May 2009
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Gala Casino shoots itself in the other foot

Not content with giving away money through three very playable bonus offers every week, Gala have just announced the following change to their cashier system that’s going to cost them even more:

Improvements to the “Cashier” function will display funds within 2 wallets – a Casino/Sports balance and a Poker balance.  [ … ] We’ve just made things easier for you – and there’s no need to transfer funds from one wallet to another!

If you want to apply for one of our bonuses, please make sure that you enter the bonus code when depositing, as you will no longer be able to transfer funds and enter the bonus code at that point.

Until now there were three separate balances; Casino and Sports both in pounds and Poker in US Dollars.

Admittedly, their cashier has always been a little clunky, so any change that results in players needing to use it less often is probably a smart move.

Now rather than keeping my balance in Gala and simply transferring money back and forth, entering each daily bonus code to qualify for that chunk of free money, I’m going to have to use a debit card several times every week.

Although the option to enter a bonus code still seems to be available for transfers between Casino/Sports and Poker, this will involve an exchange into US Dollars and back again and, inevitablly, the punter will pay commission both ways.

The more attractive option is to make a £10 qualifying deposit on Friday for Blackjack, one on Saturday for Roulette and another on Monday for Three Card Poker, then withdraw it all after playing the Monday bonus.  Rinse and repeat.

It costs Gala nothing to transfer money from one virtual pot to another, but as soon as a bank is involved they’re going to be paying a fee with every transaction.  For gambling transactions, those fees are pretty steep.

So while I’m sure it was their intention to encourage players to put money into their accounts in exchange for the bonus, what they’ve actually ended up doing is paying four lots of transaction fees in addition to giving away an expected value of about £22/week.

My main worry is that their systems will be set to detect repeated deposits and withdrawals and flag them for inspection – whereas shifting money around between their online accounts would not arouse any suspicion.

I’ll still be making hay while the sun shines though, and if you’re not already taking advantage of these bonuses, get them before Gala works out how much they are costing!