About Leopold Friesen, Player and Affiliate Activist
Interview with Leopold Friesen.

My name is Leopold Friesen, I am from Waldershof in Germany. I was born in 1950 in an era where many things were concealed in my country because of World War II. This shaped me into the human being I am today. I know, one can’t only trust things on the surface just because the surface is shiny and beautiful. The poisoned apple of Snow White is a warning example.

I’ve been playing roulette for a few decades now, so it’s not surprising that my family found its way into the online casino industry and also to the advertising programs. It’s so exciting to watch the processes over the years, and you have to know, that we were webmasters from the very first days since the online casinos made their appearance over the Internet.

The first casino was Cyber Thrill, a scam. So we were victims directly after the beginning, and I decided later to help other people experienced payment problems as a gambler or webmaster. Actually, the cake is big enough in this industry, but the hunger of some people is almost insatiable and mixes up the balance. Perhaps this is the reason I why I champion the cause of players.

There are literally thousands of online casinos. Before you sign up with a new site are there certain criteria you have a look at? I read in some of your posts at GPWA that German Law differs from most other countries’ when it comes to gambling onling?

If I am honest it’s very important for me to see a phone number. Of course, we have Skype and email in this century but there is nothing that is so real and clear like a phone call. And there is no difference between an online casino or a casino affiliate program. If there is no phone number listed, it’s not a “no” signal but I feel better to see one.

The character of a casino or program is easy to discover. You only have to read the terms. I am sure that 2 of 3 players or webmasters don’t read the terms and believe in the celestial beauty of blue sky. Also when the wind blows and light rain falls, the green in the garden still gains in intensity. Only after the moment the first dead birds drops from the sky, directly on the head, some wake up and are horrified to notice that dreaming is free of charge but not real life. Because of tricky or nearly criminal terms a lot of gamblers and webmasters don’t get paid. This can only be described as madness.

Germany is a toothless tiger. Every online casino is available to German gamblers because there is nothing they have to fear. No online casino owner will be arrested. There is no proxy to censor the traffic. No German player was ever sentenced for online gambling that is prohibited by our criminal code. Why German gambling law is a laughingstock? Because our real casinos are not allowed to do anything to get new players, no advertising on TV or newspapers, nothing! But the cheating gambling halls, that pop up like mushrooms, will be protected by the government, and the German owner of this gambling hall empire (Inter alia: Merkur slot machines) is making deals with well-known casino software providers. The same casinos that are using it are officially not allowed in Germany because of the online gambling laws! As I said: It’s madness!

People from Asia are gamblers by nature but Europe is the real homeland of roulette. For centuries until 10-15 years ago roulette was the most popular game in Germany. It’s the game for well-off players, and there is no other game with so many system ideas like roulette. Today slots is the most popular game because of the demise of the real casinos here. Most roulette experts are dead or too old to share their knowledge. An era is coming to an end.

The same happened to Blackjack. After the Ian Speakman case in 1998 and the introduction of shuffle machines in Europe, blackjack has became very unpopular in Germany. Today it’s the third most popular game just after slots and roulette.

How would you sum up the industry do you feel it’s properly regulated? If it was within your power how would you regulate it?

The aim of regulation online gambling is to fill the government’s cash box. There is no deeper sense, because I have never heard about a real casino gambler who was banned by the casino because of his addiction. Only if a gambler has banned himself or a member of his family yelled about the misery at the casino reception bar, the hypocritical protection of addicted gamblers will work.

One example: Here in Germany they missed a big chance. We have had two real casinos operating also online (Wiesbaden and Hamburg) but the trade union said, that this is not good for the dealer in the real casinos. The government joined the bandwagon and some years later any online gambling in Germany has been prohibited. And today? The real casinos are lonely places in Germany and real casino dealer from other countries like e.g. Ireland can receive their share from the online tip and online success.

There is no question, that without addicted players in every casino the birds stop singing. But from the view of science we all are addicted, the biochemical processes in our brain (endorphins) are the reason why the majority of the gamblers will lose more than the mathematical house edge. We are all doped by nature, and those of us, who can take control over it are the happy ones.

So the key argument for regulation (combat addiction to gambling) is a fata morgana. In reality it’s a rerouting the money trains directly into the governent’s golden halls and finally weakening and eliminating competitors.

