How to Lodge a Complaint against Online Gambling Operators

Licensed online casinos are committed to delivering quality services and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. As strictly regulated as they are, however, gambling operators are not immune to blunders and may drop the ball occasionally, giving you grounds to lodge a complaint.

Filing a complaint against an online casino is relatively uncomplicated, although there are still some guidelines and rules to follow. These can slightly differ from one regulated market to the next but most of the steps in the process typically overlap.

The strictest regulatory bodies in the industry expect their licensees to follow transparent and clear complaint policies, giving customers the confidence their grievances will be fairly handled. In this article, we walk you through the most common reasons for player grievances and explain the process of lodging a complaint step by step.

Valid Reasons for Complaints against Gambling Operators

Valid Reasons for Complaints against Gambling OperatorsBefore you move forward with lodging a complaint, we recommend you make sure your grievance is indeed legitimate. Ensuring you are not in the wrong will save you time and spare you from going through any unnecessary hassles.

The most logical thing to do is to meticulously read the terms and conditions again, paying closer attention to the clauses that concern your issue, in particular.

Many complaints fail to reach a resolution or get rejected for the simple reason the players lodging them have not read the terms of use and have violated them as a result.

With that in mind, here are several valid reasons for filing a complaint against an online gambling operator.

Delayed or Denied Withdrawals
Disabled or Closed Accounts
Inappropriate Advertising Content
Game Malfunctions

Stages in the Complaint Process

Stages in the Complaint ProcessPlayers should not address an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider immediately after the issue as there are several stages in the dispute process.

The established practice is to first contact the gambling operator as this is the quickest way to resolve issues in most cases. Proceed to seek assistance from ADR providers only if you fail to reach an amicable settlement of the dispute with the operator.

1Step 1

Examine the terms and conditions again to ensure there are no violations on your behalf. If you are confident you are not in the wrong, proceed to the next step.

2Step 2

Get in touch with the operator via the support live chat or in person by visiting the respective gambling venue, bingo room, or retail betting shop.

3Step 3

Share all details regarding your complaint with the gambling operator, including the time and date when the issue took place, and describe the nature of the problem comprehensively. If possible, attach any files as evidence to support your claims. Save copies of your claims, evidence, and communication with the operator for future reference.

4Step 4

Give the gambling operator enough time to examine your claims and investigate the issue.

5Step 5

Escalate the complaint to a higher level if the issue was not settled to your satisfaction. You can transfer the complaint to a higher authority within the gaming business itself, such as the management team.

6Step 6

If the issue is still not resolved to mutual satisfaction, the management team will send the complaint to their colleagues from senior management for consideration.

7Step 7

Provided that the above-mentioned internal complaints procedures do not result in a satisfactory resolution, you can take the matter to an ADR service provider.

Your gambling operator will inform you which ADR provider it works with. Jurisdictions like Malta allow gambling companies to use the services of several approved ADR companies. Some operators also give their customers reference letters to confirm their complaints are eligible for ADR consideration.

8Step 8

Allow several weeks for the ADR provider to investigate the complaint and reach a decision. Some gamblers refer the matter to court if they are still dissatisfied with the ADR settlement of their complaints.

Guidelines for Lodging Complaints with ADR Providers

1How to Approach Your Issue

You should follow certain guidelines when lodging a complaint against a gambling site or else you risk having your grievance rejected. Here are suggestions on how to approach your issue with a given online casino in a civilized manner, hopefully, to a successful end.

2Check the T&Cs First

Ensure you have not unknowingly violated the terms and conditions of the casino. If so, the ADR provider will surely invalidate your complaint.

3Describe the Issue

Provide proof and describe the issue subject to the complaint in sufficient detail. Some claims require supporting documentation so make sure you have it at the ready.

Alternative dispute resolution providers expect players to send the necessary documents within a reasonable timeframe.

Those who fail to do so or provide insufficient or false information stand very decent chances of having their complaints rejected.

4Enter Your Information Correctly

Many ADR organizations require players to provide some personal information, including their name, city of residence, and contact email.

Also necessary is to provide your account number, username, and the domain of the gambling site. Double-check the form to make sure you have entered valid details.

5Do Not Include Sensitive Information

Do not include sensitive information when submitting your complaint like your banking details, for example.

Some third-party ADR providers establish a direct line of communication between players and the gambling businesses and do not require this sensitive information, to begin with.

6Remain Civil When Describing the Subject of the Dispute

The only thing you will achieve by using foul and disrespectful language is to have your complaint automatically invalidated.

You should be assertive without being aggressive. Some independent dispute resolution providers disallow writing in caps lock so keep that in mind as well.

7Refrain From Lodging Multiple Complaints About the Same Issue

At best, this would cause unnecessary delays, not to mention some ADR providers treat follow-up complaints as spam and end up rejecting them altogether.

Dispute resolution providers like IBAS only handle gambling-relating complaints and will not interfere in disputes related to other sectors, such as accountancy or healthcare. Others like ProMediate (UK) take on various civil and commercial disputes, including those involving gambling businesses.

Common Reasons for Complaint Rejection

Common Reasons for Complaint RejectionOnline casino players may suffer rejection even if they adhere to all guidelines we outlined earlier. It is important to understand that ADR providers may entertain different notions about what constitutes a legitimate complaint.

We recommend you consult with the website of the specific dispute resolution service in advance to see the specific requirements. With that in mind, most adjudication entities refuse to deal with gambling-related disputes in the circumstances listed below.

1Reason 1

The player has made a complaint against an online casino that is not on the list of gambling sites registered with the adjudication service.

2Reason 2

The dispute arose a long time ago and the player failed to submit the complaint within a reasonable time (usually twelve months).

3Reason 3

The dispute is currently under consideration or has already been considered by another ADR provider.

4Reason 4

The player has not made any attempts to negotiate a solution to the issue directly with the gambling business before complaining to the ADR provider.

5Reason 5

The monetary value of the disputed claims does not meet the minimum and maximum monetary thresholds outlined by the ADR provider.

6Reason 6

Undertaking the dispute would damage the effective operation of the dispute resolution provider.

7Reason 7

The disputed claims are fatuous and have no relation to the outcome of the gambling transaction.

Major Gambling ADR Providers

Regulated gambling businesses must satisfy certain industry standards when dealing with consumer complaints. In many jurisdictions, they must also appoint alternative dispute resolution entities approved by the local gambling regulator.

Here we should point out that some gambling watchdogs do not deal with customer complaints directly. This is the case with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen).

The UK regulatory system imposes strictures on approved ADR entities and prohibits them from handling certain types of disputes, particularly those related to responsible gambling. Local players should direct complaints of this type to the UKGC instead. The watchdog itself does not respond to individual complaints but rather uses them to detect trends indicative of problematic activities among its licensees.
Swedish Consumer Agency
Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
Alderney Gambling Control Commission
Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
The Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS)