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Casinomeister - the UKGC - and being an ADR

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by vinylweatherman, Oct 12, 2015.

    Oct 12, 2015
  1. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    It's not the UKGC that deals with player complaints, but their nominated ADR. This should be specified in their terms and is a requirement for a UK licence. The issue should be raised with their nominated ADR, and if this still fails to deliver a satisfactory response, there is the final option of taking them to the small claims court where they will be forced to explain the exact reason for the confiscation. Their unwillingness to say exactly what the breach is suggests a "spirit of the bonus" reason, which they will not get away with in court. You stand a better chance in court if you can demonstrate that you have gone through the proper channels first, and still gotten nowhere. Their reason for not complying with PAB is also BS, the Data Protection Act does NOT prevent them from sharing personal information with Max, it just requires them to have your permission beforehand. They are trying to blame an internal policy decision on an external piece of legislation.

    However, this is bad news for non UK players (if they can play there) as they have no statutory access to an independent ADR as non UK players are not covered by the UK licence provisions, but by those of their main licence.

    A good many UK licenced casinos seem to be bailing from the PAB process and hiding behind their UK licence.

    The good news for UK players is that the new Consumers rights act was actually passed, and came into force on the 1st of this month. It gives consumers even more rights, and one interesting provision is a ban on burying important things in "smallprint" and relying on customers to "have read the terms and conditions". Having been in force for a mere 10 days, it's too early to tell how much difference it is actually making.
     
    17 people like this.
  2. Oct 13, 2015
  3. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    Well, that's news to me. Only one or two have - and these are your large companies which in turn were uncooperative in many other aspects - not just the PAB service: Ladbrokes for example.

    The whole ADR is in its fetal stage - I don't think anyone really knows what they are doing yet - and all UK licensed casinos are welcome in naming us their ADR. If not, no water off our backs - but it would probably be in the casinos' best interest not to ignore the PAB service.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Oct 13, 2015
  5. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Being the large companies, they probably produce many tales of players being told (or Max being told) that PABs will no longer be taken. The problem with naming you as one of the ADRs is that the ADRs have to be UKGC approved, and casino companies probably want to work with as few ADRs as possible.

    However, the UKGC have made it clear that they don't deal with individual player complaints, so it's no good a player contacting the UKGC about a particular issue. The UKGC DO however take "intelligence" from players, or communications regarding more general matters regarding the industry. The UKGC would be interested if a player approached them because a UK licenced site did not have an ADR, or told the player that no ADR was available. This seems to have happened once on here to a UK player.
     
  6. Oct 13, 2015
  7. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    As I understand it there are two key points of reference regarding the ADR thing:
    1. all UKGC casinos need to name an ADR explicitly in their Terms.
    2. only Approved ADRs can be so named. In other words casinos cannot name anyone as ADR that has not received UKGC approval.

    It's worth noting that the whole ADR thing does not preclude a casino from dealing with us on PABs -- or whatever -- if they so choose. What they can't do is name us as their ADR in the Terms.

    Anyone reading between the lines may find themselves asking "WTF? Why hasn't Casinomeister become an Approved ADR?"

    Good question, brace yourself: very _very_ few sites have been approved as ADRs. eCOGRA and IBAS are the notable exceptions.

    And, most interesting to players I should think, is that not a single player-facing site such as ours, or ThePogg, or Ask Gamblers, etc has been Approved by the UKGC. At best their status is "pending" which so far is just another way of saying "no": since they aren't Approved no UKGC licensed site can name them as ADR. In other words the UKGC has effectively locked them out of the ADR process, at least so far.

    Since the most recent legislation was passed on October 1st this year -- yes, that's a couple weeks ago -- it seems highly suspect that those approvals were withheld intentionally, so that the law would come into effect and no UKGC licensed casino would have the opportunity to name anyone other than eCOGRA and IBAS (I may have forgotten one or two others) as ADR.

