How to Solve Disputes
Online casinos, especially those listed on our website, do their best to provide professional services to retain their customers. However, disputes between players and the company do happen from time to time. That is why it is important to know how to properly handle such a situation by gathering all the necessary information beforehand. After all, it is your right to have your issues solved and receive appropriate treatment.
Our guide will cover the following aspects:
Commonly encountered issues
First, we must mention the kind of matters that may lead to disputes:
- Deposits – missing funds, double charges, unspecified fees;
- Withdrawals – long processing time, stopped/delayed cashouts, declined refunds, unexpected charges;
- Promotions – unrewarded/lost bonuses, violated bonus terms;
- Software – glitches, the impossibility of resuming an interrupted gaming session (resulting in loss of bet amounts);
- Account – misleading terms and conditions, registration difficulties, denied KYC documents, inappropriate customer treatment.
Be aware: Casinos that refuse to process withdrawals or fail to pay out within an adequate timeframe are considered ‘rogue’ and should be avoided by all means.
Tips for avoiding disputes
Why create a dispute when you can avoid it? Customers who register on verified websites are less likely to come across the previous section’s issues. Of course, some things might still go wrong. Still, it is best to take precautionary measures by ensuring that your chosen casino meets certain standards. These are some general rules that indicate whether a platform is safe or not:
- Licence from at least one regulatory body such as the UKGC, MGA or AGCC;
- Clear terms and conditions (you should always read the terms and conditions before claiming a promotion or joining a website);
- Gaming services from reliable providers (e.g. NetEnt, Playtech, Microgaming, Play’n Go, Evolution Gaming, Nektan);
- Websites operated by reputable companies (e.g. Jumpman Gaming, Progress Play, 888 Holdings, Aspire Global, etc.);
- Mandatory identity verification (most online casinos request documents such as driving licence, passport, utility bill or bank statement);
- Account limitations (verified casinos usually allow only one account per person/household/email address/phone number);
- Responsible gambling options (deposit limits, time-outs, self-exclusion);
- Overall appearance (performant graphics, user-friendly interface, well-organised sections, appropriate language);
- Professional customer support – the way in which an online casino replies to customers and deals with their issues usually indicates their level of professionalism (you may ask a few questions on the live chat or via email, to test the comprehensiveness of answers, response time and communication style).
Instead of accessing every single gambling platform that might interest you to check all the aspects discussed above, you can simply scroll through our casino reviews. We provide reliable and up-to-date information, as well as tips and recommendation that will improve your experience.
Tips: If you are not allowed to access your account or make a deposit before sending identity verification documents, this means that the casino has a strong KYC policy. That ensures a licensed and controlled environment.
How to deal with a dispute?
Suppose you happen to find yourself in an unfavourable situation regarding any services that an online casino offers. In that case, this will be classified as a ‘dispute’. There are usually three stages of managing such an event, depending on the severity of the problem and the way in which the casino handles it. Keep in mind that the last stage is usually reached in rare circumstances and should only be considered when all other institutions fail to solve the matter.
1. Reaching out to customer support
As soon as you encounter an issue related to the user account, transactions, promotions or any other kind of difficulties while using a gambling platform, you should first contact the support team. The live chat is usually meant for general inquiries, so we suggest filing a formal complaint in case of more serious matters. This can be sent via an email address provided by the casino and should include as much information as possible, along with photo evidence (where necessary).
The customer service department will normally try to provide a solution within a timeframe specified in their terms and conditions. Supposing you disagree with the decision, you can further escalate the complaint to a manager or supervisor, who will review it and offer an alternative solution. Bear in mind that the manager’s decision usually constitutes the end of the internal complaints’ procedure.
2. Contacting an alternative dispute resolution party
If you are not happy with the way in which the casino has handled the dispute, the next step would be contacting an external party to look deeper into the problem. Fortunately, all casinos must comply to UKGC regulations and provide at least one alternative resolution institution such as ADRg, CEDR, eCOGRA or IPCA. Reviewing the issue and offering a solution takes about 90 days. The mediators must contact the operator on behalf of the player. However, this might differ depending on the complexity of the dispute.
3. Taking your dispute to court
When all other institutions fail to meet your expectations in terms of problem-solving, you can take further measures and sue the casino. But make sure to gather plenty of information regarding your legal rights before proceeding with this, as it can be a very complex and time-consuming process. In general, disputes between operators and players fall under the UK Consumer Rights act from 2015. According to UK law, when individuals complete any financial transaction, they are initiating a contract with the company. Therefore, the claim will fall under the UK consumer law act.
