Posted on: April 21, 2021
Online gambling has evolved so much in the last decade, due to continuously improving software and platforms. This need to give consumers the ultimate online experience has only increased our expectations. As much as you hope your gaming time goes without a hitch, we all know that problems can occur. Frustrations can create what should be a pleasant experience, into an unhappy one. So, it’s important that as casino players we are aware of what to do should this situation arise and that is where our online casino complaint procedure guide will help.
All technology and apps can have issues, but we don’t let that deter us from using them. There are problems that can arise from playing online casino and slot sites, but on the majority of occasions these are solved relatively quickly. Whether it’s your game glitching so you lose winnings or banking issues with your credit not transferring, we will go through the routes you should take to complain. But also, we can explain what information you will need to provide and any extra tips on making the process easier for you the consumer. Finally, should there be no resolution directly with the gaming site, we’ll provide you with organisations who can assist in resolving the matter.
We will bring you a generic route to take for complaining to the gaming site, but it can vary depending on the casino you are playing on. Because of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) most casinos have streamlined their processes to follow the guidance and regulations given by the commission. As such you should see a lot of similarity between all of the online gaming sites. But our advice before you register with any new casino sites is to check that they are licenced with the UKGC which you can do simply on their website. Most of the casinos will provide an image of the UKGC logo at the bottom of their sites, which when clicked on will take you through to their licencing information on the public register.
Most Common Complaints to Online Gambling Sites
Most of us enjoy our gaming time hassle free, but as we’ve already mentioned issues can sometimes arise. The sign of a good casino or slot site is how they deal with those issues and us the customers. But what are the more common problems that players complain about? Here are a few examples and the reasons people get so annoyed.
Terms and Conditions
As part of the UKGC legislation you will find that every casino or slot site you land on will have extensive terms and conditions. This is probably the first element that bothers players, because the wording can be incredibly detailed and long. Sadly because of this most gamers won’t even look at the sites terms before they register, so it can be a surprise when something arises that they aren’t prepared for.
The aspects which can create the biggest issues will revolve around welcome offers and regular promotional bonuses. This includes wagering requirements which can lead to players being unable to remove winnings from their casino wallets. Because of the fact that the gambling industry has been regulated by the UKGC you will tend to see more consistency and repetition across all sites. But also, more clarity in the details provided by the site, including less jargon and technical words. You can see these changes simply by checking out a site’s banners and imagery, which now have to provide basic terms and conditions such as the wagering multiplier.
One of the main issues appears to be the language used in the terms which is off putting to players and makes it difficult to understand. This is even more relevant to the players who are new to online gaming and who don’t understand the terminology used by gamblers. Even though players may not understand what they are signing up to, many will still accept bonuses and then realise the implications afterwards. Whether it’s a delay in paying winnings because of wagering, minimum or maximum deposit conditions or even rules which apply to online betting; all of these can cause added frustration.
Our suggestion would always be to read the bonus terms and conditions. This should reduce the risk of you later discovering something you wish you had known before taking the promotion. You can always ask the site via their contact routes for additional information and specifics, should you have any questions.
Slot Withdrawal Times
What may sound like a simple thing to do, doesn’t always work out like that and this can lead to unhappy players. When you win large jackpots you want your money as soon as possible, but there are factors which can cause a delay. Not only will the casino have set processing of funds timescales, but so will your chosen payment method.
The more reputable casino sites will proudly proclaim that they offer withdrawals on the same day, or at the latest within a 24-hour period. Sadly, not all of them are the same and you can experience a delay of a couple of days as your funds sit in a pending wallet. This is a tactic used by casinos in the hopes that players change their mind, stop the withdrawal and use the funds on extra gaming.
It should be noted though that there are legitimate reasons why it may take longer for you to receive your money. If you opted to withdraw on a weekend or bank holiday, then you will more than likely see a delay in the winnings entering your account.
Another aspect to consider is the type of banking method you have chosen, because this can speed up or delay your payment. Normal bank transactions tend to take a couple of days to complete, whereas e-wallets such as Neteller tend to be immediate (or at least the same day).