    VWM has claimed that some casinos are using the UKGC/ADR thing as a dodge from dealing with PABs. Strictly speaking, yes, that's true. But from what I can see so far the casinos doing that are the same casinos that previously tried to hide behind the Data Protection laws as an excuse for not looking at PABs, or their license or whatever other excuse they thought they could pull out to block the PAB process. In other words it's mostly the same old guys pulling the same old tricks, only now they're using the ADR legislation to hide behind. The bottom line is that those folks have never wanted to participate in discussions of player issues with anyone -- other than perhaps the specific people they want to talk to -- and they still aren't. Whoop-dee-do.

    Are players worse off now that the UKGC/ADR stuff is in place? Well, yes and no. First of all the laws are only applicable to UK players (as far as we know) so non-UK players (theoretically) are not affected. UK players are stuck though: if the casino won't deal with their issue then the only place a UK player has to turn is the designated ADR, whether you like it or not. (there may be some wiggle room here in that another Approved ADR could be used if the player pressed the issue but that is unproven speculation at this point since no case -- to my knowledge -- has gone down that path and established a precedent.)

    In theory non-UK players are no worse off than they were before. Except of course at those casinos that try to pretend that the UKGC rules somehow apply to all players, which they legally do not. In other words if your casino liked to play dirty tricks with complaints before then they'll probably continue to do so. Big surprise .. not.

    The contex for all this is worth keeping in mind: the UKGC stuff is a work in progress. True, some of it has recently been cast in stone but some of it is still very much up in the air. I happen to know of at least one player-facing site that is _strongly_ pressing their case to be ADR approved. So far they are stuck in "pending" limbo but the fight goes on. If they can get Approved then the game -- that is the ADR exclusivity of eCOGRA and IBAS -- will certainly change. If not .. then a whole lot of questions are worth asking. I'll leave that avenue of speculation to the reader, for now.
     
    9 people like this.
  8. Oct 13, 2015
  9. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    PS. I should add that VWM's point that the UKGC doesn't handle individual complaints against their licensees is a good one. The issue being that they are overseeing the licensing process but farming out the grunt work of license enforcement aka player complaints. In other words the role they have chosen to play is pretty hands-off, more in the manner of Costa Rica or Curacao than, for example, Kahnawake or Malta who actively get involved in seeing complaints resolved.

    IMO that's very much worth keeping in mind as we watch this whole UKGC situation develop: if the ADR system can't be made to work fairly and thoroughly -- and so far that is very much unproven -- then how is the UKGC any better than a license from your garden variety toothless jurisdiction?
     
    6 people like this.
  10. Oct 19, 2015
  11. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    If the view is that the ADR is the last step before players take legal action, Gala are in effect creating a situation where they are more likely to face legal action from UK players because these players will feel that all other avenues are "rigged against them". For UK players at least, court action is now a far easier process due to the new gambling laws than it was in the past where the biggest problem was taking action in an overseas jurisdiction or trying to find a way to take action in the UK against a company that might not have any UK assets. The passing of the new consumer protection laws on the 1st of this month will have shifted the balance a little further in favour of the player when it comes to proving a case in court.

    Gala could find itself wishing it had accepted PABs from Max and the equivalent from other player facing sites rather than forcing all players down the route of ADR then legal action.

    Remember, even Betfair caved when UK players caught up in the infamous fiasco found ways to take the matter before a UK court.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Oct 26, 2015
  13. zanzibar

    zanzibar Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Software developer
    Location:
    Earth
    This is very surprising and disturbing news as I have played there now and then for years and never had a problem. I will not play there again until this player is paid.

    I disagree entirely with this line of reasoning and the allusions made. If you can't see the potential conflict of interest between an affiliate site like the ones you mention (and this one) and the role of a mediator, when those sites derive their income from the very casinos that they are supposed to be impartially mediating with... well you have to be kidding. I also question the motivations of a couple of the sites mentioned in applying for such a role, which I think is more driven by marketing rather than social reasons. It would be a ridiculous decision to allow any affiliate website any kind of official endorsement or status, and I find it worrying that they are still potentially being considered as such instead of being outright rejected.

