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Complaints and disputes: procedural, information provision and reporting requirements

Guidance to licensees’ on policies, procedures and controls for handling customer complaints.

1 - The purpose of this guidance

This guidance:

  • sets out the minimum standards we expect from all licence holders, except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences, regarding effective handling of customer complaints
  • provides advice to licence holders on the implementation of social responsibility code provision 6.1.1 - Complaints and disputes as set out in our Licence Conditions and Codes of practice (LCCP)
  • summarises the reporting requirements that apply to all licence holders, except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences, as described previously.

The purpose of this note is to provide guidance to licensees’ policies, procedures and controls for handling customer complaints.

This guidance aims to assist licensees with detail about how to comply with the LCCP and the wider legal requirements, and is intended to allow licensees flexibility as to how they comply.

This guidance is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and nothing in this document should be construed as such. Anyone requiring clarification on the regulatory issues contained in this guidance should seek their own independent legal advice.

In this guidance, the word 'must' denotes a legal obligation, while the word 'should' is a recommendation of good practice, and is the standard that we expect operators to adopt and evidence. We expect operators to be able to explain the reasons for any departures from that standard.

We have a duty to permit gambling as long as we think it is reasonably consistent with the three licensing objectives set out in the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab).

These objectives are to:

  • keep gambling free from crime and from being associated with crime
  • ensure that gambling is fair and open
  • protect children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Effective, transparent and fair customer complaints handling is an important part of achieving the second licensing objective. Licence holders must have fair, transparent and accessible procedures, including escalation to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), to meet this objective. Licence holders are also required to report to us information about complaints received and escalated.

The advice note is amended periodically to take account of what we learn from licence holders, ADR providers and gambling consumers about emerging trends in complaints handling, or of changes to legislation. Where proposed amendments are minor, we will consult informally, for example, through industry trade bodies and with consumer groups. For more substantial changes, we will consult more formally.

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2 - Defining complaints and disputes
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