One final thing to consider is the ‘know your customer’ regulations from the UKGC, which requires gambling sites to verify documentation. This legislation was introduced so that all casinos conducted rigorous checks to ensure players were of legal age to gamble, but also to reduce the risk of casino money laundering.
The main problem is that a lot of gamers will only provide documents when they choose to remove winnings, and this will cause a delay. Ensuring the documents are valid can take the casino some time to do and as such you have to wait until it is done.
Technical Issues or Malfunctions
Glitches are a part of life and something we are accustomed too, but that doesn’t stop them from being annoying. We all know the phrase ‘turn it off and on again’, but what happens when that doesn’t work on your casino site?
With continued advances in casino platform technology, it’s understandable that there may be an odd error or two on the site itself or one of the games. But this doesn’t stop the upset when you lose a place in a game, especially if you are in a bonus feature of a slot which you have had to work up to.
Some players have even seen their winnings disappear with an error on the game. The difficulty then is trying to prove to the casino that you had won the amount in the first place. If you win a substantial amount, then we would recommend that you take a picture of your casino wallet as evidence.
You will find that most sites are responsive to complaints about loss of winnings due to malfunctions or technical errors. Reputation is important in an industry where you have plenty of options, so they will want to keep you happy. That being said, most casino sites will have a clause in their terms and conditions which states that the site is not liable. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from informing them about the problem, more so if you have lost winnings. But just be aware that they may not legally be required to pay you back.
The need for an improved and simplified process of self-exclusion has been discussed in the gambling industry for years. Many players have requested this option, only to find that they could continue playing the following day. This is where the UKGC stepped in to ensure that all gambling sites offered the exclusion option and more importantly that they made sure it worked. Some sites have found themselves with hefty fines due to their failure to protect the vulnerable when they need it most.
A basic explanation of self-exclusion is when a player feels that they are overwhelmed or concerned about their gambling habits and the amount that they spend on a casino or slot, they can choose to block access to the site for a period of time. This will prevent the player from logging into the site and games, and should stop the operator from sending them any promotions, emails or texts which push their site.
It’s probably obvious why a complaint would be raised to a casino site about self-exclusion. Should you find yourself in a situation where you have opted for this route and still have access to your account or receive promotional information, then we would recommend contacting the site and the UKGC. Although online gambling should be available for those who want to play for fun, it also needs to protect those who are vulnerable and are showing signs of addiction.
The Process of Complaining to the Gambling Site
Bad word of mouth isn’t good for any type of business, but especially one that is as fickle as online gambling. We not only have plenty of sites to choose from, but each come with all the top games and exciting bonuses. So, if you’re frustrated on one, then you can easily up sticks and move to another. With that in mind you will find that most want to resolve any issues quickly and simply, especially if they are a reputable brand who aren’t purely in it for the profit.
Should you have any issues on a gaming site, whether it is technical or a complaint, then our recommendation would be to contact the casino as your first step. Because anger can sometimes cloud what you want to say, it is a good idea to take some time out and write it down. Try and remain calm and provide as much detail as possible, because this will assist the site in dealing with the matter.
Each gaming site has an online complaints process, which will explain what to do in the circumstances of something going wrong. You will find this in either the terms and conditions or through the FAQ section, but if they have a search bar it may be quicker to type in ‘complaint’ there and it will take you to the right spot.
Many of the larger brands will have an inhouse customer service team and as such your responses should be quicker; whilst others maybe outsourced. All complaints departments are trained to deal with problems that players may have in a streamlined and fair way. Of course, you will have occasions where the outcome doesn’t meet your satisfaction, but we’ll go into that further on.
Making the Complaint
To contact the site and inform them of the issue simply head to their contact section. You will see a variety of ways in which you can communicate with the casino, including live chat, email, post, SMS/text message, telephone, or web message. Most gaming sites will also have social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter, which may be an option.
