Royal Panda Casino - Allowed to deposit when self excluded

RESOLVED
posted on September 28, 2015.

As Ask Gamblers stated Royal Panda casino was superb, I felt happy to join and deposit money.They had such a high rating that I didn't feel I would have any problem with this casino. How wrong was I. After playing on the site for a few days I decided to self exclude myself as I had lost smooch money. Before I did I saw that I had spent so much money I had built up 10 free spins on both Starbust and Dead or Alive slots. I tried to access these free spins but was unable to do so. I then continued with the self exclusion and asked that I be excluded from playing on the site for a period of 2 years. That was at 03.47 on 23 September. I received an automated reply with ticket no JKZ-867-17417. At 08.54 the next morning I received the following reply:
Great news, your Loyal Panda Shop order: 10 free spins for Starburst and 10 free spins for Dead or Alive, has been added to your account.

We also added 10 free spins for Twin Spin as your shop order hadn’t been processed before you applied a time-out.

We hope you enjoy it!

• Ticket: MOX-515-33572
• Status: Closed
I immediately noticed they had received my exclusion request as they refer to my time out request in the e mail. I was disappointed to note that despite this they were enticing me back on to their site with not only my shop order free spins but they had gave me another 10 free spins on another game. I logged back on some 10 hours later and played all the free spins thinking it couldn't do any harm as I had self excluded and they had acknowledged that in their e mail to me. After playing the free spins I then tried to deposit hoping I would not be allowed to as I had self excluded.
Unfortunately for me they continued to let me deposit even when they had acknowledged in their e mail to me that I had self excluded. I went on to lose hundreds of pounds. I contacted them by e mail pointing out I should not have been allowed to deposit money when I had self excluded and they were aware of it as they had referred to it in an e mail to me, (attached). I asked for a refund of the money I had lost after self excluding and pointed out that not only had they acknowledged my self exclusion in their reply they had also enticed me back on to their site with free spins and even given me additional free spins.
They replied saying they were sorry but they could not return my money. Again I explained they were at fault as although they were aware of self exclusion as referred to in their e mail, they didn't block my account and allowed me to continue depositing. I am appalled at the underhand way they have dealt with this. They knew I self excluded but enticed me back on to their site with the offer of free spins. I would warn other people who have an addiction not to play on this site as they will entice you on with the free spins even after you have self excluded and blame you.
They are irresponsible and only want your money and will take it regardless if you have self excluded or not !
I then explained the position in a further e mail and asked for the address of where I could complain to. This e mail was ignored.
I would warn other players against playing at this site and want to let Ask Gamblers know the unscrupulous way they entice players on to their site and make them aware that even if you self exclude they will let you deposit on their site and refuse to return the money they shouldn't have let you deposit as they knew you had self excluded.

posted on October 1, 2015.

Dear Catwomen,

We're sorry that you had a bad exeperience. We are currently looking into your case and will come back with a proper reply as soon as possible.

Best Regards,

Royal Panda

posted on October 1, 2015.

Dear Catwomen

I’m saddened to read that you weren’t happy with the service you received Royal Panda. We’ve reviewed your case, and I would like to share our findings with you:

*You did indeed send us an email at 03:47am on 23 September 2015, requesting the locking of your account for a two-year period.*

Although our customer service team strives to answer all customer enquiries in the shortest time possible, across all supported channels (chat, telephone and email), please be advised that email is not a real-time communication tool. As a result, there will always be a delay between an email entering Royal Panda’s email system, and the email being read, processed and replied to by one of our customer service staff.

This is especially true when the email is sent to us outside of opening hours (which are clearly displayed on the email form in the help menu, our homepage, and in the automated email you receive when your email enters our support inbox). To minimize delays, emails are always processed in the order they are received in – but nevertheless, a certain delay is inevitable under the circumstances.

*Before your account was locked, you made a shop purchase from our Loyal Panda Shop*

Loyal Panda Shop purchases are handled via a different system, by different staff, to our support email system. Although Royal Panda tries its best to ensure orders for items such as free spins and bonuses are given to players who can use them (e.g. by checking the lock status of their account before issuing them – see next question), in this instance, coincidence resulted in your shop order being processed before our customer service team had a chance to process your email.

*You mention the following sentence in one of our correspondences “We also added 10 free spins for Twin Spin as your shop order hadn’t been processed before you applied a time-out.”*

I agree that this was confusing under the circumstances, because you had just requested your account be locked.

However, this was in fact referring to the temporary lock you set via our responsible gaming option suite on 23 August 2015, which lasted until 23 September 2015.