    I know you mean well and that you and several other sites have done good things for players over the years in a largely unregulated industry. But part of having a regulated system should mean a professional and impartial dispute resolution process that is free of conflicts of interest (both real and perceived) that does not require players to go hunting through forums for help, or have their correspondence displayed publicly where every tom dick and harry can throw in their 2c worth of largely uniformed comment. There will still be plenty of crap to deal with from the questionable casinos set up in third world jurisdictions and banana republics, so this does not mean the demise of CasinoMeister, Gambling Grumbles or any other helpful affiliate site.

    Now whether eCOGRA for example meets the same criteria is debatable given its history and founders. Personally I would prefer to see an arbitration body set up by the regulatory authority itself as the current approach is very half-arsed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. Oct 26, 2015
  15. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    In theory your argument sounds perfectly reasonable: relationship to casino = biased decision-making. However, I believe there are a few major caveats to consider before jumping to that conclusion:
    • active, player-facing sites can either derive income directly from casino groups -- the casinos effectively sponsors the site -- or indirectly via an affiliate or media-buy model. In the former case it's not hard to argue that the man who pays the piper calls the tune. In the latter case(s) the income is diversified such that, generally speaking, no one casino or casino group is the primary bread-winner for the site and as such the influence of said casino group is significantly reduced or even (effectively) eliminated entirely.
      .
    • proven performance: any site that's been handling player issues for years -- or even decades -- and has a proven track record of thousands of cases of demonstrated impartiality is clearly not following the "casino pay, casino wins" model of dispute arbitration. Is the _potential_ there for future impartiality due to some theoretical circumstances? Certainly, as that potential exists for almost any model you'd care to name. Let's agree to let past performance trump the "if this then that" scenarios.
      .
    • this whole argument -- "you see casino money so you so you can't be impartial" -- has been around as long as the industry has been in operation. Yet here we are, many 1000s of player cases handled, many millions of player dollars payed out, many 100s of fraudsters busted for doing their dirt. The problem is it's basically the wrong argument. It's not really about where the money comes from, it's much more about _who_ it comes from, in what percentage, and what that money is buying. In other words the nature of the transaction is important -- critical! -- to understanding what is _actually_ happening: the bare fact that there was a transaction doesn't really tell you much. You need to look deeper, past the theories, to the actual day-to-day operations to see the realities. Let's debate those realities, the here and now, as opposed to the theoretical stuff.
      .
    • how do the current UKGC-approved ADR sites make their money? They are contracted by the casinos to provide those services. I believe it's fair to argue that that model is no more secure from casino influence than the successful player-facing sites with proven track records, as previously mentioned.

    To paraphrase what someone once said of democracy "it's a terrible system but it's better than all the others". That's where we are today with player dispute arbitration: there are no great solutions available, just a few workable ones that we have to choose from:
    • I think Kahnawake is one such solution -- they own the servers so casinos comply or get the plug pulled -- but you can't feasibly scale it up to apply it industry-wide.
    • Sites like ours are another workable model but clearly there will never be 100% acceptance of what we do or how we do it.
    • Is the UKGC/ADR another alternative? Maybe, it has yet to be properly tested, but I think there's a strong case to be made that it would be better if people like us had some access to the table because, if nothing else, we're the only ones without a vested interest in that system _and_ we have as much or more experience than anyone in handling the very player issues that the ADR system was designed to address.


    Indeed! But the UKGC is not that system. If you're looking for a guaranteed bullet-proof, corruption-free system you are looking at the wrong industry at the wrong time in its life-cycle. There is no such thing today nor for the foreseeable future.

    IMO, the bottom line regarding the UKGC is that (a) they've farmed out the entire dispute resolution system to 3rd parties they have virtually no control over and (b) they've handed the bill-paying responsibility over to the casinos. I'm not questioning the reasons they did any of this I'm simply saying that that is very much less than the perfect system you envision and it leaves us pretty much back at square one if you ask me: how are player cases to be arbitrated in a fair and reliable way? If the UKGC/ADR model is what we have to live with in the UK then, as argued above, sites like ours have as much right to sit at the table as any of the others and I believe we have good justification for doing so.

