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How do I complain about a gambling transaction (disputes)?
If you wish to dispute a gambling transaction, that is, disagree with an operator about whether you won, or how much you have been paid, you should follow the disputes process below.
However, if you wish to complain about the way in which a gambling business is being run, which may indicate a threat to the licensing objectives, you should follow the process detailed in How do I complain about a gambling operator?
How to raise a dispute
All licence holders must have a clear policy on dealing with complaints, including disputes. This policy must include the process to follow in raising a dispute and should be readily available to you in writing:
1. Disputes can be expressed orally or in writing and may occur in person, over the telephone, by letter, by email, or via online support.
2. Complain, to the licence holder concerned providing as much detail as possible. Ideally, you should keep a full record of the dispute.
3. The licence holder should investigate the dispute, escalating as necessary, following their internal complaints procedure and informing you of the outcome.
4. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, ask the licence holder to refer the dispute to their appointed independent third party for investigation.
5. The independent third party should then contact you in the course of their investigation.
So that your dispute is handled as quickly as possible, you should always follow the licence holder’s complaints procedure in the first instance.
What is an independent third party?
The arrangements vary but all Gambling Commission licence holders who have direct gambling customers are required to have an appointed individual or organisation. Organisations that provide third party arbitration services include, but are not limited to:
Independent betting adjudication service (which covers betting, remote gambling, lotteries and gaming machine disputes) (IBAS)
Independent Panel for Casino Arbitration (IPCA)
Independent Panel of Bingo Administration (IPBA)
Independent Panel for Bingo Arbitration (IPBA)
Other more local arrangements are also allowed.
The important feature is that the third party has sufficient knowledge to investigate disputes but is also sufficiently independent of the licence holder.
What happens if the independent third party does not find in my favour?
Normally that will be the end of the matter. We are unlikely to reopen the enquiry unless there is clear evidence that the licence holder has not complied with their obligations.
However, gambling contracts made since 1 September 2007 are legally enforceable under the Gambling Act 2005. If you think you have an actionable case against a licence holder you should seek independent legal advice. We do not give legal advice on this or any other area.
What happens if the licence holder has not dealt with my dispute properly?
If you feel that a licence holder does not have a proper complaints procedure, they have ignored your dispute, or they have not passed on your details to an independent third party, you can complain to us about their failure to operate a proper complaints process.
If we think your dispute is reasonable then we may take this up with the licence holder concerned. We will not investigate the facts of the dispute, but we will check that there is a complaints procedure in place and challenge the licence holder to follow that procedure fully. This process may take some time but you can expect an acknowledgement of your dispute with the licence holder, from us, within three working days.