After making the decision on which method you will use, it’s time to provide the casino with the details of the complaint. Again, we suggest writing it down beforehand, so you have time to gather all the information you think they will need. Providing as much detail as possible makes it easier for the site to determine what has happened and to see if they can resolve it quickly. If you find that your complaint is quite lengthy, then it may be best to email the site instead of the other options.
What to Provide
For the gaming site to be able to investigate your complaint, they will require some basic information to link you to your account. Although generally the information requested will be the same on all sites, there may be slight variations that you should be prepared for. But in general, these are the basic requests.
Your full name,
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’re the type of person who puts things off until a later date, then you need to be aware that most casinos will have a 12-month dispute period. This means that any complaints which are more than 12 months old will not be accepted.
Once you have sent your complaint then you should receive an automated response to acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive anything within 24 hours, then we would recommend contacting the site again and asking if they have received it. This information may be pertinent should you have to gain assistance from a third party.
During the period of time that the gaming site contacts you back and you both try to resolve the problem, make sure you are recording the conversations. Should the outcome of these discussions not resolve the matter, then you may look at using an alternative dispute resolution service. They may require the conversations as evidence which can be difficult if for example you used live chat to complain. An idea would be to screen capture the more relevant sections of the conversation and store them on your mobile or desktop.
After assessing the complaint the casino site will either resolve the matter, look for an amicable resolution or reject the grievance. As we have previously mentioned, most will want to deal with the problem so that both parties are happy. At the point you made the complaint the site should have indicted a response time, with most replying within 24 hours. Timelines for resolving the complaint will be a little harder to pinpoint, because it will completely depend on what the issue is.
Should the outcome of your complaint not be satisfactory, then you will have the option to appeal. Again, this will be an investigation conducted by the casino site, but it will move to an employee with managerial or senior status. This response will be final and as such if you are still unsatisfied, then you can move to external mediation and support.
Created in 2017 this online support tool merges the knowledge of the UK Gambling Commission and Money Saving Expert. Both are fully aware of the issues raised by the modern online gambler and so are a perfect combination. It is a free site and although they aren’t third party intermediaries or mediators, they do provide the tools you need to raise a dispute. This includes letter packs and informative articles such as ‘how to write a letter of complaint’. Having someone like Resolver helps players form their complaint in a structured way, which makes it easier for the gaming site to determine the issue. But it’s also a great way to help the player manage their expectations, because the reality is they don’t really know how the site will respond.
Within the Resolver system there is the ability to store information pertinent to the complaint, such as screen shots and emails. They also provide the option of creating a Resolver email address, so all of the information goes to one location. If the thought of raising a complaint with your casino is intimidating, then this forum is the perfect place to start for information and assistance.
External Dispute Resolution for a Casino Complaint
Hopefully, this is a route you will never have to consider, but on those occasions where you feel your complaint hasn’t been resolved they may be your only option. There are a few different courses you can take, and each have their own process and benefits, so the final decision will be down to you.
AskGamblers Complaints System
This information site has introduced their own mediation and resolution department to assist with complaints between the casino and player. This complaint system is limited though, as they will only offer assistance between the player and casino sites listed on their directory. For those of you who play on the top brands it shouldn’t be a problem, it will be the more obscure sites which would be an issue.
The process of submitting a complaint is relatively simple, because they will ask for the name of the casino or slot site, some personal information and the reason for the complaint. If you still have your initial complaint to the casino written down, then you can adapt it and send it to AskGamblers. They also have an option for uploading supporting evidence such as your screenshots.
Once AskGamblers have received the complaint, they will collate the information and then contact the casino. You will receive updates from AskGamblers via their portal, where you can log in and see if any progress has been made. Their key role is to attempt to find some form of resolution between the player and casino, by providing impartial advice. They will evaluate whether the site had breached their terms and conditions, so it may be an idea to provide the basis of your complaint on the t&c’s page; for example, quote the sections that you think are applicable. Therefore we always recommend that players read the terms and conditions before they register with a site. It’s tedious, we know! But it can help you in the future so that you don’t get caught out if things go wrong. If this process does not work, then you would need to look for additional third-party support.
