The last thing we need is for something to go wrong when we are gambling online, but occasionally it can happen. The frustration of the situation can take over what is supposed to be a pleasant and happy experience. So, we are here to help you when this situation arises, with our guide to the online casino complaint procedure.
There are a number of things that can go wrong with online casino gambling. But don’t let that deter you, because any kind of software always has the potential of glitching at some point. It maybe that your game froze which means you lost your winnings, or even that your credit didn’t enter your casino wallet. We will explain the steps you can take and the information you need to provide to the site. Then if there is no resolution what additional actions you can take and the people to contact.
Remember that this process may slightly change depending on the site you are playing on, but most follow the regulations laid out by the UK Gambling Commission. Just ensure that before you register with any online gaming site, that you check they are licenced by the UK Gambling Commission. Most sites provide a link at the bottom of the page which should take you through to their licence information on the public register.
Most Common Complaints to Online Gambling Sites
Even though most of your gaming will be enjoyable and event free, issues can happen. We have already mentioned examples briefly but let us look at little further at the most common problems that players can encounter.
Terms and Conditions – Probably the one that frustrates gamers the most, because they can be quite lengthy and detailed. The main points of contention tend to be about bonuses and welcome offers such as wagering requirements. The UK Gambling Commission have attempted to legislate and ensure more clarity in the information provided. So you will now see some of the terms and conditions on each promotion; more specifically on the banners provided.
As well as trying to determine what the terms and conditions are, many players find them difficult to understand. Especially if you are new to online gaming and you don’t understand the jargon yet. This confusion can lead to players agreeing to terms without full knowledge of the implications. Again, the UK Gambling Commission are working to ensure that all wording is clear and simple for all readers.
We would always recommend that before you register and accept any bonuses or freebies, that you read the terms and conditions carefully. Then you should reduce the risk of tying yourself into something you later regret.
Slot Withdrawal Times – The ability to withdraw your winnings can be a painful process and annoy many players. The length of time will completely depend on the casino you have chosen and the payment option. Most reputable casino sites should process any withdrawals the same day or at the latest the following morning. But some are known to add in a pending period of a couple of days, with the hope that players get frustrated and keep it in their casino account to play.
There are valid reasons for slower withdrawals from the site and this can be down to the time of the week you have chosen to remove your money. The weekends and bank holidays will see a delay in the time it takes for the money to hit your bank account.
Also, the type of banking option you have chosen is significant because most e-wallets are pretty fast. Whereas bank transactions can see a delay of a few days.
Finally, you may need to verify documentation through the ‘know your customer’ regulations. These rules were introduced by the UK Gambling Commission to ensure that the player was legally old enough to gamble and to reduce the risk of money laundering. Unfortunately, many players will only validate their documents at the point they want to remove any winnings, which causes a delay. The process of corroborating the documents can take the casino a few days and as such the player will have to wait for the processing of a withdrawal until it is done.
Technical Issues or Glitches – Most of us will have experienced a technical issue in the past, whether it’s on our phones, computers or TV’s. The phrase ‘turn it off and on again’ is legendary for working out any technical kinks. But because gaming sites use such advanced technology, it is possible that glitches on games or the platform itself will occur.
Players have not only lost their position in a game, which can be frustrating if you’re in the bonus feature of a slot game. But on occasion have even had their winnings voided. Our advice is that if the winning amount is substantial then take a screen shot of the game as evidence. So if there is a problem you can at least show the casino that the money was actually in your pot.
We have to make you aware that although many gaming sites are supportive and amiable for players who have lost winnings or positions due to glitches or technical errors. There will more than likely be a clause within their terms and conditions which states that the site is not liable. This shouldn’t dissuade you from making the complaint, especially if it is for loss of winnings. But you should be aware that they may legally not be required to pay you back.
Self-exclusion – The process of self-exclusion has been a big topic in the gambling industry for the last few years. The introduction of the UK Gambling Commission brought about more regulations and in turn fines to those sites who failed to stand up to the rules.
