How to Solve Casino Disputes and Get helpDate 01 May 2018 | Category Casino Guides | Author Bruce Raynor
18+ Only. Terms and Conditions apply, see website for more details. BeGambleAware.
01 May 2018
Online gambling has become one of the world’s fastest-growing industries thanks to numerous regulations passed worldwide. As the years go by, it seems that there are more and more online gambling operators entering this lucrative market and serving players from all across the world. The number of games offered is constantly growing, just like the number of disputes between consumers and operators. After all, no concept is perfect and bumps on the road were always expected.
In this regard, players never really hope for a dispute to happen; in fact, they often join the first online casino they find and just focus on the games. On the other hand, even customers that carefully pick their online gambling operator by checking its reputation and licenses sometimes face issues with them. In other words, problems can often arise, and customers can end up dissatisfied with all solutions offered to them; this dissatisfaction is what leads to disputes.
In such cases, it is crucial to know how to handle these disputes, whom to contact and what to do. Therefore, here is an informative and comprehensive guide on how to solve casino disputes and what to expect from the process.
Casino Disputes Explained
Before diving deeper into the topic of solving casino disputes, one first must get familiar with what disputes are. Disputes are issues a player has with its casino operator. Disputes can have all kinds of natures, with those regarding bonuses being the most common ones. For example, when you claim a bonus and then the bonus is void, alongside any winnings made with it, without any explanation or obvious reason, you may get annoyed and start looking for answers.
Often, operators may provide a certain explanation on the situation, but the likelihood of you getting your way is pretty low. In this case, a dispute has arisen between you and the operator and you’ll need to handle it smartly if you want to be satisfied with its resolution. In case you cannot deal with the issue with the operator, you can take the dispute to a higher authority i.e. legitimate casino dispute resolution services that can provide you with the support and protection you need.
Operator’s Terms and Conditions
It’s surprising to discover that the majority of disputes arise as a result from people not reading terms and conditions. Namely, each online casino is obliged to have general terms and conditions as well as bonus terms and conditions. Moreover, they are obliged to provide comprehensive bonus terms for each and every offer they launch on their site. In other words, if a person pays enough attention to these, they will know exactly what to expect and probably there won’t be any surprises or issues.
Players must have in mind that these are written by lawyers whose job is to make them in a way that best suits the operator, not the consumer. Furthermore, they are often too detailed and boring, something that makes them boring to read. Nonetheless, in the terms and conditions always lie answers crucial for customers and therefore they should carefully read these documents before joining the operator and/or claiming bonuses.
Avoiding Casino Disputes
Possibly the best way to deal with casino disputes is to completely avoid them. Naturally, the question that comes next is how to avoid disputes; well, there are two crucial steps a player can take in order to avoid disputes altogether. The first was explained in the previous paragraph and involves carefully reading terms and conditions. However, the second is actually even more important as it focuses on choosing a fair and trustworthy operator in the first place.
So, how does anyone pick the perfect online casino? Well, there are certain things to consider before signing up and providing your personal details. A reliable online casino operator often has a positive reputation among players and cannot be associated with negative words or reviews in search engines. Such trustworthy gambling companies also hold licenses from reputable regulating bodies as well as independent auditors. If nothing else, you’ll know that in a case a dispute arises, you’ll be protected by these authorities rather than having to accept whatever decision the operator makes in regard the dispute.
Handling Casino Disputes
Now that you know all about casino disputes, it’s time to explain how to handle them. There are several steps a player that finds themselves into a dispute need to take in order to get the protection they need. So, let’s say that something has happened, a glitch that resulted in you losing winnings or bonus expiration etc. Here’s what you need to do:
- Contact support – Obviously, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation at a certain online casino, you should first try and contact support. After all, skipping this step would mean that you just want to pick a fight instead of trying to resolve the issue the easiest way possible. However, before you get in touch with support agents, you want to make sure that you have read carefully the terms and conditions and found some base for your claims. Then, when you contact support you must comprehensively explain the issue at hand as well as send them any terms and condition paragraphs that support your case. Also, it’s important to be as precise as possible, meaning you need to provide dates, types of bonuses, amounts of cash and anything that is important.
- Contact a legitimate casino dispute resolution body – If you have completed step 1 and the response received from the support isn’t the one you’ve been hoping for, then it’s time for step 2. This step is actually taking your case a bit further than the operator’s support i.e. to a legitimate casino dispute resolution body that can hear your case and provide you support and protection in case you deserve those. These bodies will be further explained in the following subtitles. However, what you need to know at this point is that solving casino disputes with their help usually takes up to 90 days; moreover, when these bodies are involved, they first listen to what you have to say and then they contact the operator on your behalf and finally provide recommendation to the operator how the case should be handled. Such bodies offer their services for free, but sometime there may be some costs related to obtaining supporting information.
