INTERNAL DISPUTE PROCESS
The Licensees fully support the objective detailed in the Gambling Act 2005 that gambling be conducted in a fair and open way.
Should you have a dispute about any gambling related decision, a member of the Licensees management team should be able to settle the problem for you at the time.
However, should you not be satisfied with their decision regarding your gambling dispute, and all internal avenues have been exhausted you may refer the matter by post or email to the Independent Panel for Casino and Bingo Arbitration (IPCA) at the following address below – at any time up to 12 months from the end of the operator’s complaints’ process. The application will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt.
235 Vauxhall Bridge Road
INDEPENDENT PANEL FOR CASINO AND BINGO ARBITRATION
- The IPCA is tasked with reviewing gambling disputes relating to the land based casino and bingo industries that have failed to be settled internally.
- The IPCA is largely comprised of retired senior members of the Gambling Commission or other independent reputable gambling industry experts. A list of IPCA ADR Officials can be found here
- Please note that IPCA will only handle disputes received in writing via any durable medium and after being entirely satisfied that all possibilities of an internal solution have been fully explored. Therefore, if you have not taken the matter through the company internal disputes procedure, the IPCA will refer it back until the internal process has been fully exhausted.
- The IPCA is only able to consider disputes, defined as unresolved complaints that relate to the outcome of a customer’s gambling transaction (including disputes about, for example, management of the transaction and related customer accounts, including the ability to access funds).
- ADR providers such as IPCA may consider whether a resolution should include compensation for customers, either for expenses incurred in pursuing the complaint or as a good will gesture for inconvenience or difficulty incurred.
- The IPCA ADR service is free to consumers.
- The ADR entity may refuse an ADR request in accordance with the regulations as outlined in Grounds to Refuse to Deal with an Alternative Dispute Resolution (below).
- All parties must agree to provide all documentation and evidence in relation to the dispute. The licensee is expected to respond to any request for information from the IPCA within 10 working days.
- All parties must agree to make themselves available to be interviewed by the ADR official.
- All parties have the right to withdraw at any time from the ADR process.
- The ADR procedure complies with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with regard to processing personal data. Copies of reports and supporting papers on individual cases are retained by the IPCA for three years from the date of issue of the report.
- The parties to the complaint/dispute are not obliged to retain a legal adviser but they may seek independent advice or be represented by a third party at any stage of the ADR procedure.
IPCA ADR PROCESS
- The ADR controller will assign an ADR official to investigate the complaint and notify all parties concerned.
- The ADR official will request all relevant evidence and documentation from all concerned parties and inform all parties of their right to withdraw at any time from the process. Both parties have a right to see the arguments, evidence, documents and facts put forward by the other party.
- The ADR official upon receipt of the evidence will notify the parties that the evidence received constitutes a ‘complete complaint file’. An outcome (proposed decision/resolution) to the dispute will be issued within 90 calendar days from the date the “complete complaint file” has been received (in “certain exceptional cases” in “highly complex disputes” the ADR official is free, at his/her own discretion, to extend the 90 calendar day deadline). During the course of the investigation, the complainant will be kept in touch with progress at least every 30 days.
- The ADR official will consider ‘pausing’ the timing of a dispute if the complainant takes a significant amount of time to respond to requests for information or engage with the dispute resolution process. The official will inform the complainant if there is to be such a pause. If no contact is received from the complainant, the official will close the case after notifying the complainant that they are doing so.
- The ADR official will normally provide a draft report allowing reasonable time for comment from all parties. This may include any statements made and opinions given by experts.
- The ADR official will consider any comments prior to completing the report.
- The ADR official will provide a final report to the ADR controller outlining the outcomes and grounds on which the proposed decision/resolution is based.
- When the ADR controller is satisfied that the process has been adhered to and the decision/resolution in the report is valid, the controller will forward the report to all parties concerned. There is no right of appeal against the decision reached but the IPCA will be willing to re-consider the outcome if and when significant new information become available.
- In accordance with the Gambling Commission’s expectation, gambling operators will offer ADR which is binding on the operator (if accepted by the consumer) for disputes which would otherwise be taken to the small claims court (currently disputes of not more than £10,000). For disputes over £10,000, the ADR procedure need not be binding – this would allow, for example, that mediation could be employed for disputes of more than £10,000 or for adjudication decisions to be non-binding on the operator.
- In accordance with consumer protection requirements, the customer is not legally bound to abide by any IPCA decision and therefore this process does not deny the consumer his or her UK statutory consumer protections.
IPCA makes available to licensees a leaflet giving the process, for display in their casinos. You can download a copy here.
GROUNDS TO REFUSE TO DEAL WITH AN ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
- An ADR Entity can refuse to deal with a dispute but the ADR Entity must provide both parties with a reason for declining the dispute within 3 weeks of receiving the complete complaint file.
- The reasons a dispute can be refused are if:
- the consumer has not attempted to contact the gambling operator and resolve the matter directly with them, prior to submitting their complaint to the ADR entity;
- the dispute is frivolous or vexatious;
- the dispute is being, or has been previously, considered by another ADR entity or by a court;
- the value of the claim falls below or above the monetary thresholds set by the body; however, the IPCA does not set monetary thresholds;
- the consumer has not submitted the complaint to the body within the time period specified by the body, provided that such time period is not less than 12 months from the date upon which the trader has given notice to the consumer that the trader is unable to resolve the complaint with the consumer;
- dealing with such a type of dispute would seriously impair the effective operation of the body;
- the matter that is the subject of the dispute is more properly the concern of the Gambling Commission by reason of a possible breach of the operator’s Operating Licence and/or the Gambling Act 2005 and its subordinate legislation and/or the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice or any other issue which, in the exercise of the IPCA’s discretion is of a type that is more appropriately dealt with by another authority or by the Courts.
In submitting this an ADR request, the complainant has to:
- I verify that the information provided by me is accurate and true and
- I consent to the IPCA having access to my personal information held by the Licensee and
- I confirm that I they have read and agree to abide by the above-mentioned terms of the IPCA ADR Process and the terms set out above under the heading General Information and
- I understand and agree that the IPCA can refuse to deal with a dispute on one or more of the grounds set out above under the heading Grounds to Refuse to Deal With an Alternative Dispute Resolution.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE WAY AN ADR CASE HAS BEEN HANDLED
IPCA itself has a complaints procedure where the complainant is not satisfied with some aspect of the way their dispute case was handled by IPCA. Such complaints must relate to some aspect of the way the ADR official dealt with the case: it cannot be used to appeal the merits of the decision or reopen the dispute itself.
In the first instance, the complainant should seek to resolve the matter with the person who dealt with the case (or one of his/her colleagues).
If that does not succeed (and the complainant remains dissatisfied) or the complaint involves a complex issue, it will be referred for further investigation. That will be done by the IPCA Controller (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) if the complaint relates to one of IPCA’s investigating officers. If the complaint relates to the actions of the Controller, the further investigation will be undertaken by the Chief Executive of the National Casino Forum (email: email@example.com ). In either case, where a serious matter is raised, consideration will be given to whether a third party should be asked to address the issues.