If you feel that you have not been given a fair level of service by your online slot site then you can make a gambling complaint. It is not uncommon to enter into a dispute, and it is important to follow the correct procedures to give yourself the best chance of a satisfactory resolution.
The good news is that the UK gambling industry is regulated, and under the terms of a UK license all operators must take all reasonable steps to resolve the issue in-house.
However, if an agreement cannot be reached, there are several further routes that you can go down to push your case, and a number of organisations you can turn to. Here we take you through the online gambling complaints procedures that are available to players in the UK.
What Is a Valid Casino Complaint?
Before we look at the steps you should take to make a casino complaint, let’s run through the types of disputes that come up regularly, and the potential outcomes. It’s worth making sure you have a valid case before continuing.
Complaints About Terms and Conditions
This is perhaps one of the most common areas for complaints directed at casino operators. After some heavy media attention in 2017 online gambling companies have come under serious pressure to validate all offers with clear and accurate terms and conditions within close proximity to any headline copy.
Despite this, we still regularly see contradictory and confusing terms relating to welcome offers, so tread carefully if you have ambitions to profit from your bonuses.
Common areas of confusion are wagering requirements (are they on bonus amounts, or bonus and deposit amounts?), maximum bet amounts when wagering bonus money, and withdrawal and maximum winning restrictions.
In this case, ignorance will not be a sufficient excuse. So ALWAYS read the terms and conditions before you start gambling. If you are in any doubt, speak to a customer support agent.
And remember, at all UK casinos you are allowed only ONE account. Should you open a second to claim yourself a second bonus, you are like to have your account shut down and your money taken. And you will almost certainly fail in the account verification process should you try to withdraw any winnings.
Terms and conditions must be clearly expressed, and even if you have contravened them, you may still be able to proceed successfully with a complaint if you feel that the conditions of the bonus have not been explained properly.
Complaints About Withdrawal Processing
Withdrawal procedures are a massive bug bear for many online slot players. Whilst some casinos are now willing to process cash outs almost instantly, others will insist on hanging on as long as possible, many believe in the hope that you will reverse the money back into your casino account and lose it.
Sportsbook punters have also been subjected to reductions in their maximum bet limits as ‘punishment’ for big wins early in their lifetime at an operator.
This is a very common issue, and there are steps you can take to pressure your casino to process your transaction quicker – try to keep a cool head and follow the procedures outlined below.
Complaints About Know Your Customer
KYC, or Know Your Customer, is the term given to the process of verifying a customer’s identity. It prevents fraudulent activity and underage gambling. An essential pain new customers have to go through, it can cause disputes where it appears that operators are delaying payouts in the early stages of a customer lifetime. If you can serve up what’s required by the casino then they have no excuse to delay payment. Make sure you follow instructions closely and you should avoid any lengthy disputes.
Complaints About Self-Exclusion
The rules on self-exclusion for online gambling operators are clear. If a player chooses to self-exclude then access to their account must be blocked and they should receive no marketing communications until the period ends.
In 2017 888 received a huge fine for failing to keep to these terms.
If you do receive email marketing, or are able to access your account during your self-exclude period then should you lose money you will have a case.
At the same time, if you choose to self-exclude from a casino, you must do your utmost to stick to your resolution. Re-registering with fraudulent details will not be an excuse if you lose a lot of money under a second or third account.
Online casino and slot sites are very wary of disputes over self-excluded accounts, and you must have a strong case if you wish to complain.
Technical or Game Errors
Game errors are rare. For instances where a game does malfunction or freeze most casinos will have a disclaimer in their terms and conditions absolving them of responsibility. In these cases, ALWAYS get a screengrab if you can. You may be reliant on the good will of the casino to help you here, but there are also game logs held by the software supplier that can help resolve these issues.
If you experience a game freeze where connection is lost, before raising it with the casino, try logging off and on again. Your game should re-start where it left off.
A Word on Rogue Casinos
To avoid getting into disputes with criminal enterprises, we recommend that you always check any casino you register with to see that it holds a UK license. Without that license number in the footer of the site your chances of resolving any dispute favourably are slim, and the following steps on complaint procedure won’t apply.
So, now let’s take a look at the correct procedure for raising a complaint.
Step One – Complain Directly to Your Online Casino
The first step you should take is to raise your issue with the casino itself. Remember, they are required by law to look into it and do all they can reasonably to help you.
You can find the contact details for your casinos on their website. It is also possible to view a full list of UK casinos with UK Gambling licenses at the UK Gambling Commission website.
Some important tips when you approach a casino with a complaint:
- Make sure you know your position completely before you speak to anyone. If your complaint is related to terms and conditions then read the relevant parts and have them in front of you when you start the conversation. Even copy and paste them into a separate document so they are easy to read and you don’t find yourself scrolling frantically to find the relevant part.
- Record ALL correspondence – if is best practice in this instance to communicate on email so you have a good record of what was said, and where it was said. If your conversation is on Live Chat, then download the transcript at the end of the dialogue.
