A sad fact of the online gambling industry is the number of complaints made against the gambling websites. Some unjustified, some justified.
If you feel harshly treated or if you have have a serious claim of wrong doing against a gambling site then what can you do? Here we will detail the steps you need to take as well as providing the contact information you need.
The complaints procedure:
- The first thing you need to do is get your story clearly written down. You will need to clearly state the gambling site in question, your email address and username.
You need to write out your complaint clearly and concisely. Preferably using a timeline including dates of deposits, value of deposits, when and what went wrong, etc, etc. Do not waffle, be very detailed and precise.
Write down how you think your complaint or claim should be resolved. Be realistic in your claims.
Try and gather all your gaming logs for the period in question.
If you have any correspondence (emails, phone calls, live chats with an agent) then gather all of these as well for reference.
- Your first port of call is to then submit a formal complaint to the gambling website in question.
- Should your issue not be resolved satisfactorily by the gambling website then you should take all of the information gathered in point 1, along with the result of point 2, and make a formal complaint at the gambling licensing authority where the site is licensed.
- Should your complaint or claim be rejected by the licensing authority then you need to think long and hard about the result and the reasons you lost your claim. If you still feel badly done by and think you still have a legitimate case then your last port of call is to go to a 3rd party mediator. Many gambling sites refuse to deal with 3rd parties however many do because of the bad publicity they receive otherwise. However it should be noted that these third parties hold no legal authority at all.
- After this step your choices become much harder and more complicated. You may take legal action (expensive and risky) or you may go to the Ombudsman relevant to your situation (free if you handle the case yourself, I myself went to my national financial ombudsman for a case against my mortgage company (which I won in the end) and as I represented myself the only cost to me was lots of stress, lots of reading and preparation and having to take one day off work for the hearing).
The reality: All being well if you have provided a very clear, concise and detailed case with the facts laid bare and supporting screenshots and game logs then you should have your case resolved in step 3 if the gambling site in question has not already backed down in step 2. Things may not always go in your favour. There is common sense at play when you get to the licensing authority but I must remind you once again that it is imperative to read the terms and conditions carefully at any online gambling establishment. I just cannot emphasise that enough. Take the 5 minutes to read through before you start playing, it may save you months of hassle somewhere down the line!
The licensing authorities/regulators contact info:
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Nara Centre
1 Constitution Avenue
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601
Phone Number: 61 2 6207 0359
Australian Northern Territory
Level 1 Enterprise House, 28-30 Knuckey Street DARWIN NT 0800
Postal Address: GPO Box 1154, DARWIN NT 0801
Phone: (08) 8999 1800
Fax: (08) 8999 1888
Manager, Licensing Review and Audit
PO Box 124
First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation
26th Floor West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Center
Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Phone Number: (632) 638-55-56
Robin Le Prevost
Director of E-Commerce Development
States of Alderney
PO Box 15
Alderney, GY9 3HT
British Channel Islands
Phone Number: +44 1481 825500
Gaming Commission Belgium
Phone Number: +32 2 504 00 40
Regulatory Authority Online Games
99-101 rue Leblanc
Phone Number: +33 1 57 13 13 00
The Danish Gambling Authority
Helgeshøj Allé 9
Phone Number: (+45) 72 38 79 13
Office of Financial and Development Secretary
23 John Mackintosh Square
Phone Number: (+350) 200072166
Isle of Man
Department of Economic Development
St Georges House,
Upper Church Street,
Isle of Man,
Phone Number: +44 (0)1624 682365
Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli
Mastai Square, 11 – 00153 ROMA
Fax: 06 58572200
Jersey Gambling Commission
Malta Gaming Authority
Suite 1, Level 3,
Phone Number: +356 2546 9000
Comision Nacional del Juego
(Spanish Gaming Commission)
Ministerio del Interior
UK Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
Phone Number: 0121 230 6666
Costa Rica Commerce
Industry and Economy Ministry
Edificio del IFAM
Costa Rica 10216-1000
+506 235 2700
Kahnawake Gaming Commission,
P.O. Box 1799,
Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake,
Phone Number: (450) 635-1076
555 East Washington Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone Number: (702) 486-2000
New Jersey Casino Control Commission
Tennessee Avenue & Boardwalk
Atlantic City, New Jersey 08401
La Junta de Control de Juegos
Calle 35 Este,
Edificio antiguo “Hacienda y Tesoro”
Phone number Economy: (+507) 507-7000 (+507) 506-6600
Phone number Finance: (+507) 507-7600
Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gaming
2nd Floor – West Wing
First Caribbean Financial Centre
Old Parham Road
Antigua and Barbuda
Fax: (268) 481-3305
Ara Hilltop Building
Third party mediators
One major problem with the global online gaming industry is the fact that it is global. The number of different regulators you can see above (and we may have missed one or two of the really small ones) makes things tricky with not every regulator being as upstanding as some of the better ones.