    If something closer to your better world of regulation and arbitration comes to be then by all means let's discuss and debate it when the time comes. That time is not now because the UKGC/ADR system as it currently stands in no meaningful way meets the criteria you've cited.
     
    8 people like this.
  16. Oct 26, 2015
  17. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    In the UK, the closest we have to a truly independent system is the small claims court, and UK facing casinos could end up with a problem on their hands if players in general feel that the whole ADR system has been rigged in the casino's favour and that access to other forms of mediation that players have used in the past, and/or trust more, such as PAB here, they will feel that the only way to get a fair decision is to take the casino to court.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Oct 26, 2015
  19. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    As with all things related to the UKGC this is another part of the story that is yet to play out.

    Will players get fair hearing and decisions from the ADRs?
    Will the UKGC allow player-facing sites like ours into the ADR process? If not, why not?
    If players aren't happy with the results of the ADR process, will they go through the effort to bump their cases to court? Will anything come of that?

    It's still all up in the air at this point.
     
    2 people like this.
  20. Oct 26, 2015
  21. zanzibar

    zanzibar Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Software developer
    Location:
    Earth
    I agree with a lot of the things that you say Max and I understand how affiliate sites operate very well. However I really believe the dispute resolution system needs to be squeaky clean and free of all potential conflicts of interest. If a player makes a complaint and is ruled against by an affiliate that receives money from the casino they are making the complaint against, how can the player accept that the decision was made in good faith and that they got a fair hearing? The next logical step would be to take it to court I would imagine and the issue of affiliate payments would make a strong argument against the ADR's impartiality.

    Obviously I don't know the reason why these affiliate sites have not been approved as ADR providers but it would seem that the simplest explanation would be the conflict of interest rather than some kind of conspiracy or secret agenda.

    I think that what the UKGC has now is better than a totally unregulated free-for-all but I definitely agree than it can be improved. Nothing will ever be perfect, but a professional body that is free of accusations of bias and/or conflicts of interest should be the minimum acceptable standard. And they have a way to go before that standard is reached from what I can tell.
     
  22. Oct 27, 2015
  23. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Sure, in theory that sounds lovely. As previously explained that does not exist, the ADR system certainly doesn't fit that description, and there is nothing on the horizon that does or shows promise of doing so. What's the point of ignoring what is in favour of what should be when there are no plans to turn any of the theory into reality? Pipe dreams, no? It's not my intention to offend but you're not dealing with the facts here, your dream of a conflict-free system does not exist nor does it show any promise of coming into being any time soon. Theory is theory and reality bites: I think most folks would see the merit in finding a way to not get bitten.

    Reputation perhaps? A proven track record of unbiased dispute resolution maybe? Thousands and thousands of previous cases handled and _no_ evidence of bad faith? Those apparently sound like pretty good reasons to a lot of people given the large and rising number of cases handled by the player-facing sites year by year.

    And would that player really be happier where the decision against them was made by someone whom the casino has contracted and pays directly to make such decisions for them? That's how the current ADRs work. And I believe those ADRs are already viewed with considerable suspicion in the player community, justified or otherwise. My guess is that if you are feeling safe in their hands then you are very much in the minority.

    A "simple explanation" doesn't necessarily have anything to do with reality. Mythology is full of explanations that seemed perfectly simple to those who believed the myths. I think you'll fall closer to the truth if you consider the pot of money that the people who influenced the creation of the UKGC now have access to because of the UKGC. If you, who are so persuaded that money taints, aren't even the least bit troubled by that then I'd say you are seeing only what you want to see and making assumptions for personal convenience.

    As ever, nice theory, doesn't exist, and you continue to ignore those in the industry who have done the most for player issues over the past two decades.

