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Once in awhile even reputable companies provide an unfair level of service, leaving you no choice but to make a formal complaint.
Thankfully - as per the Gambling Act 2005, the online casino sector in the United Kingdom is heavily regulated for your protection.
In order to gain a satisfactory result, you are going to need to follow a number of procedures. There are also a variety of alternative routes you can go down if you find an agreement cannot be reached.
While taking action is often the last resort, if you feel like it’s a valid case then it is definitely worth submitting a formal complaint.
In this article, we provide you with some advice on how to proceed with an online casino complaint, as well as discuss common disputes, and possible outcomes when doing so.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Kind of Casino Complaints are Common?
- 2 Casino Terms & Conditions
- 3 Issues Verifying Your Identification
- 4 Payment/Withdrawal Delays
- 5 Player Self-Exclusion
- 6 Cooling-Off Period
- 7 Misleading Online Casino Advertising
- 8 Bonuses Issues
- 9 Software/Technical Glitches
- 10 How to Proceed With a Complaint
- 11 The Details
- 12 What is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Body (ADR)?
- 13 The Verdict?
- 14 FAQs
What Kind of Casino Complaints are Common?
Below are some of the most common complaints found within the online casino industry:
Casino Terms & Conditions
This is probably the most common complaint there is in the online gambling space. Unfortunately, many times players neglect to fully read the extensive terms and conditions that the online operators get you to sign. This can result in losing money through not complying with the rules set out, by which time their terms and conditions have been violated and it may be too late.
Pay special attention to the terms and conditions which come with casino promotions, welcome packs, and bonuses etc. When you sign up for the bonus or promotion - You are fully accepting the casino's terms and conditions.
Before you open an account and start wagering, it is vital to study these terms with no exception - otherwise, you might find you don’t have a leg to stand on.
As the legal jargon laid out by casinos can often be very long and confusing documents, the Gambling Commission is currently working on ensuring that online casino sites have much clearer and more simple terms and conditions.
Issues Verifying Your Identification
Often referred to in the online casino industry as ‘Know Your Customer’, or KYC, the ID verification process is an essential part of proving your identity when setting up an online casino account.
To put a stop to under age gambling and fraud, the UK Gambling Commission has made ID verification a mandatory requirement when opening an account, so it is taken extremely seriously by operators.
A lot of the complaints received with regards to ID verification arises when there are delays. This can be due to operators requesting extra documentation to verify players identification, as well as delays within the company.
When it comes to passing the all-important KYC checks, try to practice patience. At the end of the day, the online casino itself is obliged by law to be thorough with these checks, and that may take some time.
So long as you are accurate and forthcoming with your information you should have no problem being verified.
With such a vast number of online casino websites UK, it’s a given that all of them will vary in one way or another. With regards to payments and withdrawal times, this is no different.
Whilst the most reputable casinos will process a player withdrawal within hours, each online casino payment policy will vary. As such, whilst one casino may process your withdrawal within 24 hours, another might take days to pay their players.
Do you think there has been an unsatisfactorily long delay with your payment? If so, although it might feel like a painfully long time to wait, you do have to factor in things such as;
- Is or was it a public/bank holiday?
- Has your identification been fully processed by this point?
- Is your win particularly large that it needs to be verified first before your payment can be arranged?
There could be a valid reason for the delay here, or, in some cases it is the online casino's incompetence at taking steps to process your withdrawal immediately.
In this case, you will need to follow it up with an investigation, and/or complaint (depending on the response from the customer service team). This will more than likely be all it takes to prompt the casino to process your withdrawal.
It can sometimes appear as though online gaming establishments are only interested in exploiting people by making as much money as possible, regardless of a player's financial vulnerability or addiction.
On the contrary, if you have self-identified your own gambling weaknesses, there is a tool used by the majority of online casinos which enables you to temporarily opt-out, so to speak.
There are many different ways in which you can self-exclude yourself, and each online casino will host a wide variety of options. This means that if you self exclude from one platform, this will more than likely carry to other platforms hosted by the same gaming operation.
Online casinos will do their best to ensure that after excluding yourself, you cannot just go on to create a brand new account, to get around your self-imposed ban.
The commonly used ‘cooling-off period’ allows you to take a break from the online casino for a period of your choosing. This can be anywhere from days to months.
It is important to note that if you choose, for instance, a 6-month ban, you cannot at a later date change that to a different period of time. Your account will be officially frozen for the entire time you initially decided you wanted to ‘cool off’ and have a break. Make sure you make any withdrawals on your account before going ahead with the self-imposed ban, otherwise you will have to wait until the end date.
During this period your account is ‘frozen’ - so you will only be reinstated from the date your cooling off period ends. It is at this time you can begin playing again, and make any outstanding withdrawals.
Misleading Online Casino Advertising
Misleading advertising is socially irresponsible, which is why the ASA (Advertising Standard Agency) exists to uphold standards.
