Dispute Resolution: The Affiliate's Role

Dispute Resolution: The Affiliate's Role

Affiliates can play a critical role in mediating and resolving player complaints or disputes with online casinos. Dimitar Dimitrov provides a progress report on its Casino Complaint Service.

Published 23rd December 2014

Let face it, online gambling has never been as safe and secure as it is nowadays, and most players never experience any troubles while gambling online. Furthermore, considering all recent and ongoing changes to gambling legislation across Europe and Asia, we would expect the overall gambling environment for players to improve even more. However, there are times when things go wrong, and players find themselves having a problem with their online casino. Whether the issue concerns a delayed or declined payment, a bonus terms violation or soft-ware glitch is quite an important detail, but what really matters in these situations is whether or not the casino operator reacts adequately and responsibly. The first thing players do when they encounter a problem is to directly contact the casino and try to find a working solution to their problem with the relevant casino representative or department. Unfortunately, it’s not at all rare for such disputes to remain unresolved by the casino, and this is usually the point at which these issues are referred to independent authorities, such as other gambling websites and forums which offer a complaint resolution service to their members. Despite the fact that the official authorities are arguably better equipped and have greater time and resources at their disposal to help resolve such disputes between players and online casinos, it’s somewhat surprising to discover out that independent gambling websites and forums are actually more popular among players than the authorities themselves. Websites like CasinoMeister, Gambling Grumbles, AskGamblers, ThePogg and LatestCasinoBonuses, to name but a few, are already so popular among online gamblers that many players now even prefer to seek help in the first instance from them, instead of filing a formal complaint to the official regulatory body for the relevant casino. Most often, the mediation service offered by the aforementioned gambling websites is working fast and efficiently, and this is probably what makes these sites the players’ preferred choice, ahead of the generally slower formal complaint process, conducted by the official authorities. Of course, to post a complaint with some of these websites doesn’t necessarily mean the player is going to win their case. However, what’s guaranteed is that they will receive fair treatment and investigation, based on the available facts and evidence. AskGamblers’ Casino Complaint Service was devised to help players resolve issues they may face when they gamble at anyonline casino, as we believe they deserve to get a fair game every time they choose to play. Therefore, we embarked on a battle against rogue casino practices by launching what we see as one-of-a-kind complaint service, which allows us to medi-ate the dispute between players and online casinos, acting as an independent third party. As mediators between players and casinos, we aim to provide both involved parties the chance to resolve issues both fairly and quickly. In order to encourage the player and the casino to retain their focus on reaching a fair and workable solution, we impose a time limit upon opening each complaint, giving each party 96 hours to respond. Failure of either of them to do so within the given time frame will result in the closure of the complaint. AskGamblers also believes in transparency, and therefore we have a complete archive of online casino complaints to help our players make an informed choice on where to play. If a particular online casino has stacked up a number of complaints and they are not doing anything to resolve them, we want to make our members be aware of that and help them avoid these sites. Although we endeavour to help out as many players as possible, we are unfortunately unable to publish each and every complaint, due to several mitigating factors we need take into account. Therefore, out of 4,403 complaints received, we have published 3,175, and rejected 1,271 (which is actually only 28.71% of all complaints). Obviously, we are doing our best to accept as many complaints as we can, and try to assist everybody in their time of need. Those 3,175 complaints we have published have been lodged against 390 online casinos. To date, 1,762 have been resolved successfully, and in that way we have helped return an impressive amount of $2,701,808 to players all around the world (see Figures 1 and 2 for greater detail).

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Figure 1: Types of complaint
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Figure 2: Breakdown of rejected complaints

And this number is constantly growing, as we receive between 5 and 10 new complaints on a daily basis. The complaints we receive cover a whole range of different issues, including, but not limited to, payments, bonuses, account handling, software and deposits. We further divide these issues into various subcategories, and under each of these, players are presented with a clear explanation and FAQ explaining what might be the underlying cause for the issue arising in the first place, and with quick tips for reaching amicable resolution before needing to submit a formal complaint. A quick comparison of the 3,175 players who submitted complaints with the overall number of AskGamblers members reveals that this equates to 5% of them having used AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service on at least one occasion. What’s more, it is often the case that players return to ask for our help to solve more than one issue. Unfortunately, there are some players who are trying to use our complaint system for purposes other than moving towards workable resolution underpinned with genuine and fair intentions. Usually, we manage to detect those intent on abusing the system even before we publish their complaint, but from time to time, some of them do manage to enter the complaint process, giving us no other option but to reject their case as soon as we find it was lodged on a fraudulent basis. However, we do end up wasting valuable time and resources on such people which could be better spent on helping players with genuine complaints. Therefore, we’ve recently implemented an even more sophisticated method of checking all incoming complaints to our website, in order to ensure we offer help only to those who really need it. To conclude, although offering a complaints service requires a huge amount of time, effort and dedication, we have no intentions to give up any time soon. Moreover, we are already preparing some improvements for our system that we think could help us elevate it to a whole new and even better level of experience for both parties involved.