    AFAICT you've simply reiterated your previous position, as have I, and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
    2 people like this.
  24. Oct 27, 2015
  25. zanzibar

    zanzibar Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Software developer
    Location:
    Earth
    You're putting a lot of words into my mouth that were not said. I never said anything about "feeling safe" or anything remotely similar. In fact I said several times that the current situation is a small step in the right direction but lots more need to be done. I know all about eCOGRA. I'm interested in your knowledge of from where IBAS receives its funding. I can't tell from their annual reports. Can you help me out with some links to back up what you are saying about their source of funds?

    And that is to ignore the several other smaller independent ADRs that, from what I can see on the surface, are not at all connected to the industry or funded by it.

    The simplest explanation is often the best. Occam's razor. You can choose to believe in conspiracies and secret agendas if you wish but the reality is that affiliate sites do not make for good ADR providers in a professional system because of the perceived conflict of interest. If a judge in a legal matter was potentially ruling on a case involving a company that paid him for services he would be expected to recuse himself. This is no different.

    If you think that the current non-affiliate ADRs such as eCOGRA have issues then by all means campaign for improvement and the establishment of a truly independent professional body, but calling for the system to go back to the way it was is not a way forward. Nothing will be achieved if influential people such as yourself just dismiss calls for better player protection as "myths" or "dreams of a perfect world" or whatever. This industry is in dire need of a massive injection of professionalism, and if that means that some affiliates get sidelined on the journey towards a better system for players then so be it. I say that as someone with affiliate websites myself.

    This very thread demonstrates this point nicely. Gala have ripped off a punter and what can be realistically done about it? Half a year later they go on the CM rogue list and that's that. The player doesn't get paid, Gala basically go unpunished apart from the knowledge of their rogue status here by a minuscule portion of the wider gambling customer base like me who won't play there any more. It won't even register on their annual report and when they merge with Ladbrokes it will all be forgotten. That is not a dig at you at all as I am sure you tried your best, just a reflection of the ultimately limited power that you or anyone else has.

    No, not at all. Don't be offended. I still love you. However I looked up the ADR applications and AFAICT CasinoMeister did not even apply for one. If this is wrong, please correct me. If not, I would find it strange if you moaned about the whole process and call it unfair if you didn't even choose to participate.

    Even if you did apply and your great work over the years notwithstanding, if it was up to me I would not be giving any website that earns affiliate income from casinos an ADR license. That includes CasinoMeister. It includes my own. You can choose to be offended by that if you want (it is not my intention), or you can look at it from outside your own frame of reference and understand why it has to be that way. How do you think that would look to an outsider? How would they be expected to take this industry seriously? Times are changing and the way this industry has been allowed to run itself for the 20 years you mention is self consuming and ultimately unsustainable.
     
  26. Oct 27, 2015
  27. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    I don't believe I was putting any words in your mouth. You've repeatedly talked about wanting a dispute system that was "clean" and "free from bias" and in the same posts indicated full support for the UKGC/ADR system, such as it is. You've basically said you trust it to do the job it needs to do and, supposedly, become the dispute resolution system you hope for. I've tried to indicate that (a) you're ignoring a number of realities about the current system and (b) you're out of hand excluding those that have done as much or more for player dispute resolution than any of the current ADRs.

    As I understand it all ADRs do what they do by receiving compensation directly from the casinos, either by subscription, contract or on a per-case arrangement. All ADRs. Casino X pays the ADR to arbitrate for Casino X. My argument has and continues to be that that model is no more "clean" and "free from bias" than the affiliate model is. In both cases you are depending on the reputation and integrity of the dispute resolution people for a fair outcome. Neither model is inherently "clean". Some other model might be. So far none is on offer. Hence the references to "theory" and wishful thinking.

    You seem to take it as a fact that the affiliate model of dispute resolution is inherently flawed and unreliable. Prove it. I think there is ample proof to the contrary and have tried to show that. Clearly you disagree and that's your business but it doesn't change the fact that it's worked for many years for many, many players. You are disregarding it because of theory and principle, I am defending it because of proven track records and results. The readers will chose the side that speaks to them most.

