Having an issue or dispute with an online casino is just about every player’s worst nightmare about online gambling. The largest problem with online gambling is the lack of a central control and licensing body.
Of course some people could argue that these are also the things that make online casinos available and great. But for the purposes of trying to get a dispute resolved the unregulated market is not helpful.
Disputes usually fall under one of a few different issues. The most prominent one deals with bonuses. These are covered in the terms and conditions section below, but let me be 100% up front about bonus disputes.
You will probably never win a bonus dispute unless the casino you are dealing with lets you.
They have bonuses set up so you probably can’t win any dispute. This isn’t to say that they don’t actually give out bonuses. They do give them out and most players don’t have any problems with them. I’m just saying that if you have a dispute about a bonus the solution is probably covered in their terms and conditions and you probably won’t win.
The next issue involves if the games at the online casino are fair. Many players think online casino games are fixed, but if you follow the advice in the section below about how to avoid casino disputes you won’t have to worry about fair games.
If you play at a trusted casino and think the games are fixed, start tracking all of your game play and then either research the mathematics behind the game yourself or take it to a mathematician. Though it may seem rigged for the roulette wheel to land on black eight straight times, it can and does happen.
Probably the most serious issue is when you win and the online casino won’t send you your money. This is covered in both the how to avoid a casino dispute section and the how to resolve casino disputes section below.
Most online casino disputes can be avoided by doing two things. The first one is to only play at trusted online casinos. The other involves the terms and conditions and is covered in the next section.
Believe it or not, every online casino that has been in business very long at all and has many customers probably has had some customer disputes. Most of these disputes are from people trying to scam the casino or take advantage of a loophole. Even well-established casinos who try to offer the best customer service and do everything above board can have issues come up from time to time.
The difference is that the most trusted online casinos work toward correcting these issues fairly, while bad ones do not.
So how do you find trusted online casinos?
There are many things you can do, but I always suggest taking the advice of someone you trust. Reading about the casinos listed on this site is a great place to start.
You also should see how long the casino has been in business, what country they are licensed in, what software platform they use, if they are part of a protection agency (see the popular agencies listed in their own section below) and if they have favorable terms and conditions.
I admit that this is a cynical way to look at things, but the other thing you can do is just assume the worst and only play with money that you view as entertainment money. If the worst happens and an online casino takes advantage of you then you just move on to another one. It’s possible that I have just been lucky, but by following these steps I have never had an issue that couldn’t be resolved with an online casino.
I may have lost a few small amounts over the years, but they weren’t enough for me to remember. The best online casinos want players out there telling everyone they know how great the customer service was, not how they feel cheated. Of course there are many scammers that try to take advantage of this and use it against the online casinos.
Almost every casino dispute involving bonuses involves the terms and conditions attached to the bonus. Online casinos also have general terms and conditions that cover just about everything that is not bonus related. Before you start playing at any online casino you need to read all of the terms and conditions.
Also, before you take any bonus you need to read all of the terms and conditions. I realize that they are boring and they are written in a way that discourages players from reading them, but over 90% of disputes could be avoided if people just understood these documents.
Online casino terms and conditions are written by lawyers whose job it is to protect the online casino. That doesn’t mean they are trying to take advantage of you but it does mean that most issues that may come up are covered and they aren’t usually going to be written in a way that will come out in your favor.
Getting back to the bonus disputes, here are some of the types of conditions that bonuses may have attached to them. You may not be able to play certain games while clearing a bonus.
These games often include roulette, craps, blackjack and video poker. If you play any of these games some casinos will forfeit your entire bonus.
Many bonuses are play only bonuses where you can play with the bonus amount but when you try to cash out the entire bonus is deducted from your account. There may be maximum cash out amounts and there are almost always requirements for how many times you must wager both the bonus and the deposit amount before requesting a payout.
Most online casinos also have a limit on the amount you can cash out per week.
Speaking of making a withdrawal, most online casinos will require documentation proving you say you are who you claim and you live where you claim before approving your first cash out. This is usually covered in the general terms and conditions. The best bet is to just assume that a cash out request is going to be slow until a casino has proven otherwise.
I’ve had checks take as long as a month to arrive from certain online casinos in the past.
The first thing to do is contact the support department at the online casino or gambling establishment where you are having trouble. Do this in a calm non-threatening manner and explain the issue and what you would like done to resolve it as clearly as possible.
Remember that you will often be dealing with people that do not live in the same country as you so using simple language is always better. Many minor disputes can be handled this way.
Don’t hesitate to respectfully ask for a supervisor if your problem is not being handled. Many support departments are run by a person or people who are good at their jobs, but they have employees to handle most of the grunt work. Sometimes just being able to speak to a supervisor can solve a problem quickly.
Keep asking for someone higher up the chain until you run out of possibilities or they flat out say they won’t help you.
Before doing anything, make sure you have all of your facts straight and all of your evidence together. Evidence includes screen shots, copies of communication between you and the casino support staff and make sure you have copies of all of the terms and conditions and that you understand them.
You should be prepared to point out the exact areas of the terms that pertain to your issue and know enough about them that you can quickly find any places pointed out by the casino.
Most players don’t think to take a screen shot of things when they happen, but it is a good idea to take a quick one on big wins or of other situations that you may need proof of at a later date.
I always prefer communicating by some sort of written communication when dealing with complaints and issues. This helps provide a trail of what has been said and done. Too often when a phone conversation is involved things break down to a “he said she said” argument.
You can get devices that will record conversations, but the laws vary on whether or not you have to tell the other party if the call is being recorded. Even though going to court probably won’t happen (see the next section) you should treat everything as if you will have to prove it in a court of law. The more supporting evidence you have the better the chance you have of getting your issue resolved.
If none of this works then you only have a few options left. They are covered in the next two sections including speaking to a lawyer and contacting one of the groups that offer seals of approval to certain online casinos.
While you may feel like getting a lawyer involved as soon as you have a casino dispute, it is actually one of the last things you want to consider, and in almost every case it will not be the best use of your time and money.
The first issue is if the casino is located in a jurisdiction where you can actually file a lawsuit and have any chance to win. You will find that most are not located where you can.
The next issue is that because most of these disputes involve you and a casino located in different countries there are international laws involved. This adds additional layers of complexity to the situation.
Finally, you have to decide if the amount of money you are going to need to spend is worth the amount you are trying to win. I am not saying that you should never speak to an attorney about a casino dispute. If you have a solid case and it is for a great deal of money then you should at least seek the advice of a lawyer.
But lawyers can be expensive and you don’t want to end up sinking a great deal of money into a case you can’t win.
If the online casino has a seal from eCOGRA, the Interactive Gaming Council or the Central Disputes Center you should contact the specific company. They may be able to help, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The same suggestions apply here that were mentioned above. Make sure you have all of the details and act in a professional manner. These companies are forced to deal with people trying to scam the casinos all of the time so if you let your emotions start getting in the way you may be lumped in with the wrong group.
Online casinos like having seals from supposed watchdog groups like those mentioned here on their web sites because it can make players more comfortable, but in the end there is only so much that any of these groups can do. If you have a strong case you may get a ruling in your favor, but you don’t read many stories about these groups actually helping players.
I am not trying to say not to try this avenue. I would definitely try. I’m just urging caution and patience.
Sadly, if you aren’t able to settle a dispute with the online casino where you play there aren’t many good options. The ones listed on this page are your best bet, but hopefully you never have to deal with any of these issues. Just taking the time to read the terms and conditions and finding the best and safest online casinos will help you avoid just about every complaint that can come up.