There are plenty of above board and trustworthy online bingo sites, but unfortunately there’s also quite a few that are not what we would describe as fair. The complaints can be seen around the web on bingo and casino forums, the most common being unfair small print (they know most people don’t read terms and conditions properly), and withdrawal problems. We think some of their practices are completely out of order, bad for players, and bad for online bingo as a whole.
We’ve created this section as a guide to assist players in the initial stages of the pursuit of a dispute. This includes exactly how to start with a complaint, and where your first port of call should be if you need to seek redress. There is no single online bingo ombudsman, however we do have contact details for the major regulatory bodies that oversee the licensing of bingo throughout the European Union and further afield.
We don’t like the way that players can be taken advantage of and suggest all online bingo sites bring their Ts and Cs in line with that of the UK’s land based bingo halls.
Part 1: Introduction
If you have a complaint to make about your online bingo provider, then there is scant information out there as to how to proceed. In light of this, we have put together a guide to help you proceed with your complaint, containing both advice on how to interact with your vendor, and what information you should be keeping to support your case.
Dealing with a bingo site to achieve resolution can be difficult, and sometimes borderline impossible. Some sites will quite simply ban what they perceive to be ‘awkward players’, and will not bother to answer emails, and make the process of seeking redress so difficult that it will in some cases put the player off from taking the complaint forward.
Other sites will simply refer a complainant to the terms and conditions, which usually cover all the site’s unfairness, albeit due to what may be basically unfair, and in some cases borderline unethical disclaimers and/or conditions.
But, don’t be put off, if you think that you have been treated unfairly don’t let them get away with it. If you proceed, you will be doing the right thing for both yourself and other players. You may not win, but it’s better to try and kick up a fuss than to let them get away with it. The guide below outlines the steps that you should take, and hopefully they will put you in a stronger position that is more likely to have a positive outcome.
These steps are designed to enable you to deal efficiently with the bingo site, or failing that the regulatory body that oversees the licensing of the bingo operator. If you don’t know which entity regulates your bingo operator, then find out where they are registered (either on the footer of the bingo site’s homepage, or in their ‘T and Cs’).
Part 2: Initial Stages Of The Complaint – Action
Know The Terms And Conditions
Yes, we know they can be both dense and boring, but it’s very much worth familiarising yourself with a site’s terms and conditions. It will both warn you should there be any potential issues ahead, and give you a framework to address any problems that might arise. If you can’t face reading the whole thing, at least read the bits on withdrawals and bonus wagering requirements. The majority of the problems players have are directly related to those 2 areas.
Gather evidence concerning your complaint. If your problem is due to a technical problem on the side of the bingo site ensure that you have the time and date noted, as well as all other descriptive details, including the Game ID, which should be somewhere on the screen. If you can, take a picture of the problem by capturing a screen shot, or even taking a photograph of any evidence that you gather to support your complaint can only help with your case.
Communication With The Bingo Operator
Although you may be feeling a bit irate, please remember that the people that you will communicating with at the bingo site (including chat moderators) are only doing their job. Please be polite with them, as it will be even more difficult to sort out your problem if the site has banned you due to impolite behaviour (no matter how justified you may think it is).
Keep a complaint history, including all dealings that you have with the bingo company. Keep all emails and chat logs, and in the case of live chat, take a screen shot (if you don’t know how to do this ask a friend, or even take a photo of the screen). Be detailed, take note of the times of all instances of communication, as the company will be able to refer to their own records, which may help with the complaint.
Moving Forward With Your Complaint
Where To Address Your Complaint
You could go through the Chat Moderator in the first instance, or go straight to the telephone. If you do try via chat, you may find that the moderators are quite simply too busy to give your complaint the attention it deserves, also, chat communication can sometimes be misleading simply down to the nature of typing short answers.
You can also write to the company, and it would be a very poor outfit that bins a written complaint, as they are generally taken a lot more seriously across all industries. A typed letter is also a sign of the seriousness of your intent and is more likely to make the recipient think that you might be someone to be reckoned with. If you are unsure of your written abilities ask someone for help, or at the very least get someone to read your letter over to make sure that your complaint and the details are clear.
Make sure that you do have ground to stand on. Read the terms and conditions fully, and ensure that you understand them. If your problem is not covered in the conditions carry on, but if it is covered by a nefarious clause that you have unwittingly agreed to then unfortunately you may not have a leg to stand on. Although this may appear unfair as most people don’t go over the Ts and Cs with a fine tooth comb, it means you’ll probably not have solid grounds for seeking redress. Having said that, if you think the terms may be completely out of order, then you should notify the regulatory body, as it may be something that they also deem to be potentially illegal, or at least unethical – nothing ventured noting gained.