    Simplicity, Occam's razor, is wonderful in the absence of any better guidance. In fact, that's it's raison d'etre:

    Facts and the actual mechanics of the industry are not assumptions, they are data that can be used to make better insights and decisions. Use the information at hand. Or don't, your choice. Touting Occam's razor may sound good but it does not turn water into wine: the history of a thing, how and when it came about and who was involved and why, is far better guidance as to how it will work in future than assuming something else because you prefer it.

    As to us and the ADR system, no we did not apply for a number of very specific reasons that we'll be publishing and discussing very soon. Does that disqualify us from discussing the ADR process? Or the ramifications of it? Not as far as I'm concerned it doesn't: one can observe and gather information about the ADRs and the ADR process without having to become one. And trust me, I'm better informed on the ins and out of the ADR system to date than you might think.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  28. Oct 27, 2015
  29. dunover

    dunover Unofficial T&C's Editor CAG PABnononaccred PABnonaccred PABinit mm3 webmeister

    Occupation:
    International Money Launderer
    Location:
    the bus shelter, opposite GCHQ Benhall
    I think one fact can be highlighted to demonstrate the integrity of ADR's of whom some are also affiliates;

    They are willing to forgo income by pitting/non-promotion of sites that hitherto may have provided decent revenue streams, but have behaved poorly towards players in either single cases (like Gala) or en masse.

    We have numerous cases (here, KK and thePOGG for example) whereby affiliates have refused to promote certain sites at all, or have established certain standards must be met before doing so.

    I would certainly trust some of the people I have met over the faceless shiny-arses in the UKGC, most of whom I doubt even read forums and keep up to date with valid player issues that mainly arise due to their slack regime and reactive rather than proactive attitude.
     
    1 person likes this.
  30. Oct 27, 2015
  31. ThePOGG

    ThePOGG Meister Member webmeister

    Occupation:
    Casino Affiliate
    Location:
    UK
    While I completely agree with the premise behind what you're arguing, unfortunately it's based on an unachievable, utopian idea.

    No matter who ends up dealing with complaints for ANY industry, money has to come from somewhere. The workload involved in mediating disputes on a large enough scale to be credible is significant enough that it requires full time employment to do so.

    For the gambling industry there are 3 prospective models that I can see:

    1) Regulator complaint handling. This has been the standard model up to this point. The Licensee pays for a licenses and part of that license means that the regulator manages player complaints. Money has changed hands. I think most people that have been around the industry on the player side of the table would question how effectively this system has functioned so far. While I won't provide detail, I have on a couple of occasions now had regulatory bodies raise to me their concerns that if they were to rule against the operator in specific complaints it would lead to a 'breakdown in relationship' that would likely result in the operator switching to another jurisdiction.

    The above said, I actually think that taken in a vacuum the regulator model theoretically should be the least open to bias. It's a significant undertaking to change regulatory body and any regulator that is required for access to a market, like the UKGC, provides no alternatives. This doesn't quite live up to expectation simply because the regulatory groups I've seen (anecdotal evidence, not the strongest) spend a lot of time interacting with, on a business and social level, operators and as such naturally end up with a mindset that's more aligned to the operators' way of thinking.

    2) Fee based models. These are services like IBAS and eCogra who charge a monthly/yearly/by case fee for the management of player issues. Again money has changed hands. This time directly for the management of complaints. If this model rules against an operator they stand to lose any future fees from that group as the group switches to an alternative service.

    3) The affiliate model. Services like CM and ThePOGG. Money's changing hands. There is no denying this. Does this model offer a more of less independent solution than #2? It depends on perspective, but I think there's a very strong case that if we're going to argue either model offers less susceptibility to bias that the stronger model is the affiliate model. If our service was to rule against a high rated operator the consequences potentially could be that we stop working with that operator. How does this impact our business? The removal of the high rated operator immediately allows a step up for all operators listed beneath them. Theoretically new traffic simply ends up with another operator rather than the ruled against operator. This leaves historic traffic. There's 2 possibilities here. Where there's no minimum activity clause within the program's terms and conditions, theoretically earnings from historic traffic should remain unaffected (assuming the operator abides by their contract). Where there is a minimum activity clause then the affiliate stands to lose some or all of the historical traffic earnings, but having dug into this recently myself I can say, without giving figures, that the money that ThePOGG generates is overwhelmingly accounted for by new rather than historical traffic. Regardless, it's simply not arguable that this model is not potentially financially impacted by the breakdown in relationship between an operator and the complaint service.