Just before you locked your account on 23 August 2015, you had also ordered 10 free spins for Twin Spin via the Loyal Panda Shop. This was noted by the member of the shop team, who delayed adding the spins to your account until the temporary lock lifted to ensure you had full use of them.

*Your two-year lock request was both read and performed around noon on 24 September 2015*

As per the request in your email from 23 September, confirmation of the duration of the self-exclusion was sent to you, along with relevant information on responsible gaming.

Should you have any further questions relating to your case, please let us know (either as a response to this post, or via the support section of Royal Panda).

Kind regards,

Royal Panda

posted on October 1, 2015.

Dear Royal Panda
Thank you for your response.
I note you accept Royal Panda did not activate my request for self exclusion for 33 hours after it was made. There is obviously a different operating system in place for people joining your casino as it did not take 33 hours to activate my account and accept my deposits.

I have had a brief look at the code of practices for online casinos and the one thing that is evident is that the ethos of the codes of practice is to ensure the customer is treated fairly. Can you really say that waiting for a period of 33 hours to activate my self exclusion is fair treatment?
As is widely recognised, gamblers who wish to self exclude do so due to their addiction. Indeed
The Gambling Commission's paper on Strengthening social responsibility refers to all operators code of practice. It states, that "self-exclusion is widely accepted as an important harm minimisation tool for customers who have recognised that they have a problem with their gambling".
I would expect it to follow that responsible casinos would ensure they had sufficient administration staff to deal with such requests without delay. Royal Panda evidently does not when it took 33 hours for my request to be read, processed and actioned.
In a recent consultation document (Feb 2015 and amended in April 2015) the Gambling Commission stated, in relation to self exclusion, there were three priorities:
• to improve the promotion of self-exclusion as a tool
• to make self-exclusion a straightforward process to allow the customer to
exclude with maximum ease and
to ensure that reasonable precautions are in place to identify and prevent self-excluders who may attempt to breach their agreement from doing so.

It appears to me that Royal Panda have not complied with at least two of these recommendations. Self exclusion from your casino was certainly not a straightforward process that allowed me to exclude with maximum ease. I was allowed to deposit time and time again before your staff processed my request some 33 hours later. That surely cannot be what the Commission had in mInd when they referred to gamblers who have a problem self excluding with maximum ease.
In addition, there most certainly was not any reasonable precautions in place to identify and prevent me from accessing and depositing on your site after I had requested self exclusion. Quite the opposite is true as Royal Panda sent an e mail advising of 30 free spins in my account. Whether this was from a previous shop purchase or not is I suggest irrelevant. Royal Panda should have a procedure in place whereby a request to self exclude is processed without delay. In any event, you say that "Just before you locked your account on 23 August 2015, you had also ordered 10 free spins for Twin Spin via the Loyal Panda Shop. This was noted by the member of the shop team, who delayed adding the spins to your account until the temporary lock lifted to ensure you had full use of them". Why was my temporary exclusion noted by a member of the shop team on 23 August but my request to exclude for 2 years on 23 September was not?

If I had not received the offer of the free spins I would not have logged back on to Royal Panda as I assumed my self exclusion had been activated. On other casinos from which I have requested self exclusion it is activated immediately. Your offer of free spins enticed me back on to your site which resulted in me depositing more money, money I had asked you to prevent me depositing by my request for self exclusion.

The fact your staff did not process my request for such a long period is, to say the least, irresponsible and certainly cannot be considered fair to me. The fact that I previously excluded myself temporarily from your site should have been an indicator that I had a problem with gambling and any request to self exclude should have been activated without delay and certainly not one and a half days later.
I would ask you to re consider your decision not to refund the money I deposited from the period stating 16 hours after I requested self exclusion until it was activated 33 hours later.

Regards

posted on October 2, 2015.

Dear Catwowan,

Thank you for your reply. Please find our responses to your points below:

Royal Panda’s customer service and registration system

These are indeed separate. Registration and depositing are comparatively straightforward processes, and can be largely automated as a result. This is both more user-friendly to the customer, and also in-line with the UK gambling regulations.

It’s worth noting, however, that Royal Panda provides players with the option to set (among other things) deposit, loss and wagering limits via its responsible gaming page. These can be configured from the moment you confirm your account, with a harshening of the limits always taking effect immediately.

UK regulations

In keeping with the relevant UK regulations, players wishing to have their accounts locked over a long-term (six months or longer) period can request this over any of Royal Panda’s customer service channels: email, telephone or chat. In fact (particularly those cases relating to problem gambling), many players prefer to contact us over chat or telephone during business hours, in order to discuss the matter in real time with a member of our customer service team. The enables the player to discuss their options, ask any questions about the process and receive immediate confirmation of their account lock, while also giving the agent the chance to advise the player on responsible gaming support care they may wish to investigate.