The option of self-exclusion basically means that a player can inform a casino that they do not want to play for a period of time. This means the site should stop the player from being able to log in and access games. It will also prevent the operator of that gaming site from sending any marketing materials, such as emails or texts. The reasons for someone choosing to do this will vary, but generally it comes down to them becoming overwhelmed and concerned about their gambling habits.
Should you self-exclude and then find that you can still access your account or receive any promotions and marketing materials, we would recommend that you complain to the casino. This process has been introduced to protect vulnerable players and as such it is vital that the site ensures their platform works.
Complaining to the Slot or Casino Site
You will find that most sites will want to resolve any issues that are raised by players. Bad customer service online can easily become poor word of mouth and lead to a drop in new players and revenue. That is why reputable gaming sites will always last longer than scam sites who are purely in it for the profit.
With that in mind the obvious response is going directly to the casino site as your first step. Our advice is to remain calm, even if you feel angered by the issue. Maybe take some time out to reset your thoughts and write down what you want to say.
When you are ready to contact the gaming site you will find that they should have an online complaints process, either within their terms and conditions or the FAQ section. If there is a search bar this should lead you to the area you want much quicker.
Most casino sites will have a customer services team, either inhouse or outsourced. These teams are trained to sort out any queries or issues that players may have, so they should be able to correct any matters quickly and fairly.
Making the Complaint – To make a complaint you will need to head to their contact section and choose your preferred method. For most sites this will include Live Chat, Email, Post, Text Message, Telephone or Web Message. Some offer support via social media such as Facebook and Twitter, so this maybe an option.
Once you have chosen which you will use, then you simply need to provide the details of your complaint. As previously mentioned, we would always recommend writing it down beforehand so that you ensure that you have provided all the information needed to resolve the matter. The site can only work with the information that they have, so try and give them as much detail as you can.
What to Provide – You have chosen the format of how you want to contact the site but are probably wondering what information they will need. This again will vary according to the site’s terms and conditions, but generally these are the basics.
- Your full name,
- Your username,
- Any security or pin codes required,
- Your contact details,
- Full details of the complaint – Including dates and times of when the incident occurred and any supporting evidence.
You should be aware that many sites have a dispute period, which tends to be up to 12 months. This means that if your complaint or issue is older than 12 months old, they will not investigate it. Following your completion of the complaint, you should receive some form of automated response or receipt. If not, then ask the site to email you to confirm acceptance of your complaint and the date it was received. This may be required should you have to take it further to a third party.
Make sure during this time that any conversations you have with the gambling site are recorded, so that you have the evidence should you need it. For example if you have chosen live chat as your forum to complain, then screen capture relevant parts.
Complaint Outcome – The complaint would then be assessed, and the site will determine if there is an issue and look at resolving the matter. They will indicate a response time when you send in the complaint, but this will be dependent on how big the issue is. Most of the assessment should be done within the first 24 hours.
If when they respond you are not satisfied with the outcome, then most sites will offer an appeals process. This will still be an internal investigation, but it should be conducted by someone in a senior or managerial position. Their response will be final, so again if you are not pleased with the response then you will want to consider external mediation and support.
This online support tool was introduced in association with Money Saving Expert in 2017. The UK Gambling Commission worked with the company to develop their knowledge in relation to gambling and possible complaints they would receive from consumers. Resolver is free and gives gambling players the tools they need to raise a dispute with a site, such as ‘how to write a letter of complaint’.
It isn’t a third-party intermediary or mediator, but they will assist the player to make their voice heard in a structured manner and will manage their expectations. The resolver online system means that the complainant can store any information such as screen shots or emails on their portal. Also, you can email from a Resolver address, rather than giving the gaming site your own. For gamers who have never been through the dispute process before and have no idea where to begin, this is the ideal first step.
