Whenever people ask me what the most common internet gambling complaints are, they always get disappointed with the answer. So let’s get the bad news out of the way straight off:
The single most common type of complaints aren’t really complaints at all. That’s because they’re fraudulent cases where the player has tried one version of scam or another on the casino and failed, so they come to people like us in order to get their money back or to pressure the casino into giving up the money they’ve won but don’t deserve. I’m lumping everything into this category including multiple accounts, collusion, “Bonus sharing”, bogus documents, self-exclusion scams, you name it: anything where the player is knowingly trying to pull one over on the casino in order to gain an advantage. Roughly speaking about 30% of the thousands of complaints I’ve received over the years fall into this category. Fraud is a big part of the online gambling scene and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon.
The second most common type of complaints are, again, not really complaints at all. In this case they’re complaints that simply can’t be processed because they’re fatally botched in one way or another that prevents the case from moving forward. It might be that the player goes AWOL after filing the complaint, or they neglect to provide important information and aren’t willing or available to correct the problem, or the case is simply beyond the scope of any reasonable arbitration effort (“make the casino be nice to me” or suchlike). Whatever the reasons the bottom line is that these cases are DOA (“dead on arrival”) and nothing within reason can be done to process them further. Again we’re talking about (roughly) 30% of the total cases received.
Of the remaining 40% or so of complaints received we’re dealing with legitimate, actionable cases that an arbitrator can sink their teeth into and (hopefully) produce some meaningful results. So what kind of complaints are we talking about?
That 40% of legit cases breaks down something like this, sorted most to least common:
- Terms violations. By far and away the single most common (legit) complaint area. The bottom line is that the Terms rule and players simply must read and comply with them. Failure to do so creates pain and tears, not to mention lost monies. And ignorance is no excuse;
- Slow-pay/no-pay problems. Where the casino is dragging its feet or otherwise failing to make payments that are legitimately owed to the player. The main issue here is applying effective pressure to the casino — usually a matter of making it clear that they need to do the right thing or suffer the consequences — in order to get the money flowing to the player;
- Dirty tricks from unscrupulous (or simply crooked) casinos. What can I say? Some casinos are run by criminally inclined people who want to hoover up as much money as they can from players who almost never have any recourse. The best way to avoid such situations is to research your casino before you hand over your money. Once they have your money they are in control;
- KYC problems. KYC means “Know Your Customer” and this generally applies to the process of requesting documents and verifying a player’s identity, etc. The best way to avoid problems here is to give the casino what they ask for. Don’t tamper with your documents or you run the considerable risk of being nailed as a fraudster. Casinos tend to be a little paranoid in this area so be patient: if you are an honest customer it is almost always possible to resolve any documents problems that arise;
- Self-exclusion (SE) problems. Unfortunately SE is a work-in-progress for a large part of the industry in that the rules are being written (and rewritten) on a daily basis. Whatever SE services the casino offers, the bottom line is that successful SE depends on the player’s willingness to take responsibility for their actions. Be crystal clear that you want to self-exclude, put it in writing, get the casino to acknowledge your request in writing, and stick to your resolution to stop playing. Also be aware that the whole SE side of things is riddled with player fraud so any problems you have are going to be viewed with suspicion;
- Game errors or failures. Be aware that almost every casino in the business has a Term that says something like “not liable for technical errors or failures”. A good casino will take care of their players if something of this sort occurs, most will just point to the Terms and shake their heads. In the rare case where the error is widespread and enough players can prove it, the casino will make reparations. Proof keeps everyone friendly;
- Connectivity issues. See Game errors or failures;
- Administrative errors. Such things are fairly rare but the blame is always on the player to prove that the casino is in error.
Word of advice
There’s one last but very important bit of advice I can offer: when it comes to your complaint, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! When you send an email related to your complaint, save a copy. If you can get screenshots to document your issue, grab them. If you have an exchange with the casino on their chat service, get a transcript. I put it this way: Proof keeps everything friendly. Without proof anyone can claim anything and, as it happens, they usually do.
Over and above the types of complaints, players should know that 50% or more of their complaints relate to casino Bonuses. Over the years I’ve heard some pretty shocking things from casinos but the gist of it seems to be that many casinos view the Bonus money they offer to players as “their money”, that is they see it as the casino’s money in the player’s account. Needless to say they are very reluctant to part with “their money” and as such no end of “problems” arise when it comes to players trying to hang on to (nevermind cash out) winnings they may have derived. Many of us believe that casino Bonuses are far more hassle than they are worth. Many players can’t seem to resist the “free” money. The Complaints inbox is never empty and Bonuses are a primary reason for that. Caveat emptor.
If you have any complaints-related questions you can reach me on the Casinomeister forums via Private Message (PM): my handle is maxd and any forum member can send me a PM via https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/private.php?do=newpm&u=1552. If you are not a Casinomeister forum member you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org