Basically, what follows is copied and pasted by many gambling companies who hold a UK gambling licence.
J4P has only ever experienced one company, admitting just once, that a part of their systems had failed. In every other case (many) the investigations have concluded that the gambling company has done nothing wrong.
In line with our complaints procedure, we have undertaken a review of your complaint and this email sets out the outcome of that review. It also contains information about the options available to you should you remain dissatisfied with our response to your complaint.
You complain that between 12-11-2019 and 18-07-2020 we failed in that we did not take reasonable steps to (i) identify that you were experiencing problems with your gambling and (ii) to prevent you from experiencing gambling-related harm. You have said that these alleged failures have caused you to suffer significant financial losses.
The outcome you are seeking is a refund of some of the gambling losses that you claim have been caused by **** ****’s failure to prevent you from experiencing gambling-related harm.
Our legal, regulatory and contractual duties
We take all complaints about alleged failures in relation to our regulatory responsibilities seriously, particularly in relation to safer gambling (highly unlikely). We have therefore undertaken a detailed investigation (highly unlikely) of our management of your account against the framework of legal and regulatory requirements that were in place at the time (“place in time” is a common excuse for no wrong doing, i.e. regulations were not as tough then), and the policies and procedures we put into effect to meet those requirements.
Upon review of your account we can see that you returned to **** **** following a period of account dormancy. On this date you made contact with our Customer Services team requesting access to your **** **** online account. During this conversation the Agent provided you with a link to our help section which linked to our Safer Gambling information. Here, you are provided all the necessary information and guidance should you have wanted to apply any of the gambling controls available (we have done our bit, despite their being little evidence that any of this works). Please be advised that whilst **** **** can provide the tools to help control your levels of gambling (not proven as stated), individual personal responsibility also plays a part in using and applying the tools we offer.
Furthermore, please be informed that we do have a dedicated Safer Gambling team who monitor accounts. Should activity reach any of the Safer Gambling team’s internal thresholds (these are thresholds set by ourselves and nobody else knows what they are – perfect excuse for not intervening and blaming you at a later date) then the team will reach out to the player and complete an interaction. We can confirm that your activity never reached such thresholds (well I never).
Outcome of our investigation of your complaint
A thorough investigation of your complaint has identified no shortcomings in meeting our legal and regulatory responsibilities in place during the period in question (well I never). On that basis, we can see no valid basis on which we would provide you with a refund of some or all of your gambling losses (well I never).
Further tools and sources of advice relating to gambling-related harm
We can see that your **** **** online account is now self-excluded for 12 months. In light of your complaint, and the information you have now provided to us, we have taken steps to permanently close all your account(s) with **** **** companies. We would also strongly recommend that you register your personal details with GAMSTOP. This is a free service which lets you put controls in place to restrict your online gambling activities with all gambling companies licensed in Great Britain. More information about the service is available at www.gamstop.co.uk.
If you consider that you are risk of gambling in other, non-online gambling sectors, we also recommend that you enter into a self-exclusion agreement via one of the multi-operator schemes available for each sector. More information about those schemes can be found at www.begambleaware.org/safer-gambling/how-to-self-exclude/.
We would also strongly recommend that you consider obtaining independent and confidential advice in relation to the problems you have experienced with your gambling. More information about your options can be found at: https://www.begambleaware.org/confidential-help/
This is our final response to your complaint. As such, we will not be engaging further with you about your complaint. If you remain dissatisfied with our response, it is open to you to put the complaint to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) for ADR (alternative dispute resolution) (they will not deal with your complaint, so this advice is useless). This is a free service for consumers who are dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint or dispute and want to request an independent review. If you are prompted for a deadlock reference you may provide [removed] More information about the service provided by IBAS can be found at www.ibas-uk.com or by calling 0207 347 5883.
So, there you have it
You’ve done lots of data collection and analysis, yet it is extremely likely you will receive a response similar to this. The Gambling Commission will not help you, in fact, it’s very likely anybody who is paid a salary will help you, except a lawyer. Whilst some of J4P’s comments in green may seem insultingly light-hearted when you’ve read this rubbish for over five years, it does become tedious, so it’s best to laugh or you’d cry.
So, what do you do next?
- Respond asking questions based on your experience.
- Approach the media.
- Seek legal advice.
1. Respond asking questions based on your experience
This may still have no effect, but it is worth trying and it does help to set a standard if you ever move to legal advice. What follows are examples from J4P’s extensive experience.
- Could you explain to me why depositing and losing £2400 in one day didn’t trigger one of the Safer Gambling team’s internal thresholds?
- Could you explain to me why deposits that began at £20 but increased to £500 within 48 hours didn’t trigger one of the Safer Gambling team’s internal thresholds?
- Could you explain to me why gambling for long periods (over six hours) and into the night didn’t trigger one of the Safer Gambling team’s internal thresholds?
- Could you explain to me why after returning from self exclusion you allowed me to lose £10000 in two months with no intervention?
- Could you explain to me why my VIP manager ignored my requested short breaks from gambling by immediately giving me VIP offers when my break was over?
J4P could provide tens and tens of examples of gambling company behaviour that every person with any moral compass would be uncomfortable with, but all you can do is keep trying and making sure the company know you aren’t going away.
2. Approach the media
This is worth a try, but do not assume the media will be interested, or even if they are willing to cover your story that they will be willing to do it without revealing your identity.
It is not for J4P to recommend any media companies or any journalists, so it is best to complete Google searches and you will soon find out who covers gambling and the harm it causes, e.g. BBC radio and TV, Guardian, The Times, Daily Mail, etc.
3. Seek legal advice
This is a big decision and it may be a very good or a disappointing decision.
Firstly, beware of the ‘sharks’ and never sign up to any payment without checking out a legal company first.
The following are legal companies J4P has had contact with, their strengths are different and to be fair, according to feedback, some have weaknesses. Some have very strict criteria for taking a case. Some are unaffordable for many:
- Ellis Jones (https://www.ellisjones.co.uk/)
- Leigh Day (https://www.leighday.co.uk/)
- JCLM Solicitors Limited (https://jclmsolicitors.co.uk/)
- Red Tower Law (https://redtowerlaw.com/)
For varying reasons you may find none are suitable for you, be that your decision or theirs.
It is fair to say that it’s not unknown for people to try to claim they have been exploited by a gambling company when they haven’t, so it’s important to recognise that all these companies expect clients to adhere to certain rules. This is professional and to be expected.
J4P’s experience is that it’s impossible to predict which cases may be taken and when a refund of losses and/or a claim for harm caused maybe successful. Nevertheless, it would appear a person has a better chance if they:
- Have self excluded and been allowed to gamble whilst self excluded.
- Have been a VIP.
- The gambling company concerned has never tried to intervene or only used automated emails to intervene.
- Have lost money since 2015 and preferably since 2017-18.
- Can provide evidence of needing psychological or psychiatric support due to their gambling disorder, e.g. services provided by the NHS or social care.
NB: As stated there are no set rules though.
Please note this is not legal advice.