Most gambling sites aim to give their players the ultimate gaming experience, which is why we have seen such an evolution in the software provided from many of the top platforms. A unique and flawless time on your favourite casino, slot or betting site is what most people expect. But what happens when this doesn’t quite go to plan? Whether it is a one-off issue or repeated glitches, it is easy for our frustrations to grow to boiling point. That is why players need to be aware of what to do and who they can contact when things go wrong. We are sure that for many players, experiencing a problem is rare but sadly technology isn’t always perfect. So, this guide will assist you with the complaint procedure for online gambling sites.
The old adage of ‘turn it off and on again’ is renowned to be the saviour to all of our technical problems. But this doesn’t always work with online gambling and even though most of the issues you may raise will be resolved quickly, we will delve into what you can do if you don’t get the outcome you wanted. Although you will probably think that game glitches or crediting and withdrawing from your wallet would be the main complaints, we will give you a run down of what really annoys gamblers. Then we’ll explore who you should complain to and the types of information they will need, plus some extra tips because we’re generous like that! Finally for those cases where there appears to be no agreed outcome between yourselves and the site. We have detailed some next steps for you including organisations whose sole purpose is to assist in resolving the problem.
You may find that there are slight differences between this standard route we have gone through and the one you will experience. But overall, most sites will follow recommendations from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and as such the process tends to be the same. Adhering to the UKGC guidelines is an important aspect in a gaming site keeping their licence to trade in the UK. As such you will see a generalised theme on most online casino and slot sites for areas such as terms and conditions.
Whether you are new to a casino or you are going back to an old favourite, it is a good idea to ensure they are licenced by the UK Gambling Commission. Most will have a link on the bottom of the page which you can click on and it will take you through to the official UKGC licencing public register.
The Complaints Common in Online Gambling
So, we’ve gone through what you can expect from this guide and mentioned some issues experienced by gamers. In reality the outcome you as a user will have, completely depends on how good or bad the site is. Are they prompt when dealing with the matter and how did they respond to the complainant? Here are some examples of the top complaints raised by online players and the frustrations that can occur.
Terms and Conditions
This probably wasn’t the first complaint you would think of and yet it is the biggest issue raised by online players. Sadly, many of us choose not to read through the terms and conditions and this is where we can get stuck later on. The UKGC has ensured that all sites provide terms and conditions, that are easily accessible and most importantly easy to understand. Yes, they are still pretty long and incredibly tedious to go through but having access to everything you will need is important, especially when there is an issue you are not prepared for.
Traditionally the area which people complain about the most, involves bonuses such as welcome offers and regular promotions. Even though there is more consistency across sites due to regulation, players are still confused with conditions such as wagering requirements, which adds a multiplier amount to any free credit given and stops players from removing winnings until that multiplier has been reached. The UKGC have tried to pre-empt these complaints by regulating that sites add terms and conditions to their banners. But there is a limit on how much information can be given, mainly due to the size of the images. So, you will only get basic information such as the multiplier amount displayed.
Even though the UKGC has minimised the use of jargon and abbreviations, the vast number of terms and conditions are still off putting to many players who may not understand what they mean. This is especially the case for newer players in online gambling, who may not have encountered this type of terminology before. All of this leads to gamers taking a risk and accepting whatever the conditions are, even if they are unaware of the implications afterwards. This could be a delay in when you receive your winnings, the effects of limits on maximum and minimum deposits, or additional rules specifically linked to online sports betting.
The advice we would give players is to read the terms and conditions, even if you do a basic scan over them. Having some knowledge on the rules should minimise any problems or frustrations occurring in the future. It may also help you when making decisions such as whether you will take out the new player bonus or not. Remember you can always contact the site should you have any questions about the t&c’s.
Slot Withdrawal Times
You would think that withdrawing your winnings would be a simple process, but sadly that is not always the case. Delays can lead to unhappy players, especially if you’ve enjoyed a substantial win. There are various factors which can slow down or halt a withdrawal and it is not only the sites own timescale for processing funds, but it can also be connected to the banking method you have chosen.
Many of the popular gambling brands will offer withdrawals on the same day, or at least within 24 hours of your request. But there are some sites who use delays in withdrawals as a tactic to encourage you to use your winnings for additional gaming time. These sites will have a pending wallet in which your funds will sit just in case you change your mind.
