Loco Panda Casino Review
Loco Panda Casino was one of the Revenue Jet affiliate sites. It launched in 2012 with a certain amount of fanfare because the site had a slick design and an aggressive ad campaign with large welcome bonuses. Unfortunately, Loco Panda Casino gained a bad reputation within a couple of years of launching. All Revenue Jet websites had a similar reputation.
Revenue Jet, which was owned by Milore Limited, developed a bad reputation for slow payment, unfair terms and conditions, voided winnings, and shoddy customer service. The customer representatives were attentive and energetic, but they developed a reputation for delays, deceptions, and outright lies. In 2014, Revenue Jet was chosen as the CasinoMeister “Worst Casino Group.”
The same group might have won another “Worst” award for 2015, but by June 23 of that year, the company leaders had been arrested in their homeland of Israel. A few months later, the owners of Loco Panda Casino were extradited to the United States. They face 30 felony charges apiece in relation to serious charges stemming from a cyber-attack of a major American financial institution. The trial is expected to begin later in 2016.
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Loco Panda Casino Timeline
Loco Panda Launches
Loco Panda Casino has its grand opening. The site uses RTG software and is licensed in Curacao (or so they claimed).
No-Deposit Bonus Offers
Many players sign up for Loco Panda due to the offer of a $30 no-deposit bonus.
Gaining a Reputation
Loco Panda and the other Revenue Jet casinos are gaining a reputation for good bonuses, RTG software, and solid service. They want a trusting customer base.
Payment Process Falters
After making timely payments for a while, the service goes downhill quickly.
Worst Casino Group of 2014
Revenue Jet is named the Worst Casino Group of 2014 by CasinoMeister. Player complaints about payment were important, but lies about licensing in Curacao were key to CasinoMeister’s decision.
Loco Panda Owners Arrested
On June 23, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein are arrested in Israel in connection to a 2014 cyber-attack in the United States. It later is revealed Shalon and Orenstein own Loco Panda.
Revenue Jet Contacts Affiliates
The next day, Revenue Jet contacts affiliates and tells them the Revenue Jet and Affactive Media online casinos are closed and their domains have been seized by the US Justice Department. All sites, including Loco Panda, are closing.
No Resolution for Players
Two weeks after Revenue Jet websites close, a Loco Panda customer posts to AskGamblers. He says he cannot withdraw money or access the site. It is obvious customer service never sent out an email informing customers of their plight.
Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein are extradited to the United States from Israel. They are charged with crimes on November 10, 2015. Each faces 30 counts on various felony charges.
Still Awaiting Trial
Shalon, Orenstein, and American Anthony Murgio remain in jail awaiting trial. The trial is expected to begin in late 2016. A fourth suspect, American Joshua Aaron, remains on the loose.
Loco Panda Casino Launches
Loco Panda Casino launched in 2012 as a Real Time Gaming site licensed in Curacao. They accepted play from U.S. residents and accepted payment with top web wallets like Neteller, Skrill, Click2Pay, ClickandBuy, and EcoPayz. Visa and MasterCard were also available. With top support and a variety of deposit methods, Loco Panda Casino looked like a legitimate choice. For a while, it was.
No-Deposit Bonus Offers
In 2012 and 2013, Loco Panda Casino began offering a $30 no-deposit bonus. Player after player writes that this promotion convinced them to give the casino a try. Throughout 2012 and 2013, most online writers discussing the no-deposit bonus seemed to like the casino and have no complaints about cashing out. The honeymoon did not last.
In late 2013 and early 2014, Gamblers began to complain about predatory terms and conditions on the site. One of the main reasons for the T&C complaints was the use of policies to avoid paying winnings on anything won with the no-deposit bonus.
Worst Casino Group of 2014
Revenue Jet won the Worst Casino Group of 2014 from CasinoMeister. The trusted watchdog site noted that it received increasing complaints about Revenue Jet throughout 2014. When CasinoMeister began to investigate their licensing in Curacao, they found that the local regulators knew nothing about the site.
On the Meister Awards page, the Meister mentions,
“I called the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and they told me that no company by the name Milore Ltd. exists in Curaçao.” He added in the same post that Revenue Jet is connected directly to the notorious Affactive Group, and “If anyone tells you different, they are lying too.”
The pattern seems obvious. When the Affactive Media websites began to gain a bad reputation, the owners decided to launch a second affiliate network: Revenue Jet. This happened in 2012, and throughout 2012-13, the operating procedures at the casino were enough to gain it a good reputation. The flip switched in 2014 and the black hat methods appeared. Players quickly caught on to the scammer tactics, though many were harmed by Revenue Jet’s operating procedures.
According to CasinoMeister, the properties owned by Revenue Jet were OnBling Casino, Grand Parker Casino, Classy Coin Casino, Ruby Royal Casino, and Loco Panda Casino.
Ask Gambler Complaints
AskGamblers is a good place to research an online casino. There, a person can read real reviews from real customers. They also can see an aggregate of all the complaints, to see how many there are and what percentage were resolved.
Loco Panda Casino had 45 complaints in 2 & 1/2 years. 23 of those complaints were resolved, though AskGamblers marks “Resolved” when a player gives up and stop posting complaints. The average time it took to get a response was 4 days, while the average resolution time was 1 week. The average size of the complaint was $2,478.
May 2014 Complaint
On May 2014, DreamGuardian1 posted a complaint about the site’s service. Dream Guardian said he had liked Loco Panda at first, and they had paid his first $4,000 withdrawal with no trouble. Service began to degrade after that, though.
