How do I submit a complaint about a bingo site?

Introduction

Don’t be fooled by Bingo’s quaint image of the elderly packing out village halls the length and breadth of Britain.

Bingo Sites are big business. In 2019, UK Bingo generated over £1 billion in revenue.

The game can be traced back to Roman times and was a popular child’s game in Renaissance Italy. Although the modern game was established in the US in 1929, it didn’t gain a foothold in the UK until the 1960s. Today, it’s estimated that 3 million people regularly play Bingo in the UK.

But like all gambling, Bingo has moved out of the village hall and onto a laptop or mobile phone through bingo sites. Which means less human interaction.

So, if you’re playing online, and you’re not happy with your experience, how do you make a complaint?

Terms & Conditions

Have you ever bothered to read the small print? I know it can be like watching paint dry, but if you want to make a complaint, the first thing you should do is read the T&Cs. If you’ve signed up to certain terms and conditions, then you will be beholden to them no matter how unfair. The devil is in the detail, so the first port of call is to make sure you read them.

If, after reading the T&Cs, you still think your complaint is valid, then you need to read our next step.

Collect Your Evidence

If you are going to make a complaint, then you need to provide the evidence to back up your claim. The more you have in writing (so emails, text messages, chat functions) the better. Verbal agreements are difficult to prove as there is no paper trail.

Even better still, if you can take screenshots or photos of the problem, then use them to hammer home your point.

Start Small

Making a complaint is the first step towards and ‘escalation process’. And with any form of escalation you need to start small and be prepared to make your complaint bigger should you feel unfairly done by.

Your first port of call should be the relevant customer service team. Their job is to try and resolve your issue. Whilst they can be helpful, they are employed by your online gambling provider. This means it might not be in their best interest to help you. Should this be the case, then be prepared to move to the next stage of the ‘escalation process’

IBAS (Independent Betting Adjudication Service)

The IBAS is an impartial adjudication service specifically for the gambling industry. Although it’s been around since the nineties, it wasn’t until the Gambling Act came to life in 2007 that it became legally recognised in the UK.

If you, the complainant, can’t agree on a resolution with your betting site, then you have what is called a dispute. By law, your gambling operator has to refer you to the IBAS. It is then up to the IBAS to decide who is right or wrong.

Their decision is final.

The Gambling Commission

Back in 2005, the Gambling Act was passed into UK law. From this legislation, the Gambling Commission was born. For the first time, gambling operators could be held accountable by a legally recognised regulator, namely the Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission was built on 3 objectives.

  • To prevent gambling being a source of crime
  • To ensure transparency and fairness
  • To protect the vulnerable from being exploited

Part of the Commission’s remit is to ensure transparency and fairness. If the Gambling Commission has reason to believe licenced UK gambling operators are behaving unfairly, then it can remove their licence to operate in the UK. If an operator loses its licence then in effect, it will have to close down its UK operation.

The Gambling Commission has suspended licences in the past, most notably Triplebet’s. However, it is more commonly associated with anti-money laundering operations, rather than customer complaints.

It should be highlighted that the Gambling Commission is very much your last destination. If you get to this point then it is likely that legal action and a possible court date will occur. Most cases will be resolved before they get to the Commission and you should do your best to seek resolution beforehand.

Advertising Standards Association (ASA)

It’s also worth knowing about the ASA. The Advertising Standards Association regulates the UK’s advertising industry. The ASA’s job is to make sure claims made in advertising are accurate and honest. If you feel that you have been misled by a bingo promotion or advert, then you are within your rights to report it to the ASA, who in turn can penalise your gambling operator.

Conclusion

There is a structured process for making a complaint with a UK gambling operator. But before you set foot on that journey, make sure you do your research. If the terms and conditions work against you, or you can’t supply any cast-iron evidence, then re-consider. If the T&Cs work in your favour and you have plenty of evidence, then be confident in dealing with the IBAS and the Gambling Commission.

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