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Reason I like Bovada #2:

Good Odds

Bovada online casino ad

The odds are always against you when you gamble, so it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds. I spent some time looking for an online casino with good odds, and I found it in Bovada. Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

It's disappointing that most online casinos are greedy when setting the odds on their games. They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong. Most gamblers eventually gamble away all their playing budget anyway. They're going to lose the same amount of money no matter what, the only question is how long it takes them to do so. And when they play at a tight casino and lose quickly, they're less likely to return.

A casino which offers good odds will make just as much money as a tight casino, because the players will usually gamble away whatever they deposit anyway, no matter what the odds. The only difference is that with better odds, they'll get to play longer before they go bust. And that means they had more fun in the process, and they're more likely to return.

Bovada is one of they few casinos that understands this. They offer games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer. Among their offerings are:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

You don't have to play at Bovada, but wherever you play, make sure they offer odds at least this good!

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.

Try their blackjack for free.
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Gambling problem?
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Gambling Problem?
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Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling

Warning: Betsoft jackpot issues

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Gambling Problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling



Posted:  June 24, 2016 • Last update: Jan. 29, 2017

Summary

  1. Betsoft makes the games for several online casinos.
  2. The progressive jackpots on certain Betsoft slots can't actually be won, because of what I believe to be a programming error.  (Or, at least, they couldn't be won when I started my investigation. It's possible that Betsoft finally fixed the problem, but they're not talking and I'm no longer investigating.)
  3. In addition, Betsoft denied a winning payout on a progressive jackpot using the absurd excuse that the winning spin occurred during a bonus round.
  4. My advice:  Don't make max bets on Betsoft slots with progressive jackpots.  The ones I know of are:
    • At the Copa
    • Good Girl / Bad Girl
    • Greedy Goblins
    • Mr. Vegas
    • Slot Angels
    • The Glam Life
    • Treasure Room
    • Tycoons

  5. Betsoft completely ignored Casino Listings' inquiries about the non-winnable jackpots issue.  I inquired to Bovada which said they were working on the issue with Betsoft, but their handling of the issue was both slow and incomplete.  However, one day after I told Bovada that they should pull the affected games, I noticed that they quietly did so.  Then a couple weeks later, they announced to the players that they were pulling all Betsoft games. They rolled over the progressive jackpot amounts into existing games.
  6. I'm continuing to advertise Bovada because, even with this jackpot issue, there's no better online casino for U.S. players.  (Other casinos either don't take U.S. players, or they sometimes deny payouts, or they don't have web-browser-based games, or they have browser games but force you to register an account even to play those games even with fake money.)  Before Bovada pulled the Betsoft games, I qualified my recommendation of Bovada by prominently warning readers about the jackpot issue in all the advertising.

