UKGC Announces Updates of the Rules over Dispute Resolution



Staff member
May 3, 2008
The major gambling regulator UK Gambling Commission has announced updates in the rules over customer complaints and the resolving of disputes in order to improve both operators and customers’ gaming time, but more specifically to make sure the operators are treating customers fairly.

In most cases, the disputes revolve around the terms and conditions, the wagering requirements, the deposit and withdrawal accessibility or some other problems with the account management.

With the latest updates, UK Gambling Commission wants to simplify the already existing ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) complaints process which has so far shown no success, leaving the customer empty-handed. The UK Gambling Commission has started working on improving the guidelines for dispute resolution three years ago and has finally responded with a public statement announcing new rules and guidelines.

The New Rules

The UK Gambling Commission has appointed suitable third-party ADR providers to impartially meditate in disputes. The ADR providers were checked and vetted thoroughly and approved, respectively.

With the new rules, the operators will be required to choose an ADR provider that will meditate through the dispute that hasn’t been successfully resolved for a period of 8 weeks. In addition, the operators are required to provide the ADR provider with all of the necessary documents. The ADR provider’s obligation is to ensure customers are aware of their rights to receive any evidence, arguments, facts or documents that were put forward by the operator.

Additionally, the updated guidelines address the subject of compensation for the customer, explaining to providers that instead of punishing the operator they need to take into consideration and focus on the emotional impact on the customer. The mental or physical suffering of the customer should be of paramount importance, as well as the time, inconvenience and any other factor that might endanger the customer’s reputation.

The compensation decisions should depend on to what extent the operator’s actions impacted the customer, even though the UKGC warns that in most cases, most likely there will be no compensation over and above reimbursement.

The ADR providers need to adhere to the six principles for good governance of the UK Ombudsman Association and make the information on how they are independent and how they were funded transparent and available to the public eye.

Restrictions for the ADR Providers

The ADR providers who have a dual relationship with the operator and show a potential conflict of interest are required to present evidence that clearly there is no conflict of interest, and if there is, the player should be referred to another ADR provider that has no relationship with the operator.

They should also record the number of disputes they receive, accept and reject, as well as the details of the entire process, how the dispute was resolved and how much time they needed to handle the dispute. In addition, they are required to respond to the customer’s complaint not later than three working dates and provide them with useful informative updates at least every 30 days until they come up with a solution.

Furthermore, the ADR providers should also create a website containing full information on their performance in the field, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to file a complaint. The statistical information on disputes mentioned above, on the other hand, should be shared with the UK Gambling Commission only, so they could monitor the industry and the comportment of their licensees.

And finally, the ADR providers are obliged to assess and be alert of whether the actions, conduct or language of the customer suggest to a deep gambling problem, and if so, they should report it, so the customer can get a proper guidance or support. This is clearly a precautionary provision that would hopefully contribute to the prevention of gambling as an addiction.

When Will These Updates Come Into Force?

In the 37-page long Consultation Response, the UK Gambling Commission explains in detail the procedure and the ADR requirements, states all of the customer’s rights and explains the possible outcomes of the disputes.

In addition, they state that the next steps are notifying the licensees impacted in any way by any of the changes made with the last update since they have confirmed the outcome of the consultation. As published by the UK Gambling Commission, the updated alternative dispute resolution rules, as well as other changes for a stronger customer protection, will take effect from the end of the month, October 31st 2018.

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