Another major problem is that there is no single official watchdog. What we are left with then are a number of websites acting as third party mediators. And a problem with this is that most of these sites are simply affiliate websites using the complaints system to try and drive traffic to their website. We have even seen instances where websites claiming to be watchdogs will only act on behalf of a player registered to a gambling site through one of their links “If we are not going to make money off you we won’t help you”. We have also heard that at some sites “You only get one complaint, so if you get screwed over by 2 gambling sites that’s tough luck, you have had our help once already”.
There have been a few of accusations raised against the impartiality of sites such as The Pogg, Casino Meister, Ask Gamblers and Gambling Grumbles (4 of the biggest affiliates/mediators). There is also a big question mark about how much some of these sites really care about the player with the problem or whether the complaints system is just a marketing ploy. Now whether or not these accusations have any substance is not the point here (as some of the accusations have come from other website owners and should as such be taken with a pinch of salt). Without wishing to pick one of these sites out ahead of the others or degrade any of them in particular we would say that The Pogg is officially registered as a mediator with the UKGC. Casino Meister has a long history in the game and recently it looks like he has made more than enough money over the years that he can afford to be more fair. Gambling Grumbles are very small and we don’t know much about them. Finally Ask Gamblers, well traditionally they have simply been a sell out with very little real factual information, paid reviews, only using their high profile on complaints rather than digging in, not to mention promoting illegal websites, however recently they were bought for €15,000,000 and are under new ownership who look like they are making some steps to clean up the reputation so we’ll reserve judgment on them for now. If you pushed us to pick one of the 4 sites I’d say go with either Casino Meister or Pogg.
IBAS & eCogra: of all the 3rd party mediators it is the non profit ones which are gathering pace and strength. If a casino lists eCogra on their website then simply use them as your 3rd party mediator. Those in the know have been using IBAS a lot recently and they are picking up popularity and strength. If you play anything other than casinos then IBAS is the one for you but even for casino gambling complaints they are starting to really get some traction.
The point is though that if you have gone through the complaint steps as laid out at the start of this page and have not had a satisfactory conclusion then submitting your complaint to a third party mediator is worth a shot. The negative publicity alone may just make the gambling website think twice. As I have said before though, a good number of gambling sites refuse to deal with third parties.
Here we’ll give you an example of communication between a casino group and a third party:
Casino: “We are writing to you with reference to your last email to us, please note to confirm, we will need a legal notice from the clients stating that you are representing them on their behalf. And the client will need to send this to us after which further communication will not be an issue”
Third Party: “Just to make things perfectly clear, we’re not representing anyone – nor have we ever pretended to do so. The complaint service is there merely to facilitate communications between players and casinos. We don’t ask casinos to share any information or to submit any reports, all we ask from you is to look into an issue and get back to us on its status.”
And an example from a complaint case made to a third party:
“The only thing I could suggest to do now is contact their regulator the Maltese Lottery and Gaming Authority. Sorry I couldn’t have been of more help.”
In both the examples above, the third parties in question blacklisted the casino chain because they failed to work with the third party. And they do so for other groups as well. The gaming regulators and authorities are strong enough by themselves and will handle issues themselves. However there is one way in which the third party mediators could gain some actual credibility…..
One joint non-profit global mediation service?
The ideal situation is for these big affiliate websites to join forces and setup a single major non-profit mediation website where their power is far stronger and where their impartiality can never be called into question. Surely this would really take a lot of power back from the gaming sites?
Some other mediation services:
Here are some other mediation websites (non-profit) that you may try:
European Union Online Dispute Resolution
Support for gambling affiliates?
Of course it is not only players who get shafted by the gambling websites. Their partners, reviewers, affiliates, advertisers get screwed over as well on occasion. Unfortunately there really isn’t that much help available for affiliates, the so called big affiliate watchdogs not really following up on their promises and also being more interested in looking after their own best interests and often having prime sponsors who are well known for dodgy dealings with both players and affiliates.
The one way affiliates are going to protect themselves is by way of a joint class action lawsuit against the groups who break the law and break contracts etc. But unfortunately it requires a collective effort and many many webmasters are far too scared to stand up and take a stance against the hand that feeds them.
Update: both The Pogg and Ask Gamblers have now launched complaints services for online gambling affiliates, though having tested them unfortunately these do leave a lot to be desired still.