Before proceeding to court, we kindly advise you to reach out to Citizens Advice and seek objective guidance on the relevance of the case and the winning probability. However, this group comprises more than 300 independent charities across the UK, dedicated to offering free-of-charge advice. Going to court requires legal assistance, which involves certain costs.
Be aware: Some casinos may not acknowledge complaints filled more than 6 months after the specified event has occurred. However, this does not limit your right to bring a legal claim against the company.
Complaints and disputes: Are there any differences?
Sure, they might seem quite similar, but a complaint is not the same as a dispute. Let’s clear things out! A complaint happens when a player expresses their disagreement or disappointment regarding one or more of an online casino’s services. It is usually communicated formally via a complaint form or email, to present the situation to someone in a higher position and receive an appropriate solution.
On the other hand, disputes are a bit more complex and necessitate the intervention of a third-party. In this case, an alternative dispute resolution party. This commonly happens when the player and the casino cannot agree on an optimal solution to the problem. Therefore, another organisation must come forward and act as a mediator between the two.
Dispute resolution providers approved by the UKGC
ADRg is one of the oldest dispute resolution providers in the UK. Their approach is based on them having the right technology to provide hosting of virtual mediation services and trained staff that can handle the complexity of such cases. As mentioned above, taking a step in this direction is free, but some costs may occur when procuring the necessary documents to open a claim.
Phone: +44 (0)203 600 50 50
Location: International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC), 70 Fleet Street, London
- Bacta ADR Service
This group provides mediation concerning a wide range of gambling-related issues. On their website, you can find a full list of operators that are registered for their services. Moreover, claims can usually be submitted online.
Phone: 020 7730 6444
Location: Bacta ADR Service,29-30 Ely Place. London, EC1N 6TD
- Centre for Effective Dispute Resolutions (CEDR)
Founded in 1990, CEDR is one of the most significant conflict resolution groups, with a vast international experience and knowledge in over 50 jurisdictions. It is specialized in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Unlike other organisations listed here, CEDR focuses on general commercial disputes and doesn’t have gambling as its core business.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7536 6000
Location: IDRC, 70 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1EU, United Kingdom
- eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA)
It is an internationally approved agency which aims to achieve player protection, fair gambling and responsible conduct by operators and software providers. After going through the policy and regulations listed on their website, you can find a detailed guide on how to proceed with disputes and a form. The latter takes about two weeks to be revised after filing a complaint.
Phone: +44 20 7887 1480
Location: 2/F Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London
- Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS)
IBAS is an impartial adjudicator on disputes between players and operators, endorsed by the Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office. It was founded in 2007, due to the lack of professional assistance in the betting industry at that time.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7347 5883
Location: PO Box 62639, London, EC3P 3AS
This legal advice institution was founded more than 200 years ago in Edinburgh. Due to the size of the company, teams dedicated to several sectors, among which gambling, have been created in order to provide specialised legal advice.
Phone: +44 (0)131 229 1212
Location: Caledonian Exchange, 19a Canning Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8HE
- Joel Goldman
This institution comes from a more commercial setup rather than a legal environment, one of its main focuses being gambling disputes settlements. Their website offers accurate and detailed information on the mediation process and what the customers should expect from it.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7079 8603
Location: Floral Suite, 17 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8PS, London
- Independent Panel for Casino and Bingo Arbitration (IPCA)
IPCA is an organisation which focuses solely on the British gambling sector and disputes related to it. Its page offers detailed information on avoiding conflicts and solving casino disputes on your own.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7932 0751
Location: Carlyle House, 235 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EJ
- Pro Mediate
Although it is orientated towards all forms of mediation, this company is also certified by the UKGC to arbitrate gambling-related disputes. By accessing their website, you can find plenty of information in the form of case studies on claims that they have previously handled.
Phone: +44 (0)7824 704826
Location: Brow Farm, Top Road Frodsham, WA6 6SP
- Ellis Jones Solicitors
It is a leading independent law firm, with offices in multiple cities in the South of England. The company has experience in dealing with legal gambling services, disputes and betting claims, and was awarded the title of ‘Dispute Resolution Team of the Year’ in 2019.
Phone: 02039 784720
Location: 111 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AB.