Royal Panda does its utmost to ensure customer email enquiries are handled promptly and with the due amount of care and attention. Our aim is to respond to all customer enquiries within one working day, however, this can vary according to the number and nature of the enquiries received.

Also, there’s nothing to prevent a player imposing a short-term lock of their account themselves, while simultaneously requesting a long-term or permanent lock via customer service.

Promotion of responsible gambling

Royal Panda is always keen to promote responsible gaming for the wellbeing of its players. Our comprehensive responsible gaming page covers many topics (including limits, self-exclusion, filtering software and gambling addiction support groups), and links to it are available across many key Royal Panda webpages (including the deposit page).

As per the regulations, when a player’s account is locked, that player is not only prevented from logging in and playing for the duration of the lock period, they’re also removed from Royal Panda’s mailing lists to prevent marketing emails going out to them. Royal Panda’s customer service team also maintains interaction logs for UK players it has provided gambling addiction support to, and/or who have had long-term locks put on their accounts to ensure they’re not put at risk.

All Royal Panda staff involved in customer interaction are also given training in gambling addiction, and receive refresher training on UK self-exclusion procedures and relevant needs.

Your shop order and account lock request

As previously stated, shop orders and lock requests are handled through different systems by different members of staff. When processing a shop order for a free spins bundle or no-deposit bonus (i.e. something you need to be able to log in and play with to use), the person processing the order would check your account in the system to ensure your account is accessible to you. If the account is temporarily locked, the spins or bonus would be credited at the point the account becomes available again for this reason.

We hope this answers your follow-up questions, and should we be able to assist you any further, please reply to this post or contact our customer service team.

posted on October 3, 2015.

Dear Royal Panda
Thank you for your response and I note all that you write.
Royal Panda may be keen to promote responsible gambling and aim to respond to customer enquiries within one working day but that did not happen here. As previously stated I requested self exclusion, it took you 33 hours to activate this. Do you consider that shows you are keen to promote responsible gambling?
Do you really think 33 hours to activate a self exclusion is fair to the customer?
Is this the normal time people who wish to self exclude (as explained previously this is widely recognised to be problem gamblers), have to wait before your site will take steps to prevent them depositing money into your casino?
Why can other casinos activate self exclusion requests immediately yet Royal Panda chooses not to do this?
I reiterate, does Royal Panda think it is fair to a problem gambler to have to wait 33 hours before it activates a self exclusion?

posted on October 5, 2015.

Dear Catwowan,

Thank you for your reply. Please find our responses to your points below:

Regarding the 33 hour response time: as previously stated, Royal Panda does its utmost to ensure customer email enquiries are handled promptly and with the due amount of care and attention. Our aim is to respond to all customer email enquiries within one working day, however, this can vary according to the number and nature of the enquiries received.

Furthermore, and as previously explained, email is by its nature not a real-time communication tool, and there will inherently be delays between a request being submitted via email, and the request being processed. And although we do our utmost to ensure that delay is kept to a minimum, as explained above, it will vary according to workload.

Regarding our commitment to responsible gaming, as explained, we offer a comprehensive selection of options, which enable the player to curb or halt their gambling instantly via our responsible gambling page. This includes being able to lock your account for up to a month yourself, and harshen a wide variety of limits yourself.

Furthermore, players can request their accounts be locked for long-term periods via customer service. And as explained, these requests can be submitted via any of our customer service channels – chat, email and telephone.

In the case of a player who wishes to have his or her account locked in the long term due to suspected problem gambling, who wishes to do this outside of office hours, we would suggest he or she imposes a short term lock of their account to ensure they are immediately unable to continue playing and wagering, then contacts our customer service team at the earliest opportunity via chat or email (i.e. to converse in real time with one of our reps) to ensure the matter is resolved in the shortest time possible.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or comments you’d like us to answer.

Kind Regards,

Royal Panda

posted on October 5, 2015.

Dear Royal Panda
Thank you for your response. I am however disappointed to note that you have not answered the questions posed in my previous correspondence to you. For the avoidance of doubt I will ask again :

Do you really think 33 hours to activate a self exclusion is fair to the customer and in keeping with the recommendations laid down by the Gambling Commission?
Is 33 hours a normal time people who wish to self exclude (as explained previously this is widely recognised to be problem gamblers), have to wait before your site will take steps to prevent them depositing money into your casino if they e mail the request?
Why can other casinos activate self exclusion requests immediately yet Royal Panda chooses not to do this?
You refer to live chat and telephone contact. Please advise if live chat and telephone contact is available 24 hours. Are they available at 4 am when I sent my request to self exclude?