If I would have the power to regulate, then every real casino of any country is allowed to go online, because for most players it would be nice to play in his own country online and “only” online casinos have to face this news international competition. The industry (e.g. every forum) must follow a new code of ethic and ban every black sheep, no matter if it is a sponsor or not. Otherwise they have to pay a fine of $50.000 for a good purpose. Black sheeps should not be allowed to visit conferences. Next fine! Who is a black sheep? This will be judged by an external commision, consisting of criminologists, laywers and consumer protectors.

Do you read any books on gambling? Does your website/s offer valuable tips to players? Are there any portal casinos you admire? If so, what sets them apart from other portals?

In early years I read a lot of books on gambling. Later I recognized, why so much different books exist. I will show you the reason with one example: A Blackjack card counter can win with a 2% advantage over the casino. But there is a big problem: He can run after his cash for more than 6 months because a 2% advantage doesn’t mean that he will win this profit every day. Especially Blackjack produces very long losing streaks, and so for many card counters it was better to write books about card counting instead eating dry bread with margarine for 6 months. They are still experts and winners, but our lifetime is too short to compensate the capers of chance events.

On my website (http://www.roulettezeitung.com | Roulette Zeitung – “Zeitung” is the German word for “Newspaper”. I publish unique articles about gambling especially Roulette but also about gambling math, empirical researches, phenomena and background knowledge about real casinos. My readers should know which progression or game play is to light up the fuel tank with a lighter.

My own view is that the impact of gambling tends not to be as bad as opponents argue ahead of time but also not as good as proponents argue ahead of time. From a research perspective, a critical issue is that so few governments actually track the impact over time so that harms can be minimized and mitigated. That is what we are trying to do right now in Massachusetts.

A really great portal is a website, where you will find things, you’ve never seen before. Banner farms, pseudo content, that is only made for SEO and not for the audience, the same stories e.g. about the green, grinning pig in the corner, that was seen in a casino by a player, intoxicated by hitting Zero three times in a row, are not new, not refreshing and no sign of a great portal. There are thousand ways to entertain or inspire the readers. Real and no fabricated interviews are one way to receive applause, quite rightly.

As a seasoned affiliate, what advice would you give to new players? In your reviews do you recommend the deposit bonus to new players? If the wagering requirements attached to the bonus is steep will you still recommend it?

Bonus found it’s way into the online casino business to be more attractive to players. In my country you can be happy if you will get from the real casino a cup of coffee free of charge or a ball pen that is working for at least 2 days.

The last years welcome bonus and other bonus from online casinos became higher and higher, but on the other side more and more games are excluded from wagering requierements, and in most cases e.g. roulette players are in danger, because if they accept the bonus, win good money and want to cashout, they soon being left out in the cold.

It’s no surprise that 9 out of 10 players don’t read the terms, and some casinos became evil in abusing this behaviour. So a good piece of advice, if a player loves playing roulette, open a player account but before making any deposit contact the live chat or support via email and say to them that you are not interested in any bonus, not even the welcome bonus. This should be valid now and for the future. After confirmation the player is ready for his first deposit.

The wagering requirement is simple math. If there is an average house edge of 2,5% for the casino, a wagering requierement of 40x bonus is enough to eleminate the financial worth of the bonus. Only 40x the bonus! If the casino ”forces” the player to wager the bonus and deposit sum 40x, then this is a very nice extra income for the online casino. The player is better off playing in a real casino to protect the real worth of his deposit.

Many extra bonus terms are tricky, filled with hidden pitfalls, and players want to have fun and no anger. Most complaints are bonus issues, and some terms are build on a pedestal of money greed. The majority of players don’t read the terms. They want to trust the online casino as they trust real casinos.

My suggestion is, before you open an account, test the live chat and if available make a phone call and ask some questions. Let your feelings decide and not blinking bonus graphics. Most secrets are lying in the cellar. Find the key, and believe me: Hearing a real voice is the safe way to the key maker.who is able to answer all questions.

When it comes to casino licenses which jurisdiction/s is your favourite and why would you say so?

I have a problem with casino licenses, It’s no secret some of them are homemade by offshore strawmen. Some so-called “regulators” are a joke because if the uncle is controlling his nephew in essence it’s better to stop these license madness.

The whole industry is under control by a fistful of rich men and some smaller countries, and everything will be done to prevent civil lawsuits of players. This business is a jack of all trades device. So I have no favourite jurisdiction because under light of day there is no real protection for players. Only public pressure e.g. in forums is a way to change some things to the favor of the weakest link in the chain: The player who pays for everything!