“After each additional win the pay times got longer and longer until eventually it was over a month till I saw my winnings, yet they took out my deposit within 2 seconds. When I complained directly to them via email, they shut down my account.”
Eventually, he threatened to sue the website, at which point they stopped answering the man’s emails at all. Dream Guardian posted his entire email conversation on CasinoMeister, while posting warnings to player on other top forums.
Partial Payment and Delay Tactics
In January 2015, bg1221 on AskGamblers wrote,
“If you win, they pay a partial portion of your withdraw amount only one time. Any further money withdrawals usually provokes Loco Panda to place your account under review for 60 business days. After the review is over…You still won’t get paid.”
The writer complained that the site “went downhill” in the past six months. It is possible that Revenue Jet would have sites employ “white hat” tactics for a while to build a reputation and a player community. Then they would start using black hat tactics to scam the players. Or it is possible bg1221 was simply losing for a while, so he did not notice the bad practices.
Raymond from Holland
In April 2015, Raymond, a poster from the Netherlands, said he was told he had to deposit more money to collect his winnings. That is an obvious scam, and the player actually doesn’t receive his cash. If a player get $1500 in winning at the same time they deposited $1500, then they really receive $0 in winnings.
Andrejlk A. from the Czech Republic
Andrejlk A., a poster from the Czech Republic, reported similar activity. In May 2015, Andrejlk posted about Loco Panda. He types,
“This is a scam….I’ve met the playthrough conditions. The result was $ 1,100 for possible selection. Support told me that I need to make a deposit. I was almost fooled when I found mention of the fact that these scammers. Wins are fake, after inserting the money he will not see neither their money nor win.”
No Customer Service
Svyturys is the most pitiful of all. Svyturys, who did not give a land of origin, posted on August 5, 2015 that he could not withdraw money. When he tried, he got an email telling him that he would need “to fill out their faxback form along with copies of personal documents” on June 20 (three days before the arrests). He posted on August 5 on AskGamblers, because he had been unable to receive his winnings. Svyturys wrote,
“I’m mailing them but I got answers that my mails can’t get to them, and the casino page is even not working.”
By that time, Loco Panda Casino was closed and its domain had been seized by the United States government. Affiliates had been alerted, but apparently, not all customers were informed of the situation. Svyturys received an email 15 days before, so his spam filter was not blocking emails. Loco Panda’s personnel couldn’t even be troubled to send out a form email to let its customers know the site was closed.
July 23rd Arrests in Israel and USA
Svyturys did not know that the owners of Loco Panda, a pair of Israeli men named Ziv Orenstein and Gery Shalon, had been arrested on July 23, 2015. Revenue Jet and Affactive Group website domains had been seized and player accounts were frozen. Account managers for the affiliate marketers tied to both networks were informed on July 24 of the arrests. All sites would be closed, effective immediately.
Evidence suggests that not all players (or maybe any players) were told of the situation. They had to learn through sites like AskGamblers and Casino Meister, or through the gaming media. The story of the arrest of Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein played on international news sites, but readers would have had a hard time connectioning those arrests to Loco Panda Casino.
Cyber-Attack on JP Morgan Database
Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were arrested in connection to a cyber-attack on the J.P. Morgan-Chase database the previous summer. JP Morgan-Chase is the largest private financial institution in the United States. Hacking the biggest bank in American triggered a massive response from US authorities, which meant Shalon and Orenstein were certain to be arrested.
At first, investigators believe the attack had been launched by state-supported hackers from the Russian Federation. They tracked the attack to Moscow. As they began to analyze the specific data probed, investigators decided it was an attempt to collect financial information. 76 million private accounts and 7 million small business accounts were hacked, in order to target those best suited as victims in a pump-and-dump investment scheme.
Once American cyber defense professionals realized it was a cyber-attack by private citizens, they began to work with authorities around the globe to find and incarcerate those men. With help from authorities in the Russian Federation and Israel, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were tracked down and arrested. An American accomplice, Anthony Murgio, was arrested on the same day in Florida. A second American accomplice, Joshua Aaron, remains at large.
Gery Shalon’s Boasts
Gery Shalon and Joshua Aaron convinced others to become involved in the scheme by telling them the US authorities could never reach them in Israel, even if they learned of the hack. They planned on buying penny stocks, pumping up the value of the stocks by selling to JP Morgan account holders, and then dumping their stocks on the market for a huge profit. They expected $100 million in profits at the very least.
Shalon and Aaron somehow overlooked that a cyber-attack on the 6th-largest corporation in the world would bring in investigators at the highest levels of the US government. From the official perspective, faith in the global financial system was at stake, so a global network of nation-states likely would work with the United States government to see the perpetrators punished. Even the Russian Federation, which was in the dispute with the United States at the time over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, would be eager to help bring down the hackers. If they did not, it would appear they were behind the attack, which would have incurred retaliation.
Aftermath for Loco Panda’s Owners
A few months later, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were extradited to the United States. Both were charged with 30 felony counts with mandatory sentences ranging from 5 years to 20 years apiece. The men await trial, which should take place in late 2016.
Loco Panda Casino is no longer in operation. Strangely, its closure had nothing to do with the rogue practices it employed. The victimized gamblers never received restitution or justice. Those who read about the arrests of Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein on these much more serious charges had to take some satisfaction, or at least believe that karma had been served.