Of course, there are genuine reasons for delays in you receiving your winnings. If for example you began the process on the weekend or on a bank holiday, then you may find the payment takes longer, especially for the smaller brand casino and slot sites. Then add in the type of banking method chosen, which can have a significant impact on payment times. Traditional banking transactions tend to need a minimum 2 to 3 days to complete, whereas the ever-popular e-wallets can see the transfer occurring immediately or within the same day. This is why the big brands such as Neteller and Paypal have grown rapidly, and we are seeing so many new e-wallets being introduced such as Ilixium.
Know your customer (KYC) checks will also have an impact and unfortunately these are a requirement by the UKGC and as such we cannot see them change significantly in the future. KYC was introduced to ensure sites protected vulnerable players who may be underage, whilst also reducing the risk of money laundering. They do this by checking identification to verify the players name, age, address, and on some occasions proof of earnings.
Why would this impact withdrawal times we hear you ask? Well, this is simply down to the time it takes to complete the verification process. Most sites will have conducted the KYC before you make your first deposit, but to ensure the site maintains compliance under the UKGC legislation they will conduct spot checks, and this is where the frustrations arise. If you have requested your winnings and they ask for updated identification, then you will firstly have to provide the information and then they will need to verify. This can take time and that means you have to wait until it’s completed. There is also a chance that if they cannot validate your information then they will refuse to pay out and can close down your account. This is why it is always important to update your casino information whenever you make any changes, such as moving to a new house.
Technical Issues or Malfunctions
We have mentioned glitches a little at the beginning and it’s something as a technical society we are used to. Gambling platforms have become increasingly sophisticated with their technology and so the likelihood of errors occurring during a game has risen. Even though they are part of everyday life it doesn’t stop them from being frustrating, especially when they impact our game or winnings.
It has been known for players to lose their place when they reach a bonus feature in a slot game and as such they have to start all over again. Or some have seen their winnings disappear due to a malfunction on the game and then they have had to try and provide evidence to the casino of the loss. A tip from us is to take pictures of any big wins you receive, so that you have some form of evidence to show the site that the credit had been in your wallet.
In the majority of cases the gambling site will respond positively towards the complainant if they have a loss of winnings due to a malfunction. As you can imagine for a gambling site their reputation of high-quality gaming is important to them, especially in a sector which offers plenty of alternatives. You will find that most casinos have a clause in their terms and conditions which states that the site is not liable. If you have lost winnings though it should not deter you from contacting them, just be aware that legally they may not have to pay you.
Addictions to gambling have been an increasing problem over the last decade and they are the main reason that the UK Gambling Commission came into existence. For those who believe they may be struggling with addictive tendencies, there is an option called self-exclusion available on all gaming sites. If the player asks to self-exclude then they will not be allowed access to the site for a set period of time and they will not receive any emails or promotional materials.
Although this is a wonderful way to give players the option of breaking away, some who have chosen to self-exclude found that they could still access the site the following day. The UKGC investigated and fined a number of popular betting sites for not ensuring their exclusion option worked. If any vulnerable player found that they could access their account after they have chosen the self-exclusion option, then the obvious next step would be complaining to the gaming site. We would also suggest contacting the UKGC as well, due to the serious nature of addiction and the fact that all sites should protect vulnerable players. The legislation is in place to ensure that gambling remains fun for those who wish to play and if that stops then support can be given.
How to Complain to your Chosen Gambling site
We’ve gone through the main reasons why people would choose to complain, but what exactly do you need to do if this happens to you? Most sites are prepared for if something goes wrong, or their customers have issues. For an industry as fickle as the gambling sector, sites have to ensure that they provide the high-quality service that their customers expect, or they could lose them to the huge range of competitors that are available. Most sites offer our feature favourite games and bonuses, so it’s the little things that will really stand out to us. You will find that the more reputable brands will want to resolve any problems as quickly and amicably as possible.
No matter what the complaint is, the ideal first step is to contact the site and give them the opportunity to try and resolve it. Many times, when we are frustrated it can boil over into anger, but that can hinder the process of complaining. So, our advice would be to write down what you want to say first and re-read it later to ensure you have given all the information. It may be that you want to adapt it then before you send it or contact the site, but the key tips are to try and remain calm and give as much detail as possible. This will help the site to either deal with the matter or make a decision on next steps, depending on what the problem was.
So you have full clarity of what to expect, make sure you check out the gaming sites complaints process. It tends to be found in the terms and conditions section or sometimes the FAQ. To make life easier you can simply type ‘complaint’ in the casino’s search bar, and it should take you to the right area.