Do you gamble online to test the casino’s software to get a ”feel” for a specific game/s before you write a review on it? If so, which game/s are your favourite and why?

In the early days of online gambling no randomness exist, only pseudo random numbers were generated e.g. by an infinite loop. Today true randomness can be generated by atmospheric noise or radioactive decay. Your computer and all programs (e.g. Excel) also only work as a pseudo random number generator and are worthless for testing gambling systems or any event of accidents for the long run.

My opinion; if there is a live dealer then you are more likely on the safe side. Of course, it’s possible to prerecord the handling of nice women, playing tenderly with roulette ball and cards, but the Milli Vanilli incident show the risk. Imagine, only one single player on Earth is watching a loop! The internet will be flooded with this story within one month.

It’s a fact, that everyone were able to buy an own online casino, and there was a function to adjust the casino income, adjusting the house edge as you want. You see, everything is possible.

The big software providers are clean. However, if there is a single casino and if you search for the name of their slot machines with Google and can’t find any other casino that is using exactly these games, then run away because it’s not kosher.

Which segment of the casino industry does your website/s primarily focus on, i.e casinos, sports betting, live casinos, poker or mobile?

My website focus on casinos- real and virtual casinos- and especially everything about roulette. My opinion is that a website owner should only write about things he or she has an idea of. The readers are no click cows.

Moreover: In modern times the bounce rate is very important to Google, and if SEO crap or worthless content will be presented to the audience, then there is no need to stay more than 10 seconds on the page.

If you’re making good money with an online casino and it turns ”rogue”, will you still promote it or give up you income and blacklist it across various forums?

There is always a reason if a program turns rogue. If a single affiliate manger, who believe, he is the reborn Julius Caesar at once or a stoned representative is the reason for it, then we must heal them through smart and unmasking discussions on public places e.g. a forum.

But if the whole program turns rogue because money greed is rampant and the persons mainly responsible have not a spark of decency then I will first call the persons, and if there is no solution, then I avert my gaze and stop promotion. Who read my public posts and articles, quickly become aware who is evil and who is a pearl.

O.k it’s my opinion and my opinions are cemented by facts.

There’s quite a couple of forums for casino affiliates. Which forums are your favourite, why would you say so?

This is almost a philosophical question since no independent forum exist. The last few years I saw many strange things in some forums, that we all have to understand, that only a complete sponsor or banner free forum would give the right answers at any time to all questions or concerns. As long money is the main language in a forum don’t expect too much.

For me as a German one thing is the worst: Censorhip! If a forum is earning money with sponsors and banners. Censoring the becomes a sign of weakness, stupidity and ignorance, because everyone can work out the advantages for twaddlers and also for rogue programs on five fingers.

In my experience there is no independent forum, the writer should publish his concerns or thoughts at places, where he can be sure to speak to a large audience. There is no question, that the GPWA is the forum leader in this industry. I have my own personal thread there in the fun area, my own lucid diary, it covers uncomfortable truths but also incredible nonsense.

I believe, that it’s no fault to bring GPWA back down to Earth from time to time because if you launch to the stars higher than anybody else, then you forget the force of weightlessness, and the journey can change into a sluggish coach ride. Re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere sometimes is a good wake up call for the staff to remember, that In space you can’t buy anything with money, and that silence is the only conversation partner.

If a casino refuses to pay the player how would you assist the player in getting paid? If there’s anything that we haven’t covered in this interview and you’d like to add it please feel free to do so.

Oh, in the last years I have had a lot of conversations with robbed players. In one case a woman was crying on the phone because her regular winnings was stolen by an unscrupulous casino manager. I promised to fight against this casino and I’m a man of my word. Today this shabby robbers’ den is meaningless due to effective public warnings especially in my country. The casino is a dead tree hit by an armada of lightnings.

For some casinos players are outlaws. Online casinos act offshore, most times jurisdiction is outside of player’s homeland, and if you want to sue a casino you must investigate the owner’s identity. A cubic system of strawmen makes it almost impossible to discover the real name. This anonymity is no problem as long the casinos act honestly.

The only chance for players is the public pressure. That is the only language everyone understand. It will not work all days, but you will be surprised, very often.

You are asking me, if there is anything else I have so say?

There are thousand pictures in my mind I could talk about but one thing is really important: No matter what you are reading in this industry be it at forums or other places, what you read or hear on TV in everyday life, optimise your ethical compass by continuously and critically questioning everything, yes…everything! To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Spock: “Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”