I am extremely disappointed by the responses so far and the overall attitude of Royal Panda to this situation. It does not in my opinion seem like the reaction of a casino that is rated on Ask Gamblers as superb. Quite the contrary I feel your approach to questions posed by me have been dealt with quite unprofessionally and your reaction smacks of a casino that will take customers money at all costs irrespective of the customers wishes.
I would be grateful for a reply to the questions posed and in particular do Royal Panda feel it is fair to have a customer wait 33 hours before a self exclusion request is activated.
I feel this complaint is being prolonged with repetitive answers from Royal Panda that do not answer the questions I have asked.
Finally for the moment please confirm my complaint is being dealt with by a member of management at Royal Panda.

posted on October 9, 2015.

Dear Catwoman,

Thank you for responding.

Like stated before in this post, email is not a direct communication tool, Royal Panda does its utmost to ensure customer email enquiries are handled promptly and with the due amount of care and attention. Our aim is to respond to all customer email enquiries within one working day, however, this can vary according to the number and nature of the enquiries received.

However You can lock yourself from playing on Royal Panda instantly, 24/7, for up to a month via our responsible gambling page. This is an option you are aware of and used in the past.

We have contacted Askgamblers support and are awaiting a reply from their side on this matter

Kind regards,

Royal Panda

posted on October 9, 2015.

Thank you for your reply. I will await your response after you have heard from Askgamblers before replying in full. In the meantime I have checked your responsible gambling page. Whilst it refers to permanent exclusion it does not say anywhere that exclusion is not activated immediately:
Self exclusion
If you’re still concerned that your gambling is becoming a problem, you can always self-exclude yourself from Royal Panda. This will suspend your account while you take a breather. To help you avoid temptation during this time, we’ll be sure not to send you any marketing material.

During this time, you’ll be blocked from doing the following:

Depositing any funds
Playing any Royal Panda online casino games for real money
Logging into your account
Royal Panda provides the following self-exclusion options to players from outside the United Kingdom:

Temporary, where you cannot login for a self-determined number of days.
Permanent, where you will be excluded from logging in at Royal Panda indefinitely.
Please be sure to withdraw any remaining funds in your account prior to self-excluding yourself. Once your account has been locked, you won’t be able to log in to request a withdrawal!

Royal Panda offers the following self-exclusion options to its British players:

Timeouts, where you can lock your account for between one day and six weeks.
Self-exclusion, where you can lock your account for six months or longer.
Please be sure to withdraw any remaining funds in your account prior to imposing a timeout. Once your account has been locked, you won’t be able to log in to request a withdrawal!

You will note that your own website states that during this time (assumed to be after self exclusion has been requested), Royal Panda will be sure not to send any marketing material. As I have said previously, not only was my account not excluded I received an e mail advising of 30 free spins. !

posted on October 12, 2015.

Dear Catwoman,

Thank you for your reply.

We've responded to some questions from Askgamblers and are awaiting their answers.

Best Regards,

Royal Panda

AskGamblers
posted on October 13, 2015.

After a careful consideration of all the facts and evidence presented during the complaints process, we came to the decision that player's claims for a deposit refund are unjustified.

It is essential for any player to know that self-exclusion request and implementation is a process of mutual cooperation and it's success depends on the efforts made by both sides involved into that process. In fact, it is now clear that player have already used some of the built-in website tools to request a self-exclusion before /player has been successfully self-excluded for the period 23/08.2015 - 23/09/2015/, but chosen not to that this time /claiming a longer self-exclusion period was needed/. Instead, player chosen to send en email and wait while player could easily use the same built-in website feature and self-exclude on their own while waiting their account to be excluded for a longer period. We find this fact as disturbing and we believe that it does not represent in any way the typical behaviour of a player who is seriously determined to stop playing for certain period of time. Had the player have won during that time, we have serious doubts a refund was about to be requested.

On the other hand, we find the period of 33+ hours for processing and implementing a simple self exclusion request is a bit longer and not totally complying with the best Responsible Gaming practices. We also recommend Royal Panda casino to add long term self exclusion options into their built-in website Responsible gaming feature and thus, to grant more options for a hassle free and faster self exclusion process to their customers.

We would also like to remind the submitter that further assistance on this matter could be requested from Royal Panda's licensing authority.

This complaints case is now officially closed.