to a thorough VIP Reward Program Assessment and continued monitoring and reviews. Casino operators must also ensure that all the code is also followed by affiliate partners.
Casino operators must also ensure that they do not incentivize their VIP Reward Programme employees by offering them bonuses for attracting more customers and encouraging them to spend more.
The new guidelines also require operators to appoint a senior executive to oversee the firm's VIP programme, who holds a personal management license.
Before any casino makes a player a VIP member, it must:
- Ensure that leisure spending is affordable and sustainable for the player
- Evaluate whether there is a heightened risk of gambling-related harm
- Have up to date player identity, employment, and source of funds
- Conduct regular gambling harm checks on each player
This is all in alignment with safe gambling practices and consumer protection. Following the implementation of these rules in October 2020, VIP enrollment plunged by 70% at UK casinos.
Betway Pays £11.6 Million for Violations Associated with 'VIP' Players
A UKGC investigation found that Betway failed in its duty to conduct affordability and income checks, allowing £5.8m suspected to be proceeds of crime, to flow through its system. The majority of the £11.6 million fine will be paid to victims.
In one case, Betway did not conduct source of funds checks on a VIP player who had more than £8 million in deposits, losing more than £4 million, over four years. In another case, the firm failed to conduct robust social responsibility checks with a player who deposited £187,000 and lost it all in just two days.
“The actions of Betway suggest the firm has little regard for the welfare of its VIP players or the impact that irresponsible has on those around them,” said Richard Watson, executive director of the UK Gambling Commission.
Other large fines the Gambling Commission meted out include £5.9 million for Ladbrokes Coral Group and £7.1 million for Daub Alderbey. William Hill was fined £6.2 million for failing to follow money laundering and social responsibility regulations.
Needless to say, the UK Gambling Commission expects its license holders to uphold a high standard of social responsibility. When it comes to its VIP players, casinos are expected to not only issue generous bonuses but also look after the well-being of their players.
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