    By model #2 - which is the model that's been accepted and approved by the UKGC at the present time - a breakdown in the relationship between the ADR and the operator jeopardises all future revenue that the ADR stands to generate from working with the operator.

    By model #3 - which is still under review by the UKGC - a breakdown in the relationship between the ADR and the operator in some cases jeopardises the historical revenue that the ADR stands to generate from working with the operator.



    ----------------

    What I'm not doing with the above is arguing that any of the current models are ideal. They're not. As long as there's any financial relationship between the operator and the dispute resolution service there's the potential for bias or at the very least perceived bias. However realisticly the ideal model, that being where the dispute resolution service is entirely financially independent of both parties, is simple not achievable. Accepting the reality we have to work towards the best achievable model. From a personal perspective I don't feel there's much logic to accepting model #2 while rejecting model #3 - the flaws that would lead to the rejection of model #3 are equally if not more present in model #2.

    ----------------

    It's also worth noting in all of this that the UKGC license doesn't in fact dramatically improve the state of play for the management of player complaints. Simply put, the ADR services that are now being widely utilised by operators are those that were filling this role before. No significant new body has been introduced to manage complaints. The change that has occurred is that operators holding UKGC licenses now have one more barrier to try to put up when complaints arise if the player decides that they'd rather choose the 3rd party that reviews the complaint than use the one that the operator pays for. That seems to significantly diminish player options, which I don't believe to be a positive thing, especially as like our own service CM will accept some complaints against parties that it has no financial ties to, meaning that of all the models listed above in a % of cases they represent the least likely to present bias (in fact the majority of complaints we deal with are against operators that we do not send traffic to, yet we still have a high success rate in reaching positive outcomes in those cases).
     
    5 people like this.
  32. Oct 27, 2015
  33. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    6 people like this.
  34. Oct 27, 2015
  35. zanzibar

    zanzibar Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Software developer
    Location:
    Earth
    Again no. When you say I 'basically" said something, that is you putting your own interpretation on it. I won't press further on it as you are reading what you want to read and not what I am saying.

    Numerous? I wish it were. Sadly that is the vast minority of affiliate sites.

    Of course you're going to trust people you have met before. You and everyone who reads this site are not a typical player. The number of players that have met or talked to someone from CasinoMeister is likely to be near zero as a portion of all players that will fall under this system. And as stated previously, the UKGC don't handle player complaints anyway. So you would not be dealing with them at all. You could be dealing with IBAS or eCOGRA or Ombudsman Services or a law firm or any one of the other approved ADRs. Time will tell whether they prove to be effective.
     
  36. Oct 28, 2015
  37. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Not "my own" interpretation, just attempting to pin down _your_ meaning and intent. Afaik we're talking about basic communication skills here. However, I see we're getting to the hair-splitting phase of our exchange and that's where most internet conversations go to die. Like you say, not much point in pressing this further.
     
    1 person likes this.
  38. Dec 26, 2015
  39. Richas

    Richas Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Project Manager
    Location:
    UK
    This ADR stuff is important but I think there is some misplaced hostility to the UK arrangements here. I am not going to pretend it is perfect but I hope I can help a bit with this.

    First of all the ADR requirement is not a gambling only issue, it comes from an EU directive and a UK act of parliament. The concept is fine. IF you have a dispute and you reach deadlock rather than resorting immediately to the courts you can ask for an "independent" ADR to review the case. That ADR rulng is intended to be binding upon the firm but NOT binding upon the consumer. The consumer can still go to court (either a full court or the small claims court). An adverse ADR ruling may weaken your case but it does not invalidate it. The ADR is reviewing terms and conditions and the like NOT reaching a legal ruling.

