Casinomeister has been processing player complaints for nearly 19 years, and last year we decided to apply to become an official Alternative Disputes Resolution for the UK Gaming Commission.
Our application was in their hands for several months, but in March 2017 I spoke with them over the phone, and they mentioned that there were changes being implemented in April 2017 that would affect UKGC approved ADRs. But after reading some of their additional requirements, I decided that Casinomeister’s ADR service would serve the online gaming community better as an independent arbitrator instead of one under the UKGC’s wing.
One of the most difficult scenarios that an ADR in the online casino realm deals with are complaints that are associated with player fraud. There are very few complaint services in my opinion that have the experience to deal with player fraud effectively. It is tricky at times, and to separate the chaff from the grain one needs to fully understand fraud stratagems.
The UKGC should be applauded for its determination to ensure that its goals are met – providing the players with a level playing ground and keeping its operators in check. Treating the players as consumers is exactly how they should be treated, but the online gaming industry is unique in one respect – the money involved. And where there is the temptation and anticipation of great wealth, fraud will manifest.
In any normal situation of a “consumer vs business” complaint, it’s a normal procedure to give the business the evidence from the consumer showing them the complaint and reasoning why the business should heed, and in return show the consumer the evidence from the business on why the consumer is in the wrong. At that moment, in an ideal world, the ADR should be able to come to a decision on who is right and who is wrong – and there should be a mutual understanding by all parties on how the issue should be resolved. That works fine when you’re selling shoes.
The online casino industry is horse of a different color. When suspected player fraud enters the equation, the cards are off the table and kept close to one’s chest. During the arbitration process, a true fraudster is only interested in one thing (besides being paid): how did the casino detect this fraud? Many fraudsters fully realized that their complaint will be kicked to the curb, but if they can get any information at all – anything – any hint on how they got caught, submitting the complaint is totally worth it.
The UKGC will require the casino in question to provide the player (via the ADR) everything that supports their case. This is great for a normal complaint – but for the fraudster, it’s payday.
This is where I find that Casinomeister’s ADR service and the requirements of the UKGC come at odds. We would lose our ability to engage successfully with the many operators who have entrusted strict confidentiality with us over the past two decades. Our oath to keep fraud stratagems private would be compromised, so I have made the command decision to keep Casinomeister’s ADR service independent of government agencies.
I feel that we will do best to serve as casual advisors to the UKGC, and as always – to assist our fellow ADR brethren whenever they need advice. We are always here to help.
Forum discussion is here: Casinomeister withdraws ADR Application