- Last resort - take the case to court – Finally, if nothing works and you’re certain that the operator did you wrong, you can take the case to court. Naturally, you must first get informed about your rights and jurisdiction before taking this extreme step. Such disputes often take lots of energy, resources and time; thus, you must be sure that you’re ready to sue the operator rather than letting it go.
Legitimate Casino Dispute Resolution Services
Legitimate casino dispute resolution services are actually regulating bodies as well as independent auditors that can help players in case of a dispute. These also grant gambling licenses or seals of approval that often guarantee that a casino is safe, secure and reliable. Therefore, when these bodies are involved, it’s in the operator’s best interest to find a resolution that satisfies all the parties involved rather than remain stubborn. When mentioning regulatory bodies, possibly the most reputable one that comes to mind is the UK Gambling Commission, although there are many others that may be able to help including independent auditors such as eCOGRA.
Read on to find out which dispute services we recommend if you are going through the process.
eCOGRA or eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance is based in London and it’s an internationally approved independent auditor. This company offers certification, testing, player protection and standardization for companies in the online gambling industry. Conflict resolution is one of the fields in which eCOGRA specializes and they focus on offering protection and support to players that are willing to seek help from them. In order to get eCOGRA involved, a player needs to read the guide provided by the agency and then fill out a dispute form.
Visit http://www.ecogra.org for more information.
UK Gambling Commission (Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR))
All gambling businesses approved by the UKGC are obliged to appoint an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). On the UKGC website, there is a list of approved agencies that can be appointed as an ADR provider such as ADR Group, eCOGRA, and the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). Whichever of these has been appointed by the operator is clearly highlighted on the casino’s website; thus, players will know which one to contact in case of a dispute.
However, as the UKGC points out, an ADR should be contacted after a player has complained to the gambling business and been through their complaint process. Consumers do not need to pay for using an ADR and should expect a decision within 90 days. After the ADR has given their decision, you can take the case to court if it’s not in your favour.
Visit http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk for more information on the ADR service and providers.
Malta Gaming Authority
Malta Gaming Authority is yet another reputable online gambling regulating body that enables players to file complaints against MGA approved gambling sites. Yet again, it is advised to first go through the complaint process with the gambling operator prior to contacting the MGA and filling out the form provided on their site. The form includes questions regarding the player’s identity, the operator, date of the incident, disputed amount etc.
Contact the MGA at https://www.mga.org.mt where you can submit a claim regarding any operator governed by the rules and regulations upheld in Malta.
Other Dispute Resolution Bodies
In addition to the three abovementioned regulating bodies, there are also other such regulating agencies and authorities players can turn to. One highly reputable such authority is the Alderney Gambling Control Commission; this was actually possibly the most reputable one before the UKGC was established. The Gibraltar Gambling Commission and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission are two other respected authorities that can help with conflict resolution. An agency similar to eCOGRA, on the other hand, is the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolutions, which is approved ADR by the UKGC. This body is based in London and has been working since 1990. The CEDR is known as the largest conflict resolution group and has worked in more than 50 different jurisdictions around the world.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Online Casinos
Back in April 2016, The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was prepared in the EU as a regulation that should provide data protection and privacy for all individuals living in EU countries. As the law’s implementation date is 25th of May, 2018, it’s important to know how it affects player rights. After all, operators have already started to prepare for it, thus players should too.
Generally speaking, there are three key points of interest that affect the gambling industry and therefore players:
- Security breaches – if there are any security breaches, operators will have to report them within 72 hours after becoming aware of them. Moreover, there will be a notification system introduces, which will alert data handlers. As there are new requirements entering in force with the GDPR, online gambling operators will have to make sure they comply with these requirements and standards.
- Internal Governance and Responsibility – operators will have to keep a record of all data processing activities as well as associated policies and procedures. This guarantees players higher data safety and privacy.
- Data portability right – this right makes players able to get a copy of all personal data held about them by operators. In case the operator fails to meet this regulation, or any other regulation imposed via the GDPR, it will face high financial penalties as well as damaged reputation.
To sum up, casino disputes can happen to anyone. There are, naturally, best avoided by carefully reading casino terms and condition as well as by sticking to reputable casino operators. However, in case a player has an issue that cannot be solved the easy way, they should try their luck by contacting a legitimate casino dispute resolution body such as the eCOGRA; alternatively, as last resort, they can take their case to court even though that can be expensive and energy consuming.
Finally, players within the EU should remember that thanks to the GDPR, which will get implemented very soon, operators will have to provide them more privacy and better data protection. Thus, this is possibly the time when consumers are protected as they’ve never been before; consequently, this is also the time when online gambling is safer than before as long as players make smart choices.
Keywords GDPR, Disputes, MGA, UKGC, eCOGRA