Timeline

  • (All posts referenced below are in the Casinomeister thread unless otherwised noted.)
  • 09/28/15:  A player posts on Casino Listings that certain progressive jackpots on Bovada appear to be unwinnable.
  • 12/28/15:  A player posts on Casinomeister that certain progressive jackpots at Bovada appear to be unwinnable, along with his evidence, which is jackpot data from Casino Listings.  He'd already written to Bovada, which denied any kind of problem.  (He also alleges that Bovada is "keeping the money for themselves", which I don't believe to be the case.  I think the games are simply broken.)
  • 01/04/16:  The player discovers that the problem isn't limited to Bovada, indicating that the problem is with the Betsoft software.
  • 02/14/16:  The editor at Casino Listings (CL-Ed) posts on Casino Listings that, "All our inquires to Betsoft were ignored. Bodog / Bovada more or less said 'its the luck of the draw'."
  • 02/28/16:  CL-Ed contacts Bovada's affiliate department, for the second or third time, this time sending a very detailed email message about the problems, along with numbers.
  • 03/02/16:  Casinomeister asks his Bovada rep to comment on the issue.  They don't.
  • March 2016:  CL-Ed tries to follow up with Bovada a few more times but gets nowhere.
  • 05/28/16:  I become aware of the issue via the Casinomeister thread.  I ask the Casinomeister if he's received a response from Bovada.  He says that they'd gotten back to him right away, telling him that they'd be releasing a statement soon, but that was nearly three months ago.
  • 05/30/16:  I look into the issue a bit more, and post a summary of the issue.  I write to the Bovada rep at Casinomeister asking for an explanation.  They never reply.
  • 06/12/16:  The editor of Casino Listings, whose data helped the OP discover the issue, is made aware of the thread on Casinomeister and joins the discussion.  He says that he's contacted Betsoft and Bovada multiple times.  Betsoft never replies, and Bovada says there's nothing wrong with the games.
  • 06/13/16:  CL-Ed posts about a bug he found in the progressive contributions to Betsoft games.  While this particular bug doesn't affect the chances of winning, it's evidence sloppy programming, which is further reason to be skeptical of Betsoft games.  CL-Ed says he made Bovada aware of the issue months ago, but the problem still exists.
  • 06/15/16:  Bovada finally makes a public statement, in the Casinomeister thread, but only to reiterate that the provider says the games are good and that, "We can assure you that we have done our due diligence regarding this matter."  I reply, pointing out that the reply is incomplete, and asking three pointed questions: (1) Who sets the jackpot odds (Betsoft or Bovada), (2)  why are the jackpot odds different between Bovada and Slots.lv (both run by Bovada), and (3) what are the jackpot odds of the games in question?  They never reply.
  • 06/15/16:  CL-Ed editor posts some more data, and calls the slots "highly questionable".  His data allows me to do some more analysis, and I post my conclusions.  I conclude that the jackpot odds on the Bad Girl games that have been won are 1 in 20,000, but Bad Girl 5¢ at Bovada has been played nearly six million times without hitting.
  • 06/16/16:  CL-Ed says, "At a minimum I believe that they should be pulling these games until the problem is identified and fixed. Chalking this up to random luck and dismissing the issue is not good enough."
  • 06/19/16:  A player (Jason) posts on Bitcoin Talk that Betsoft denied his winning jackpot at Betcoin.Ag.  The player placed a maximum bet and landed five jackpot symbols on the payline during free spins mode on a 50¢ machine, which should have won the progressive jackpot.  Betsoft first said it didn't count because a "max bet" means he would have had to play the $1 denomination.  (Ridiculous, since each denomination has its own jackpot.)  When the player pointed this out, Betsoft then inexplicably said that landing the jackpot symbols during the free spins mode doesn't count.
  • 06/19/16:  CL-Ed posts about Jason's experience:  "Enough is enough. I am convinced that Betsoft games are crooked (whether by design or accident) and advise everyone to avoid them entirely."
  • 06/21/16:  I post qualifiers on all the ads for Bovada on VegasClick, telling players not to play the progressive slots there (not just the Betsoft ones, because most players won't know which slots are Betsoft and which aren't).
  • 06/22/16:  I calculate that the odds that Bovada's Bad Girl 5¢ jackpot hasn't hit are 1 in x, where x is greater than the number of atoms in the universe.  I write to my affiliate account rep at Bovada, detailing the unwinnable jackpots issue, and asking to whom I should speak about it.
  • 06/23/16:  Bovada replies to me.  I presume I can't share the details of what they told me, but the gist is that Betsoft continues to insist that the games are good, and Bovada says they're continuing to work on the issue with Betsoft "daily".  I tell Bovada in no uncertain terms that they should pull the Betsoft games and refund the money of players who contributed to the progressives on the affected games.  I also tell them they should immediately publicly post a much more thorough explanation, along with timeframes of what action they intend to take. 
  • 06/24/16:  Casino Listings posts a detailed warning on its site, telling players to stay away from any Betsoft games.  I publish this page here.   I check Bovada.lv and notice that all the Betsoft slots with progressive jackpots have been quietly removed.   (And remember yesterday I told them that's exactly what they should do, pending getting answers from Betsoft.)  Looks like something is finally happening....
  • 06/25/16:  A player notices that Betsoft has changed the paytable on The Glam Life to say that the jackpot "cannot be won during any other [sic] bonus feature", and posts a screenshot.  Also, I notice that Casino Listings shows that the Bad Girl 25¢ jackpot at Bovada, which had previously seemed unwinnable, was reseeded June 24 at 4:30am CT.  It's not clear whether someone actually won it, or if Bovada or Betsoft just reset it, because as usual, they're not saying.
  • 06/27/16:  I ask Casinomeister to put Betsoft in the Rogue category, and to issue a Warning about Betcoin.ag.
  • 06/28/16:  Casinomeister issues a Warning about Betsoft, advising players to avoid their [progressive] jackpot games.
  • 06/29/16:  Casinomeister issues a Warning about Betcoin.ag, advising players to avoid them.
  • 07/05/16:  Bovada sends its players an email message with a long list of games that will no longer be available.  They're all Betsoft games, though Bovada didn't identify them as such.  The message apologizes because Bovada knows that "a number of these games featured progressive jackpots that were very popular", but in fact the progressive games were not in the list.  (e.g., Good Girl Bad Girl, The Glam Life)  This appears to be a mistake, with Bovada listing the remaining games that were pulled after they initially pulled the progressive games on 6/24.  (I notify Bovada of the discrepancy.)  The message says that Bovada is looking for replacement games, and will give more details later in the week.  Since Bovada has removed the Betsoft games, I remove the qualifiers from the advertisements on VegasClick.
  • 07/08/16:  Bovada emails its players announcing that they're increasing the jackpots of their remaining progressive slots by $1.25M.  They're apparently taking the progressive contributions from the Betsoft slots that were removed and moving them to the games they still have.  If Betsoft is the one that collected the progressive contributions and hasn't refunded them to Bovada (we don't know, but both are possibilities), then Bovada is funding this out of its own pocket, which is commendable.  So technically, all money contributed by players to the progressives will be returned to the players through jackpot wins.  But still, this doesn't seem like the best solution, because many players fed the jackpots when it seems they had no chance of winning.  Therefore, the best solution would be to return the progressive jackpot contributions to those players.  It's possible that that data isn't available to mine, though.  But we'll never know, because Bovada isn't saying.  For that matter, they still haven't officially confirmed that the Betsoft slots were horked in the first place.  So, if Bovada continues to keep mum about the issue, I think there will be no more updates, and this is the end of the road.
  • 7/11/16:  Bovada adds six new slots to its lineup, all by Spinomenal, likely to replace the lost Betsoft games.  I think this marks Spinomenal's entry to Bovada, but I haven't had time to check every slot.  I do note that the Spinomenal games don't work in free mode on Safari for Mac, at Bovada and other casinos.  They work in Safari in real-money mode, and they work in Firefox in both free and real modes.
  • 1/29/17:  Casinomeister gives its 2106 "Head in the Sand Award" to Betsoft for its lack of action and communication on the locked jackpot issue, and goes on to lament that lots of casinos are still blissfully using Betsoft software, seemingly unconcerned.