If you have chosen one of the more prominent brands such as Bet365 or Betfair, then you tend to find that they have an inhouse customer service team and as such you will get a faster response. Many of the small casino’s will have outsourced customer service and they can be more restricted when it comes to timescales, especially if your issue arises on the weekends for example. The complaints department should be knowledgeable on all areas of the site and will have received training on dealing with customers concerns.
Making the Complaint – Your first step will be to inform the site of the problem, which you can do by heading to their ‘contact us’ section. Here they will list the options available to you, which should include live chat, email, post, SMS/text message, telephone, or web message. You may find that the gaming site has a social media page on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Some don’t like dealing with complaints via this route and will direct you to the contact section, but it may be an idea for your first point of communication.
Once you have chosen how you will contact the site, it is then time to detail the reasons for the complaint. If you have written it down previously then you are already a step ahead. The fundamental aspect of your complaint is detail, as this assists the casino in establishing what happened, who is responsible and how to resolve it. This is when it may be best to think about the format you have chosen to complain in. Longer more detailed issues may be best suited to email responses rather than on the telephone or live chat.
What to Provide – To ensure they can fully evaluate your complaint, the gaming site will need some information to be able to link you to your account. This can vary depending on the site you are playing on, but the basics should be the same.
- 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.
If you plan to complain but accidentally forget, then be aware that the sites do have a cut-off date. Most casinos have a 12-month dispute period and as such if it occurred before that, then they will not accept it. This is purely because it will be harder for them to investigate the matter if it occurred a long time ago.
After you have sent your complaint, then you should receive some form of response which will confirm they have received it. Obviously if you don’t hear from the site over the next couple of days, then it would be wise to contact them. All of this information may be needed during an appeals process or when contacting an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service. Most will indicate a response time when they reply to you for example 24 hours, but again this can depend on the reason for your complaint.
As the gaming site attempts to resolve the matter with you, there may be correspondence back and forth. Our advice is to keep these conversations recorded somewhere just in case they are needed for the future. Now this is pretty easy for those of you who have opted to send your complaint in email form. But if you choose another such as live chat, then you may have to use options such as screen capture and store them on your phone.
Complaint Outcome – Depending on the type of complaint, you could get a response relatively quickly or it may take the gaming site time to investigate. They will want to resolve the issue and look for an outcome that will suit all parties, but if that isn’t possible then they may reject your grievance. If you are not happy with the reply you have received, then you will have an opportunity to appeal the original decision. This process is also done by the site, but it will be investigated by someone with a senior status or in a managerial position. The decision to the appeal is final, so if you remain unhappy with this then it may be time to think about external support.
This site isn’t a third-party intermediary or mediator and as such we haven’t grouped it with the other options. But it is still a handy tool which provides you with the information on how to raise a dispute. The reason why it is such a great resource is because it was built by Money Saving Expert in 2017, with the assistance of the UK Gambling Commission. As you can imagine both will be knowledgeable on the concerns modern day gamers may have.
On Resolver you will find packs of letters for you to use and amend, plus informative articles such as ‘how to write a letter of complaint’. This type of format will make it easier for both the player and the gambling site to establish what the issue is and how to resolve it. The articles can also help manage your expectations on the outcome of the complaint; again, depending on what it is.
The actual Resolver system itself allows consumers to store their information which is relevant to the complaint. Now this could include emails sent, or even screen shots of the live chats you have had. You can also create a Resolver email address for privacy and to ensure any responses go to the one place. This kind of information sharing and support for free is rare and so it’s the ideal place for those of you who are concerned about how to proceed with your complaint.
External Dispute Resolution for a Casino Complaint
If you’ve tried to sort out the problem with the gaming site, but you’ve had no resolution, then you may want to look at external resources for support. You have a few options which provide different benefits, so which one you use is ultimately down to you.
AskGamblers Complaints System
Most of you will be aware of the AskGamblers information site, but you may not know that they offer mediation between casinos and players. They have a specialised resolution department, but this is only for sites on their directory list. If your complaint is with one of the popular brands then it will more than likely be on the list, but if it is with a smaller site then AskGamblers may not be the option for you.
To submit your complaint, you simply need to provide a few personal details, confirm the name of the gambling site and state the reason. Their complaint portal on the site allows you to upload any supporting documents such as screenshots or emails.