There are other points of contact on the net that may be of assistance, or at least you can publicise your gripe and discuss it with other disgruntled players. Try the Bingo Players Union or Casinomeister, both of which provide a forum for such issues. By doing this you will also be making other players aware of problems with certain sites, and at the very least you may be contributing towards ensuring that other players don’t fall foul of bad practices.
If you do not receive satisfaction with the bingo operator, then it’s time to take things further. We would advise contacting the UK Gambling Commission first. They may not be able to help you, but, at least they may be in a position to direct you on how to proceed. If you bingo company is not UK licensed, then they will not be able to act on your behalf.
If you bingo operator is licensed outside of the UK, the you will need to contact an overseas body. Below is information on how to locate the region of your bingo operator, and addresses of the regulatory body to approach for that region.
Part 4: Where To Complain
This guide contains the contact details of online gaming licensing bodies, who are the people you should contact if you receive no satisfaction from your bingo company. We always suggest that the initial complaint should be taken up with the bingo company itself, and then if there is no satisfactory outcome for the bingo player, then it is time to take things further.
An initial problem is that there is not one licensing body: there are many covering the various geographical areas where bingo operators are registered. You should be able to find where your bingo operator is registered either at the foot of their homepage, or it should be noted in their terms and conditions.
If your bingo operator is listed as registered in the UK, then you would need to contact the Gambling Commission (address below), however, very few are registered in the UK. The Gambling Commission themselves have come up with a ‘white list’ of areas which they deem to be acceptable in terms of the rigorous standards upheld by their regulatory bodies. A ‘white listing’ is almost a badge of quality, as the area/body itself has undergone an assessment.
This is opposed to a number of arbitrary European licensing bodies, which although accepted by the Gambling Commission, have been accepted merely by dint of their geographical location and not due to a testing of their regulatory rigour. These white listed sites are allowed to advertise freely in the UK and offer services to UK bingo players, but the regulation is all handled by the respective areas, and the UK Gambling Commission has no sway or regulatory powers to deal with problems for players in these white listed regions.
Currently, there is nothing legal to stop any bingo site from anywhere in the world advertising, and registering players in the UK. Most online bingo players do not look at the licensing details of sites when they register, although they should, which would probably cut down on the number of complaints.
The internet is at the time of writing, still a bit like the ‘Wild West’, sadly lacking in law and order, due the fact that it is exceptionally difficult to regulate. However, it is expected that as this situation improves, bingo players in the UK will be prevented from registering at sites that are not registered in the UK. When that happens, any complaints will be dealt with by the Gambling Commission. Until that day, please choose your bingo site carefully.
If you do have an online bingo complaint, and you need to take it further then, please in the first instance find out where your bingo operator is registered by looking either at the footer of their homepage or their terms and conditions. Secondly, once the area is known, you should find the point of contact for the area listed below.
Licensing Regions Approved By The UK Gambling Commission
Approved regions are split into two, European Economic Area (EEA), and White Listed (WL). The purpose of this categorisation is to make a distinction between those that have been accepted by the Gambling Commission after a rigorous assessment (WL), and those that have been accepted merely by their location in Europe (EEA).
Alderney Gambling Control Commission
St. Anne’s House
Queen Elizabeth II Street
Alderney, Channel Islands
United Kingdom GY9 3TB
Antigua And Barbuda (WL)
Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gaming
2nd Floor – West Wing
First Caribbean Financial Centre
Old Parham Road
Antigua and Barbuda
Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner
Ministry of Finance
No6 Convent Place
Isle Of Man (WL)
Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
St. Andrews House
Douglas, Isle of Man
United Kingdom IM1 2PX
Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority
La Concorde, Abate Rigord Street
Malta MSD 12
Tasmania Gaming Commission
80 Elizabeth Street
The Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
United Kingdom B2 4BP
Licensing Regions Not Approved By The UK Gambling Commission
The list below contains regulatory bodies in regions that have not been accepted or ‘white listed’ by the UK Gambling Commission.
Costa Rica Commerce, Industry and Economy Ministry
Edificio del IFAM
San Jose, San José
Costa Rica 10216-1000
Curacao (Netherlands Antillies)
Licenses issued by:
Netherlands Antilles Department of Justice
Wilhelminaplein z/n Curaçao
Curacao Netherlands Antilles
P.O. Box 1799
Old Malone Highway
Kahnawake Mohawk Territory
Lastly, we do wish you success with your complaint, as the bad companies out there are not just a problem for the players, but for the industry as a whole. Good luck.