How do I complain about a gambling transaction (disputes)?
If you wish to dispute a gambling transaction, that is, disagree
with an operator about whether you won, or how much you have been
paid, you should follow the disputes process below.
However, if you wish to complain about the way in which a
gambling business is being run, which may indicate a threat to the
licensing objectives, you should follow the process detailed in
How do I complain about a gambling operator?
How to raise a dispute
holders must have a clear policy on dealing with complaints,
including disputes. This policy must include the process to
follow in raising a dispute and should be readily available to you
- 1. Disputes can be expressed orally or in writing and may
occur in person, over the telephone, by letter, by email, or via
- 2. Complain, to the licence holder concerned providing as
much detail as possible. Ideally, you should keep a full record of
- 3. The licence holder should investigate the dispute,
escalating as necessary, following their internal complaints
procedure and informing you of the outcome.
- 4. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, ask the
licence holder to refer the dispute to their appointed independent
third party for investigation.
- 5. The independent third party should then contact you in
the course of their investigation.
So that your dispute is handled as quickly as possible, you
should always follow the licence holder’s complaints procedure in
the first instance.
What is an independent third party?
The arrangements vary but all Gambling Commission licence
holders who have direct gambling customers are required to have an
appointed individual or organisation. Organisations that provide
third party arbitration services include, but are not limited
- Independent betting adjudication service (which covers betting,
remote gambling, lotteries and gaming machine disputes) (IBAS)
- Independent Panel for Casino Arbitration (IPCA)
- Independent Panel of Bingo Administration (IPBA)
- Independent Panel for Bingo Arbitration (IPBA)
Other more local arrangements are also allowed.
The important feature is that the third party has sufficient
knowledge to investigate disputes but is also sufficiently
independent of the licence holder.
What happens if the independent third party does not find in my
Normally that will be the end of the matter. We are unlikely to
reopen the enquiry unless there is clear evidence that the licence
holder has not complied with their obligations.
However, gambling contracts made since 1 September 2007 are
legally enforceable under the Gambling Act 2005. If you think
you have an actionable case against a licence holder you should
seek independent legal advice. We do not give legal advice on
this or any other area.
What happens if the licence holder has not dealt with my
If you feel that a licence holder does not have a proper
complaints procedure, they have ignored your dispute, or they have
not passed on your details to an independent third party, you can
complain to us about their failure to operate a proper
If we think your dispute is reasonable then we may take this up
with the licence holder concerned. We will not investigate the
facts of the dispute, but we will check that there is a complaints
procedure in place and challenge the licence holder to follow that
procedure fully. This process may take some time but you can expect
an acknowledgement of your dispute with the licence holder, from
us, within three working days.
Can we help to get your money back?
Generally the answer to this question is no. We do not assist in
obtaining a refund of stakes placed, or put into a gaming
If you have lost a significant sum of money this may be an
indication that you have a problem with gambling. In such
circumstances you can ask a licence holder to exclude you from the
premises or website and seek help from one of the
problem gambling organisations.
How to contact Gambling Commission licence holders
If you want to raise a dispute against a licence holder but do
not have their contact details, you can make use of our
register of operating licence holders (including our
register of remote operating
Page last reviewed: September