Pelicans are quite interesting. They are gregarious birds reliant upon their flock; hunt cooperatively; nest and breed in colonies; swim as well as they fly…
…and symbolize responsibility, reliability, generosity, friendliness.
The ancient legend of a mother pelican that wounds herself with the beak to feed offspring with her blood, preventing starvation during famine, paints these birds as selfless and caring.
It is a national bird in several countries and the state bird of Louisiana, where it's part of the official nickname — the Pelican State. So, how could such a creature be associated with online operators who exercise the exact opposite of these noble qualities?
Just as the relationship between humans and pelicans is often contentious — people persecute them as competitors to commercial fishing, shrink their population by habitat destruction or pollution, disturb nesting colonies through expansion…
…so is our attitude toward pirated games, dubious online jurisdictions, and disregard for player safety and the overall fairness of gambling.
While we certainly hope that social awareness of these beautiful birds will result in a meaningful and balanced coexistence, we cannot and should not feel the same when it comes to rogue operators.
The latest one is Pelican Casino - pelican-casino.com - featuring fake versions of slot games from no less than 11 reputable providers:
- Merkur Gaming,
- Apollo and
As our investigative team got to work, the only dilemma was — who’s going to be Julia Roberts and who’ll be Denzel Washington as we bring you this Pelican Brief, hopefully well before another Sam Shepard gets blown away.
Of course, the habitat of Pelican Casino is well known — the marshes of Curaçao jurisdiction. According to the website, the operator holds a license issued by Cyberluck (1668/JAZ), one of the largest Master License holders in this Caribbean country.
Regardless of poor reputation, lack of transparency, more than a dozen occasions when casinos within this jurisdiction have been caught using fake games — all operators compliant with CIGA (Curaçao Internet Gaming Association) must have their validation seal on the website’s footer.
Casinos are required by Curaçao eGaming to display such a clickable icon. It leads directly to the validation page that shows the current status of a license and general information on a licensee.
A few good casinos registered in Curaçao have their quality seal displayed and functional.
Unfortunately, Pelican Casino does not meet such a legal prerequisite.
“Guys, make a note here: when you come across a brand licensed in this jurisdiction, look for the validation seal; if it’s not there, more often than not it’s a fishy affair,” Julia murmurs, knowing all too well that a classy lady always speaks softly.
Sticky, Stinking Quagmire
Similar disproportion in terms of putting players in subaltern position is notable in Pelican’s bonus terms.
If the patron is somehow identified as “fraud, unfair [in] using of the Bonus Policy or using (development) of a winning strategy,” the company reserves the right to refuse a bonus, to cancel the bonus or winning funds. Furthermore, the casino is “not obligated to refund you any funds that may be on your account in addition to the initial deposit amount minus the commission costs ranging from 20% to 50%.”
“Why don’t I get the commission of 50 percent?” Denzel wondered out loud, writing down the note to remind all iGamers around the world of the importance of reading T&Cs carefully, no matter how tedious they are.
Also, while Pelican Casino states t they don’t accept patrons from the United States, Turkey, and Cyprus, our team was not blocked when international investigators logged-in from these countries.
To have a virtual brand reside in such marchland and feature one, two, even three fake games is, regrettably, no news today.
But to host counterfeits of genuine products from as many as eleven reputable providers is truly something, which is exactly what’s happening at Pelican Casino, as our engineers and game content managers found out.
All games from NetEnt, Microgaming, Amatic, Playtech, EGT, QuickSpin, Wazdan, Merkur, Novomatic, IGT, Apollo, and Aristocrat appear to be fake, hosted at casinovegas.org domain.
As we already noted, the server’s address is the only sure-fire sign patrons are playing the original and proprietary slots.
In the opposite case, it’s not a question of minor discrepancy, but a casino’s intention to get players stuck in quagmires, or mired in quicksand if you will, with no possible way out. Except not being there in the first place.
“I can’t keep repeating myself,” Julia exasperated.
Of course, she’s referring to a well-known fact that “online casinos licensed by Curaçao cannot offer Novomatic or Aristocrat software,” also another definite sign that the casino is caught red-handed.
Fake Microgaming game at Pelican Casino
Fake NetEnt game at Pelican Casino
Fake Novomatic game at Pelican Casino
Hunter Becomes the Hunted
What makes this case even more troubling is the fact that the majority of games look credulous, with a decent user interface, except for Novomatic games which are suspicious at first sight, with a rather different game menu.
Only by diving into the source code can players learn about the deceit. This is important and telling; it speaks about intention.
Then again, pelicans are cunning predators. They hunt in packs, corner their prey, plunge-dive to catch fish with bill-tips, then toss it in the air before the kill is caught again and slid into the gullet — head first.
“Well, I guess it’s a question of survival; I just never thought that nature and online gambling would become so similar in such a crude way,” Denzel concluded.
As far as players’ protection goes in such a survival game, there is but one way other than being vigilant and responsible — to play at reputable and approved casinos.
It’s perhaps depressing that one has to resort to such measure in the era of sweeping iGaming legalization and the emergence of responsible national regulators, but at the end of the day, forewarned is forearmed and when it comes to gambling, someone always has to be the prey.
There is a huge difference between ending with loss due to lack of skills or luck, and being deprived of any real chance to play a fair game.
Therefore, here at LCB, we’ll continue to relentlessly plunge into the ocean of online operators, pick up rogue ones and toss them into the public arena — head first — until some legislative measure deems them obsolete.
While it might be a long shot — “it’s almost too good to be true, as you said at the end of the movie,” Julia quips at Denzel, echoing the sentiment of realists — it surely does resonate with us and our purpose to deliver more value to the player.
Even if it means diving deep into marshlands and quagmires.