Casino disputes don't happen often in regulated markets like the UK, but they can still happen.
When they do, it pays to know the complaints procedure laid out by the UK Gambling Commission, what your rights are, and where you can seek assistance in finding a resolution.
It’s not common, but it does happen. Occasionally, players or casinos run foul of the rules, sail so close to the wind that it warrants investigation, cause for concern, or even a registered casino dispute. If it does, you’ll want to know who has your back, can offer assistance and the complaints procedure that is set out by the UK Gambling Commission and must be followed by licences.
The aim of this guide is to minimise the frustration felt by players who have raised a dispute with a casino and to also inform you of your rights, because if you’re playing in a top-tier gambling jurisdiction, then you have them and can challenge the casino if you feel they are not fairly dealing with your complaint.
As with any normal service that includes payments, there can be glitches, system errors or sometimes human confusion that leads to a dispute between the provider and receiver. Mostly, these are easy to solve, like when a casino bonus isn’t automatically credited to your account. But at other times they are more complicated, say if a casino isn’t paying out your winnings.
This can leave you feeling like you're out of options - this is when it’s important to know exactly where to turn and how CasinoGuide can help when raising a casino dispute.
Casino disputes tend to fall into the following categories:
We get that when something goes wrong at the casino, it’s not always the player at fault. But there are ways that you as a player can protect yourself from the likelihood of getting into a casino dispute.
Licensed casinos play fair, there is a complaints procedure for times of error or dispute and a way to directly report the casino to the licensing body.
To check casino licensing, simply load up your casino, scroll down to the bottom of the site and check for the licensing logo, which should be displayed. If you can’t see it, this is a red flag and you’ll need to do some more research before signing up. Or pick a casino we recommend as we’ve already checked all the safety essentials and licensing - saving you the time.
This is where you’ll find all the details of the rules that both you and the casino plays by. You agree to these when you sign-up. This means if you’re breaking any of the conditions set out here, and agreed to by you, the casino will most likely win the dispute.
The only way to make sure you’re not breaking those rules is to be familiar with them, so make sure you’ve read them and play by them.
It’s not just the general casino rules to mind. Every deal, promo or offer will come with separate terms and conditions. If you do not meet these conditions within the set period you stand to lose the promotion and associated winnings. These terms and conditions are a must-read before opting into a bonus as they generate the most types of complaint.
Generally, the case is that players do not meet the wager requirement conditions before trying to withdraw bonus funds as they have not read the rules, and therefore when their bonus winnings are forfeited they dispute the casino’s actions as unfair. To avoid this situation, always read the T&Cs keeping an eye out for wager requirements, game contribution percentage and time limits.
It is not always possible to avoid disputes, especially if you are not the party at fault. In this case, you need to know how to make a complaint and thanks to the strict regulations of the UKGC, the process has been made fair, streamlined and uses independent third-party mediation when required.
Any casino licensed by the UKGC must meet licencing standards for dealing with complaints and they have a very comprehensive rule book on the matter. They stipulate that casinos must:
The complaints procedure is set out within the licensing conditions and codes of practice for all UK licensed casinos and it is the licensing body who protects players by giving and taking away licences or sanctioning casinos. In the case of the UKGC, you can even complain directly to them about a casino. This is why you must always play at licensed casinos.
As a casino player, if you are unhappy or have received unfair treatment at an online casino you have tools at your disposal to make a complaint.
Your first point of call is the casino themselves, giving them the option to go over what has happened and rectify any mistakes on their part in-house. Reach out to them directly using their support or complaints channels via phone, email, live chat or social media. If you’re in the midst of a dispute and have already followed this step, skip to the next section.
The casino will ask you for all the details of your complaint, including times and dates of any associated deposits or withdrawals. So take some time to dig out this info from your account history. Give them as much information as possible so they can quickly identify the problem and solve the dispute. If you haven’t already, go through the casino's terms and conditions, so you are aware of any applicable rules and can better argue your case if you feel the casino is in the wrong.
But be aware and ready for the fact that solving a dispute can go both ways, in favour of the casino or the player and as the casino is your first point of call they are the judge.
So what do you do if you’ve contacted the casino and are struggling to get a response or understand the outcome from the casino?
CasinoGuide can help.
If you’re in the early stages of a complaint and want some extra guidance, someone who can clearly explain the decisions of the casino as well as use their contacts in the casino industry to potentially assist you in reaching a positive outcome, then get in touch and tell us about your complaint. We can’t promise a satisfactory outcome, but having CasinoGuide on your side certainly won’t hurt, and if the casino fairly finds you at fault we can help you understand why- get in contact with us.
If you’ve received a response to a complaint from the casino that you’re unhappy with or still think is unfair?
This doesn’t mean this is the end of the road and you can challenge the casinos decision by escalating the issue for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
This means an investigation will be undertaken by an independent third-party- the ADR body. Whilst the ADR body is chosen by the casino, they may only pick from those approved by the UKGC (see the full list here), which offers the reassurance of a fair service for the player.
ADR must be provided by the casino and free of charge according to the licensing conditions of the UKGC. From the first step of you lodge a dispute with the casino, to the end of the ADR process the dispute process should be settled within 8-weeks.
But what do you do if you still feel the dispute has not been settled fairly?
Having gone through ADR, resulting in the outcome siding with the casino, your only remaining option if you feel you still have a case, is to seek legal advice and consider a court case.
If you reach the point of needing legal assistance or are unsure of how to proceed with a complaint further then Citizens Advice is the place to head for free advice, otherwise seek out a lawyer. Citizens Advice offers a range of legal and consumer information for free and can help you resolve an issue, understanding a resolution or give advice on how to proceed further and gain legal advice on your rights.
Keep in mind that when you joined the casino, you agreed to a set of terms and conditions, creating a contract with them and so you will struggle to challenge things laid out in the casino terms and conditions (unless they are unfair, unclear, or not transparent) which is why we advocate seeking legal advice first as going to court will incur legal costs for you. Seeking legal advice will also tell you more about this and any legal footing you have to take the casino to court.
When you get into a dispute with a casino, the most important thing to know is that you are not alone. You can use the CasinoGuide Dispute Resolution Service to get help from us, reach out to Citizens Advice, and in cases of serious casino breaches complain directly to the UKGC.
Keep in mind that it is the casino’s duty to accept and solve your complaint in a fair and transparent way. If they do not, take the next step and escalate it to ADR and remember the process should take no more than 8-weeks.
Read next: Gambling Licenses Guide