Typically, a dispute about the fairness of a game would be a matter we would suggest that you directed to the Gambling Commission. We would consider that an allegation of cheating.
However, sometimes, if a customer’s complaint is very specific, that a particular game has not been delivering the returns that a customer has expected, we may ask the operator to supply data relating to the customer’s gameplay and to the total outcome of recorded results of a particular game.
We often remind customers that if a game promises to return, say, 90% of stakes to players, this does not mean that a customer depositing £100 into his or her account should expect to withdraw £90 at the end of their gameplay. If they only bet a total of £100 the average return should be £90, but in the process of playing casino games, customers often reinvest their returns and the ‘average return to player’ figure governing a particular game refers to the total stake money, not the total deposits.
As regulator of the gambling industry in Great Britain, the Gambling Commission sets out specific technical standards that licensed operators must follow. These cover, for example, what should happen to a game that is interrupted by server or software failure.
The most common complaints received by IBAS are:
In the first case, the Panel will ask to view the logs of the game to see whether the game outcome is recorded and to identify whether the reason for the game being interrupted was as a result of the company’s equipment or the customer’s. The Panel will consider whether the operator has acted fairly in the way that the interrupted game has been treated.
In the second case, the Panel will again request the operator’s server logs of bets to identify where the problem may have occurred. We often find that the difficulty is caused by apparent temporary loss of internet connection at the customer’s end, where the software allows bets to be displayed on the customer’s device but without communicating them to the operator’s server.
If it emerged that the bets had been communicated to the operator but somehow not fed into the game (e.g. if it was operated by a third party) the Panel would consider whether it was fair to deny a customer any winnings that he or she might otherwise have achieved.
Where a customer complains that an operator has not honoured an offer or promotion in which they have participated, the Panel will consider the terms of the offer, the actions of the customer and the way the terms of the offer were advertised to customers.
Gambling operators should ensure that they adhere to the law and to regulatory requirements regarding accessibility and transparency of terms governing special offers. Customers should take care to read the terms and conditions governing special offers before they agree to participate. You should not assume that the terms governing a similar offer with a different online casino will be the same as the casino you are currently using.
Our Panel will also consider whether the terms of a particular offer are fair in their own right, however clearly they are displayed.
We have received some complaints that an operator has not honoured a ‘VIP’ arrangement. Some customers have reported having longstanding agreements with operators, for example that routinely refund a certain proportion of losses to regular customers. Customers in those situations should take care to clarify whether these types of arrangements form part of the contract between customer and operator or whether they are an informal arrangement that can be offered or withdrawn at the operator’s discretion.