IBAS, the Independent Betting Adjudication Service, looks set to widen its area of expertise once more by taking on disputes over gaming machines in betting shops. The independent body is teaming up with the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) in order to provide third party arbitration for any dispute arising from the Category B gaming machines.
ABB chief executive Tom Kelly explained: "We were asked if we felt that IBAS could deal with B2 machine disputes. We consulted our members and we feel that there are some instances in which they would be able to help and we are in the process of talking to them about that at the moment."
Kelly pointed out that the Gambling Commission required an independent body for dispute resolution for gambling services and that as IBAS was already in place it was the natural choice. He added: "One can't envisage a great number of disputes with Category Bs, but if there are any then IBAS has undertaken that it can probably deal with them and we are hoping that will be the case."
Chris O'Keeffe, IBAS chief executive, commented: "We've researched the sector thoroughly and put forward a business case to the industry which we hope will be accepted."
IBAS expects to follow the same methods and principles associated with all other types of disputes when dealing with category B disputes, but the organisation is well aware that IBAS staff may also need to consider the appropriateness of a referral of the complainant to problem gambling assistance. IBAS plans to send some staff to GamCare for awareness training on this subject.
It expects that most disputes will fall into one of two areas: the technical operation of the machine or the operation of the machine by the owner. For the former, IBAS suggests that a number of the complaints will likely be about the 'fairness' of the machine and bring the integrity of the Random Number Generator (RNG) into account. IBAS said that while it can't conduct tests on RNGs it could refer them to independent testing houses, but only with the agreement of gambling operators. As an alternative this part of any dispute can be referred to the Gambling Commission who may arrange for a test where they consider a potential regulatory issue arises.
On the disputes over operation, the Gambling Commission has suggested that complaints can derive from a player's failure to understand the odds involved in a game, or lack of advice or confusion arising from the help screen. According to IBAS, failure to display social responsibility warnings is also a growing area of unhappiness, although this could be dealt with by IBAS administrative staff.
IBAS anticipates that its basic principles of settling disputes according to the operator's rules and the standards set for operators by the Gambling Commission will apply in these cases.
From BBC Sport