    An important part of this consumer protection legislation is that the consumer does not pay for the ADR service. The firm pays. This is an important consumer protection to allow access to the ADR process - it is a good thing - it is not a bad thing implying bias by the ADR chosen by the site and approved (in this case) by the UKGC.

    Making consumers pay up front, or pay if they lose does not make the ADR process any fairer, it just makes it unaffordable for many consumers, much as court action is already. The way that the firm has to pay the ADR also means that in many cases even where the firm has a perfectly valid defence they will settle before the ADR process because the full cost of it falls upon them so for small disputes settling is cheaper, and better for the aggrieved consumer, than entering the ADR process.

    This new ADR process comes in addition to the firms normal complaints procedure. Now this is where I see Casinomeister helping - during the firm complaint process, before the ADR. The PAB process works well as part of the firms complaint process.

    Now obviously Casinomeister could try to become an ADR but the requirements will include financial disclosures to ensure the organisation is properly financed and not about to disappear in bankruptcy. It also will include integrity checks and potential personal licences for those acting as the ADR. There may also be a minimum legal expertise threshold rather than a potentially more relevant check on experience in dealing with messy gambling complaints and disputes. You'd also want a UK office address and maybe a senior board member or the like with a CV that includes being a UK judge to lend credibility and legal reassurance. Certainly a UK resident - but it is not an insurmountable hurdle nor should it compromise personal safety with a an office drop address and personell records held by the UKGC (as discussed in the FAQ link)

    This is the list of approved ADRs and it includes the Isle of Man regulator You must register/login in order to see the link.

    The list also includes a named individual Joel Goldman with a hotel background You must register/login in order to see the link. I can't see many firms signing up with him but he shows the accreditation process is possible and may not need the add ons that I suggest above.

    It is interesting that a regulator is approved (and used by PokersStars) - my experience of regulators as dispute resolvers is coloued by Malta's complete failure to deal with Purple Lounge and the attitude of Gibraltar that characterises consumers raising complaints as fraudsters, bonus abusers and regretful losers. This is what they said to the House of Commons Committee! Now many complaints will be ill founded but it is clear that for the Gib regulator this has polluted their attitude and impartiality to the point that consumers are seen as evil whilst the industry that pays for them and provides such a high proportion of Gib jobs and tax revenues can do no wrong. Having a regulator do this is not a good thing. To accept unfairness to the consumer they also condemn their own regulation, and their entire existence is industry funded. The ADR may be paid (by statute) by the firm not the consumer but they have a far better prospect of independence than the captive regulator that is Malta or Gib.

    To sum up:

    ADR process is an additional consumer protection
    ADR is binding on the firm not the consumer
    Consumers can skip the ADR and go to court
    ADR paid for by the firm is GOOD for consumers not a bias
    Even if the ADR goes against you courts are open to you still
    The EU wide nature of this means that you can sue any UKGC licenced firm in the UK courts - IF they have refused you the ADR open to UK residents that would be a black mark against them You must register/login in order to see the link.

    The new ADR rules are good news for UK and EU gamblers. Casinomeister can either focus on helping firms with their complaint process and/or seek ADR approval. TBH I don't see a lot of profit in £350 a complaint but Casinomeister or another customer focussed body getting ADR status would be nice.

    As an aside, the new CEO of the UKGC (Sarah Harrison) comes from OfGem. One of the things I have heard about her is that she wants to shift the UKGC to be far more consumer focussed - if you look at the OfGem website and the Gambling Commission website you will see a stark contrast with OfGem about consumers and UKGC about info for licencees. That shift will happen over the next year or two not just on the website but within the culture of the organisation.

    As a further aside - I have been dealing with the UKGC for 3 years plus. Whilst I cannot pretend that there are no frustrations in trying to shift them to a more consumer and more proactive position the idea that the people I have met are shiny bottom suits is far wide of the mark. Invariably they have been bright, engaged, committed people that want to do a good job in difficult circumstances. The industry routinely poaches them precisely because they are high calibre, well informed people - with many motivated primarily by helping consumers. Insult them if you like but before you do you may want to meet a few.
     
    6 people like this.

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