For instance, if you think an online casino site is advertising in a misleading or purposefully unclear way, you can actually take the case to the ASA yourself.
Upon doing so, they will investigate the online casino site in question, and if your complaint is validated, the advertisement will be forcibly removed or changed.
There might come a time when you aren’t credited for a bonus which you should be able to access. In all fairness, this can be down to some kind of software glitch, and not intentional.
Of course, there is always the chance that the player has breached the online casino's bonus terms and conditions. As the terms are often super-extensive, this is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to check them before getting claiming the promotion.
Crucially, the casino anti-fraud department will always detect any breach of the rules. As obvious as it may sound, also look out for country-based restrictions, and check you aren’t using a different account.
If you have found yourself in this position, and still cannot understand why you didn't receive your bonus after double-checking all terms and conditions associated with the bonus or bonuses in question - you might find that you weren't credited because you broke the terms and conditions.
If you feel like it's still worth going through the possible headache of clearing the bonus issue, try communicating directly with the online casino in question - just so you know what went wrong and avoid it happening again. Of course, this could mean you find it was them at fault after all.
Even the most sophisticated platforms and technologies in the world occasionally undergo glitches, and online casinos are no different.
Unfortunately, if this happens whilst you’re gambling, chances are this is going to affect your play, and perhaps, in the worst case, void your winnings.
You might be entitled to launch an official complaint, so it's important to first check the predetermined terms and conditions on the particular online casino you’re using.
In the majority of cases, you will find that the casino is actually liable for errors and glitches, and as a result, you could be given some form of compensation. In a worst-case scenario you might have to accept your loss and move on.
How to Proceed With a Complaint
So, you’ve made your mind up, your complaint is a valid one. As such, now is the time to do something about it.
The first thing you have to do is present your complaint in writing to the particular online casino's customer support department. You will usually find the online casino's contact information via a ‘contact us’ or ‘about us’ section.
The best way of doing this, for clarity, and your own records, is to complain via email (of course, there are other methods, which will be covered in this article).
As with any complaint, it’s important to record/keep all communication with the online casino for future reference.
The information you are going to need to include in your complaint email is as follows:
- First and last name
- Account username
- Contact details (Usually email address and telephone number will suffice).
If you’ve got to this stage, it's more than likely the case that you have a record of dates and times and important details with regards to your complaint.
So now you’re going to need to provide a full account of what has led to your complaint, as well as attaching all supporting evidence and anything you think will be relevant to your case.
For peace of mind that your complaint has been received and is being dealt with in a timely manner, you are well within your rights to request acknowledgement upon sending your complaint and an estimation of the duration of the investigation.
Once the investigation is complete, the online casino will get in touch with you in order to offer a solution/resolution. Should you be pleased with the outcome of this, the complaint process is over.
Unfortunately that is not always the case, as it may be that the proposed resolution is unsatisfactory. In this case you may have to involve an Alternative Dispute Resolution Body
What is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Body (ADR)?
So, you’ve got to the point where you feel like you are getting nowhere with your complaint against an online casino. What now? This is when the independent third party, an Alternative Dispute Resolution body (ADR), comes into play.
Gambling complaint disputes which have been unresolved will be handed over to an ADR for a number of unresolved complaints, such as disputes in relation to a players control of deposits and winnings, bonus disputes, and customer account disputes.
With the intent to broker and find agreement, an ADR will look into your complaint as well as the online casino's handling of it. Somewhat of a mediator in the situation, the ADR should be able to come up with a solution which satisfies both parties.
You cannot engage in an ADR to resolve your complaint until you have first utilised the online casino's complaints process. If in the unlikely scenario you are also dissatisfied with the ADR service, you will have to complain within their own complaints procedure.
You may at this point want to notify the Gambling Commission. This is so that they can investigate from their end and ensure the ADR in question is following procedures correctly.
Here is a list of reputable ADR providers, should you need to take your complaint to the next level.
- ADR Group
- Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)
- Basta ADR Service
- ProMediate (UK) Limited
- Jennifer Gallagher (Lindsays)
- Tattersalls Committee
- National Casino Forum (Independent Panel for Casino Arbitration)
When initiating a complaint with an online casino we recommend being as courteous and patient as possible.
It may well take the online casino several days in order to conduct an internal investigation, so bear that in mind before escalating it further and causing yourself more stress than is necessary.
If however you are dissatisfied with the amount of time taken to investigate the matter, you can contact the customer service department and request to speak to a supervisor or team leader, before moving up to management.
If going through the online casino's in-house complaints procedure leaves you dissatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, it should then be handed over to an independent ADR to settle the dispute between yourself and the online casino in question.
You might get to this stage, and are still unhappy with the way the ADR has handled the dispute. If so, you can complain via their complaints procedure and even report it to the Gambling Commission to investigate further.
If you don’t feel comfortable making a complaint further yourself, you can seek help from a third party to communicate the issues on your behalf.