Paying for tuition is a challenge for young people from all over the world and the situation is very much the same in Canada.
A row is now brewing about the price of tuition for Canadian students remaining at the same levels despite the fact learning appears set to be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future.
Online petitions have been launched calling for universities to reduce their fees for tuition. Students have been attending their classes through the internet since the middle of March.
Like other institutions, the University of British Columbia has kept tuition fees at the same level for Canadian students, who are having to be increasingly creative to come up with the money.
With part-time jobs hard to come by right now because of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis, finding new ways to make cash is a hot topic among Canada’s student community.
But perhaps they could be inspired by the famous story of a group of students who formed the MIT Blackjack Team with the aim of beating casinos all over the world.
Using card counting to beat the house
The aim of the MIT Blackjack Team was simple – exploit card counting to beat the house. Casinos might frown upon card counting but it is still difficult for them to identify when this practice is occurring, even when it happens right under their noses. Proving it is very hard.
The MIT Blackjack Team was set up at the end of the 1970s and it had success all the way through to the 21st century, with individuals including Bill Kaplan among those who were involved in the scheme. Kaplan told the BBC back in 2014 why he decided to walk away and go on to invest in business and property despite making his fortune through the blackjack strategy.
He said in the interview: “As a player it’s an amazing experience, but as a manager we might have 10, 20, 30 people playing in five different casino locales, some in Las Vegas, some in New Orleans, some in Canada, and we’re keeping track of their play, we’re trying to make sure no-one’s stealing money.”
Card counting at online casinos is a lot harder than at bricks and mortar sites. But Canadian students hoping to make money through the internet to pay for tuition have a new option.
Bonus abuse – the modern equivalent of card counting?
Online casinos typically have a range of attractive offers and promotions for new players. The idea behind them is clear: people will sign up, use the offer, then spend more cash in the future.
However, bonus abuse is something online casinos have to deal with in response. Bonus abuse is when players sign up to many online casinos, solely in order to use these generous promotions. Online casinos naturally want to stop bonus abuse, but it is tricky for them to do so.
Some of the more radical approaches is to bonus abuse what are known as no deposit bonuses. Through these offers, players can sign up to a new account without even having to risk any of their own cash. The benefits of this are clear, even if the terms and conditions are likely to include a high rollover bonus and even a low maximum win from such a deal.
Research has also found that bonus abuse at online casinos is on the rise. According to data released by TransUnion in its 2020 iGaming Report, bonus abuse increased by 72 per cent from 2018 to 2019, which is likely to be worrying for operators of online casinos.
However, Canadian students are likely to view bonus abuse as a way to rebalance the system. After all, the odds are already clearly stacked in favour of those who run online casino sites. Most online casino games have a house edge built in, which helps to protect the profits recorded by the businesses that operate them. House edge can often be as high as a few per cent.
Online slots might offer big potential jackpot wins with life-changing amounts of money up for grabs, especially on progressive games. But the return to player (RTP) on such games only has to be over 70 per cent, though most of them are instead in the region of 95 to 98 per cent RTP.
For Canadian students who are trying to raise cash for tuition, bonus abuse is certainly an option. However, they must be aware casinos will close down their accounts if they are caught.