- Screengrabs of disputed transactions, gaming or cashier, will always help your case. If you remember at the time, make sure you get one.
- Be calm and patient – it doesn’t help to lose your cool, no matter what the money at stake is and how frustrated you feel. Getting angry will not help your cause, and appearing hot-headed and rash may not help your case should it escalate further.
Once you have raised your complaint and presented all the information you have, the casino should follow its own complaints procedure and then tell you the outcome.
Step Two – Alternate Dispute Resolution
In the event that your complaint is rejected, if you wish to pursue your dispute further, then you can raise it with an Alternate Dispute Resolution body (ADR). Every online casino licensed in the UK must appoint an ADR from an approved list published on the UK Gambling Commission website
Using an ADR is a free service. You can only go down this route once you have completed the official complaints procedure of the online casinos.
For slot sites, the most common ADR Providers are these.
eCORGA is an independent body that upholds standards of fair, responsible and safe gaming. Sites that bear the eCORGA seal have met high standards and are monitored continually to ensure standards are maintained.
This organisation also act as an ADR provider for players who have a complaint to raise with any of their approved sites. To escalate a complaint, you must use the official form.
Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS)
IBAS is another independent service that will adjudicate where a dispute arises between a player and an operator. They will look at the operator terms and conditions whilst considering your complaint.
IBAS will also refer to the conditions of the UK license as laid out by the UK Gambling Commission, and their own conditions of registration to their group. A list of IBAS operators can be found on their website.
A ruling by IBAS is not binding on the operator and the customer, but is without prejudice to any legal proceedings that may follow.
Step Three – Other Organisations to Take Your Complaint To
If you wish you can make a complaint against a casino to any of these bodies.
Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)
The ASA uphold standards in advertising across all channels in the UK media – print, online, TV, and radio.
So, in circumstances where your casino complaint is in reference to an advertisement, if you feel that the advertisement was misleading in any way, or unclear in its presentation of terms and conditions associated with the offer, then you may have a case to take to the ASA.
As well as dealing with complaints about misleading advertising, the ASA will also look at those relating to gambling ads that may be deemed to be socially irresponsible because they target under 18s or vulnerable people.
If your complaint is upheld then the advertisement must either be removed or changed.
UK Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission issues licenses to operators who wish to take bets from UK-based customers. They will not adjudicate on complaints made by a customer about an online casino. If you believe that an operator has behaved in a way that contravenes the terms of their UK license however, you can report them to the Commission. Under the terms of a license, a casino must not allow their business to be used as a way for criminals to profit, nor should they promote their service to under 18s.
Step Four – Newspapers, TV and Social Media
In the event that you cannot resolve your complaint with your online casino, or the appointed ADR, a final resort could be to raise your complaint through the press or social media.
Online gambling and the actions of operators are currently hot topics in the news, and no-one wants to get bad press. Should you choose to approach one of the national papers or broadcasters, remember that you will need to have a strong and clear case if you are to convince them to report your story.
In social media, you can contact your operator through their twitter handle or facebook page for all their followers to see. This method of ‘embarassing’ the casino into co-opeartion may work, but only turn to it as a last resort. Ultimately, your best options are the standard complaints procedures outlined above.
Casino Complaints Forums
There are some really good player forums in the casino industry that you can use when you feel that you have not been treated fairly. Forums are great for advice from fellow gamblers or just to share your frustration. Some of these sites carry a lot of weight and operators will have customer services agents who will be monitoring them to react quickly to any negative posts.
Additionally, two of these sites offer their own Alternative Dispute Resolution service. Remember though, these are not official ADR services – they are not included in the official list from the UK Gambling Commission. However, they are well-respected sites and their services can be effective.
Casinomeister™ – Advocate of Fair Play since 1988
Casinomeister is a trusted and respected casino portal that promotes fair, safe and secure gaming. Their forum is one of the most active in the industry, and a great place to share experiences with other players. You can follow threads about pretty much anything casino-related and more.
In September 2001, the ‘Post a Bitch’ (PAB) service began where players could enter into discourse with an operator over disputes, with Casinomeister acting as a conduit. In 2016, Casinomeister became a certified arbitrator in the EU and UK. The PAB service has been renamed Player’s Arbitration and is now a valid route to choose if you wish to make a complaint.
The POGG – The Players Online Gambling Guide
The POGG is an online gambling portal that specialises in thorough and high quality reviews of online casinos. They use mystery shopper, ratings and an auditing service to provide some of the most reliable and exhaustive reviews on the web.
They all provide a complaints service. Their in-house ADR official holds Associate level membership with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
You can check their history of disputes, how they were resolved, and what the outcome was on the website.
The AskGamblers casino portal has been around for over 10 years. It has a huge database of reviews, as well as providing up to date information about the casino industry.
They also run the AskGamblers Casino Complaints Service in which they mediate between players and casinos to try to resolve disputes. Their record is impressive in this area. You can start a complaint procedure on their site.