After AskGamblers have accepted the complaint, they will gather the information and then inform the gaming site that they are involved. You should find updates about the issue on the AskGamblers portal. Their involvement is purely to find a resolution and provide advice, so they will establish if there is a basis to the complaint such as a breach of terms and conditions. It is always sensible to read over the terms and conditions when you register, even if it is just the key elements such as bonuses and wagering requirements.
IBAS (Independent Betting Adjudication Service)
Although this may seem similar to the AskGamblers process, there is a difference if you choose to contact IBAS. Firstly, they will only get involved if the casino is a licenced member of the UK Gambling Commission. Secondly, you must have contacted the gaming site first to try and resolve the issue before you contact them.
IBAS is a free impartial adjudication service, but they do require your acceptance of their terms and conditions before they will proceed. You are not required to meet with anyone, simply provide IBAS with your complaint in writing and any supporting evidence. Alike AskGamblers they require you to have an account with them, which will involve providing some basic personal details. Once they have all of the information, they will contact the gaming site and determine why the situation has not been resolved. Once the details are collated then they will make a ruling and that decision is final.
Whether the outcome of this process goes your way or not, you should be aware that IBAS are mediators and as such their decision is not legally binding. Obviously, this means that should IBAS side with you, then the gaming site doesn’t need to comply as there are no legal penalties. But by not agreeing to the outcome, the site could be removed as a registered operator from the IBAS scheme.
You’re probably wondering why it is worth bothering with them in the first place, well that all links back to the UK Gambling Commission. IBAS is a UKGC recognised alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service and if the site is removed from the IBAS scheme, then they could end up losing their UKGC licence.
eCogra (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance)
Founded in 2003 eCogra is another ADR option which you can use, but again this will only be for sites who have registered with them. You will know if your gaming site is with eCogra because they will have a seal displayed on their website (normally at the bottom with the terms and conditions tab). They have built a huge register of reputable casino, slot and betting sites and the seal shows that they follow the high standards set by eCogra, which are monitored regularly. The process of complaining is the same as IBAS, i.e., register and then provide details of the complaint.
Alternate Options on Raising a Complaint
Our advice would always be that if you have a grievance, you should raise it with the casino firstly and then if required a third-party resource. If you’ve followed those two routes and still haven’t resolved the problem, then here are a few options which may work; but it will depend on the reason for the complaint.
Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)
The ASA is fundamentally there to check that all UK media maintains high standards and follows a code of practice. So they have a legal obligation in ensuring that no advert is misleading. As you can imagine you will only contact the ASA if your complaint is based on advertising or marketing conducted by the casino or slot site. This could be claiming that bonuses can be won and then refusing to pay out, or even if you believe that their marketing is aimed at those who are underage.
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
The UK Gambling Commission was founded in 2007 and continues to have a significant impact on the gambling industry as a whole. Should a casino, slot or betting site choose to provide services in the UK, then they must have a UKGC licence and comply with their regulations.
Although they do not adjudicate complaints, they do offer support to the organisations we have named above. As such any non-compliance with the ADR’s such as Resolver and IBAS may lead to the removal of the sites licence and possibly see them taken off the UKGC register, which means they would not be able to remain in business.
There may be circumstances where you believe that the UKGC should be made aware of the issues you have raised. A good example of this would be if you had self-excluded, but then continued to have access to the site or you were sent marketing materials.
Social Media, TV, Newspapers
This option would definitely be considered as a final straw, after you have gone through the process of using an ADR service. Again, depending on the complaint, you can either put the information on social media and hope that it is shared, or contact media platforms such as TV and newspapers. This route is especially pertinent for those situations where extreme action is needed. Sometimes companies respond better when they fear negative backlash and as such, they maybe more open to having a discussion with you with the aim to resolve it.
Summary of Online Casino Complaint Procedure
We’ve ploughed a lot of information at you, but hopefully it is enough that should you need to get started you know what to do. Our advice is take this guide step by step and hopefully you won’t have to go any further than contacting the gambling site itself. As we have previously mentioned, most sites will want to remain amicable, as a good reputation is incredibly important to them and they won’t want to lose your custom. Even though most people have their issues resolved with the site, it’s always good to know that the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services are available.
To pre-empt any problems, it’s always a good idea to follow these key steps;
- Check that the site is licenced by the UK Gambling Commission,
- Check if the site is eCogra regulated,
- Read the terms and conditions so you are aware of the rules.
Yes, this all sounds completely tedious and mind numbing, but it may just save you at a later date.