IBAS (Independent Betting Adjudication Service)
This impartial adjudication service will focus on disputes between the player and licenced gambling sites. They are a lot like the AskGamblers system, but it will be important that you ensure the casino you play on is a licenced member of the UK Gambling Commission.
Before the IBAS get involved, they will want to ensure that you have tried to deal with the complaint via the casino. They also have their own terms and conditions which you need to agree with. Again, this is a free service which requires no personal contact via a meeting. You simply need to provide IBAS with your complaint in writing and any supportive evidence. To do this you will create an account on their website and fill in some basic personal information. They will contact the gambling site who will then be required to explain why the situation has not been resolved. IBAS will then make a ruling on the matter and there will be no appeals process. ‘
Although the introduction of IBAS into the mediation process will be seen as serious by the casino, the decision they make is not legally binding. This means that the site can refuse to bring into effect the outcome of the ruling, if said ruling didn’t go their way. Although it may seem pointless going to IBAS if there are no legal penalties against the casino, you should be aware that by not complying with their decision they could be removed as a registered operator from the IBAS scheme. Because IBAS is a recognised alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service with the UK Gambling Commission, there is a possibility that the sites failure to comply won’t be seen favourably and may affect their UKGC licence.
eCogra (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance)
eCogra is another ADR which online gamers can use should they have a complaint with a casino site. Since they were founded in 2003 they have built a large register of reputable casinos, who now display the eCogra seal on their site. Having this seal tells online gamers that the casino adheres to the high standards held by eCogra and that they will be monitored to ensure that this continues.
The actual complaints process is similar to IBAS, so before you register and provide your personal information, make sure that the site is registered with eCogra.
Alternate Options on Raising a Complaint
We have given you information on how to complain to the casino itself and a number of options for third party resources, but what happens if none of these work? There are a few other organisations who may take on your complaint, depending on what it is about.
Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)
You have probably heard of the ASA before, but they are basically an organisation which ensures high standards are maintained within all UK media. Of course, it would stand to reason that contacting the ASA about a complaint would only be advisable if it was based on how the casino had advertised their product. The ASA have a legal obligation to ensure that no advert is misleading and especially in relation to gambling, that they do not target vulnerable people such as those who are underage.
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Since 2007 the UKGC have focused on ensuring that there is fair and safe gambling for all, by introducing a number of regulations. Gambling sites must now be licenced by the UKGC if they want to provide services in the UK.
The UKGC have supported other ADR companies such as Resolver because they currently do not adjudicate a complaint themselves. But if the site breaches any of the terms of their licence, then they may be removed from the UKGC register and as such will not be able to continue business. For those occasions where you believe the site had breached any of these terms such as failure to ensure their self-exclusion option works, then you may want to contact them so they can investigate.
Social Media, TV, Newspapers
As a final straw you may want to share your complaint via social media platforms or through TV and newspapers. It does seem extreme but depending on the issue it may be something that people need to be made aware of. Also, for most gaming sites the backlash of having negative press can sometimes change how they respond to you. They maybe more open to discussions than they had previously and want to resolve the matter amicably.
Summary of Online Casino Complaint Procedure
Complaints are the last thing anyone wants to do, but when something goes wrong then you need to have the knowledge on where to go. Hopefully we have given you enough information to know how to proceed, with the first step always being the gambling site.
As we have stated already, most sites will want to deal with the matter quickly and to everyone’s satisfaction. So, most people find that their problem is resolved at the first stage of contact. Should that not be the case for you, then the next step would be one of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services.
There are steps that you can take even before a problem arises and that is to check the site is UK Gambling Commission licenced or eCogra regulated. This will show you that the casino offers high standards and there’s an element of protection. But always make sure that you take some time out to read over the terms and conditions of the gaming site you are registering with. We know it is completely mind numbing but it may save you at a later date.