External Dispute Resolution for a Casino Complaint
You’ve made your complaint to the casino and you feel that their response did not resolve the issue; so what next? There are actually a few routes you can take, so we’ll go through each one and explain the process for you.
AskGamblers Complaints System – AskGamblers is an information site which has expanded their remit to a resolution mediator between the casino and player. You should be aware that they will only provide assistance to a set number of casino’s which are listed in their directory. Most of these will include the top brands that you are aware of. This will make it difficult for those with complaints against the obscure smaller brands.
To actually submit a complaint, you will find a section on the site which will ask the name of the casino or slot site, the reason for the complaint and some personal details. This is where your screenshots or supporting evidence will come in handy, because you can upload and send it to AskGamblers. Once they receive the complaint, they will review it and contact the casino site. You will have an area of the AskGamblers site to log in to which will provide updates on the progress made with the casino. They will work to try and find a resolution between the casino and yourselves, but should they be unable to do so then you would need to look for additional third-party assistance.
The key focus on any mediation will be whether the site has breached their own terms and conditions. Therefore, it is important that before registering and depositing any credit, you make yourself aware of what they are.
IBAS (Independent Betting Adjudication Service) – In a sense the IBAS is similar to AskGamblers, because they are an impartial adjudication service. They focus on disputes been players and licenced gambling sites, which is why it is always important to ensure that the gaming site you choose is licenced by the UK Gambling Commission.
The IBAS will want to determine at first that you have tried to resolve the issue with the casino before contacting them and that you agree with their terms and conditions. They are a free service and there are no face-to-face meetings, you simply provide a written explanation of the complaint and supporting evidence. So that you can complete a dispute form you are required to register and create an account, this will require some personal details. The gaming site will then provide their evidence and the IBAS will make a ruling on the matter.
You should be aware that the IBAS rulings are not legally binding, but failure to comply by the casino site could see them removed as a registered operator from the IBAS scheme. IBAS is a recognised alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service with the UK Gambling Commission and as such failure by casino sites to comply could be seen unfavourably by both parties.
eCogra (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) – Introduced in 2003 they are very similar to IBAS in that they act as an ADR for players who wish to raise a complaint. This will be reputable casinos who are registered with eCogra and as such have the seal on the bottom of their site. This seal confirms that they are monitored by eCogra and have upheld the high standards expected of them. The process is pretty much the same as the other services, so our advice would be to check whether the casino you have a dispute with is eCogra registered before continuing with them.
Alternative Organisations to Raise Your Complaint With
Depending on the nature of the complaint, these organisations may be interested in looking into the issue.
Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) – The ASA is an organisation whose legal obligation is to ensure high standards are met in all UK media. Contacting the ASA would only be relevant if your complaint was based on some form of advertising being misleading or targeting vulnerable people, such as those underage.
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – Regulates UK based Gambling operators since 2007 and ensures fair and safe gambling is provided. It does this by issuing gambling licences for any companies wanting to provide a service to UK customers. Although they do not adjudicate a complaint raised by a player, should the sites behaviour breach the terms of their licence, then it may be removed. Thus, the UKGC should be made aware of the issues so that they can investigate.
Social Media, TV, Newspapers – It may seem an extreme step to take, but for those of you who have followed all of the above processes then this may be a final option. Sometimes the negative press and backlash received by a simple social media post, will make a casino site respond in a more open manner than they had done previously. Especially in todays environment where bad online gambling experiences are quickly picked up by the media.
Summary of Online Casino Complaint Procedure
All of the information we have provided should be enough for you to follow if you have a complaint against a casino or slot site. You will find that most will want to resolve the issue amicably and as such you will probably only get to the first stage, where you make contact and explain the problem. But it is always important to know our rights as players and who we can contact should we feel unfairly treated. Always take a bit of time out and read the terms and conditions of a site before you register. If that seems too arduous then as a minimum make sure that the casino is licenced with the UK Gambling Commission, so there is an element of protection and an expectation of high standards.