The Evidence

  1. Casino Listings tracks jackpots at Bovada and Slots.lv (when they hit, how much they hit for, and minute-by-minute values).  That's the basis of all the analysis.
  2. Bad Girl 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢ all routinely hit at Slots.lv (Bovada's sister casino), but have never been won at Bovada since Casino Listings started tracking them many months ago.  This could be explained only by a broken game (likely), or that the casino can set the jackpot odds on the game.  Bovada implied to me that they can't set the odds themselves, which means the answer is: broken game.
  3. Looking at the data of when the Slots.lv jackpots hit (and the Bovada denominations that don't exhbit the problem), I conclude that the odds of hitting the Bad Girl jackpot are about 1 in 20,000.  But Bad Girl 5¢ at Bovada has been played around 5.6 million times without hitting.  If the jackpot odds are 1 in 20k (which all evidence suggests), and if I've done my math right, the chances that it hasn't hit are 1 in 17,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.  That's more than the number of atoms in the universe. (More on the jackpot odds.)
  4. In February 2016, several Bovada slots went from routinely hitting about once a day to not hitting at all for weeks, then all the slots were suddenly winnable again.  If that happened for even one slot machine that would be extremely suspicious, but the fact that it happened on multiple machines, with the dates that they went unwinnable and then became winnable again corresponding exactly, tells us unequivocally that this is a smoking gun.
As a final note, people sometimes allege that I'm an apologist for Bovada since I take advertising from them.  I hope the fact that I'm warning people away from their progressive slots, and calling them out on their inadequate response to the issue, shows that, as always, I put the player first.  Bovada has been my favorite for years, and I'm very sad that they dropped the ball on this one.  I hope they can turn things around.


Bovada's message, July 8, 2016


This is the message that Bovoda sent to its players on July 8, 2016.

Hi Michael,

As promised, we have news for you regarding our recent changes to our casino game lineup and the resulting impact to our progressive jackpot offering. We know how popular some of these progressive jackpot games are for our players and so to help make up for those games, over the coming weeks we'll be adding extra amounts in total of $1.25M to a number of our own jackpot games.    

Today, the three games below will have these amounts added to their current progressive jackpots:     

For desktop players:
  • Food Fight: $185,000
  • Super Diamond Mine: $125,000
For mobile and download:
  • Jackpot Piñatas: $187,500
On Monday July 11, we will begin to distribute another $750,000 across select games by increasing the starting jackpot amounts from $1000 to $5000 per jackpot, and matching jackpot contributions by an additional 1% per wager. This will continue until the $750,000 figure has been met.  The games offering these elevated jackpots are:
  • Bulletproof Babes
  • Sevens and Stripes
  • Caesar's Empire
  • Aztec's Treasure
  • Cleopatra's Gold
  • Dirty Martini
 
We thank you for your continued support, please stay tuned for exciting new game releases in the coming months as we continue our search to provide you with games of the highest possible quality and entertainment.     

Sincerely,

Bovada Customer Service