Thank you for accessing the part of J4P’s website about potentially being exploited by a gambling company.
We always try to be 100% honest, so what follows is not easy reading at times, but hopefully does provide some hope?
Firstly, there is no point doing anything unless you are seeking professional and/or voluntary help for your gambling disorder. It can only be your choice and we’re sorry to labour the point, but it’s so important.
The climate is slowly changing and over the last 5-6 years J4P has secured some refunds for people (listen to BBC Radio 4 ‘You and Yours’ if you can: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09nrsbb). Nevertheless, you must not underestimate the time and difficulty in fighting. These companies never give in easily and sometimes use internal legal staff to frighten people when they are at their most vulnerable. We can only explain the situation honestly and then you have to decide what you wish to do.
If you do decide to go ahead you need to build a case as to why a gambling company has acted inappropriately.
You have a right of access to all the data a gambling company holds about you (see: https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/your-right-of-access/). This is free and it’s a crucial starting point.
This data then needs analysing for signs of a gambling disorder, e.g. long periods gambling, wildly varying stakes, chasing losses, using numerous products, betting on obscure sporting games around the world, etc.
You then go back to the gambling company outlining the breaches of their gambling licence. Do not bother with customer services, they are programmed and will not move. It’s important you go back to a CEO with the information following analysis. CEO names and email addresses can be obtained from ceoemail.com
It’s important to point out what a customer is likely to experience. Basically, there probably will be no good news. As a general rule gambling companies are unhelpful and obstructive. They hope customers will give up in their fight for justice. Sadly, it’s fair to state that some gambling companies continue their exploitation by lying about consumers’ rights and not fulfilling relevant laws. Every person needs to be aware of this before embarking on their ‘fight’.
You need to be patient, as challenging as possible, but not abusive. If you do decide to fight this link begins to explain what may happen next (https://justiceforpunters.org/what-is-likely-to-happen-next/).
Now J4P is taking a break there are few organisations that will help you. The Information Commissioner’s Office may, but only may, help you get your subject access request completed correctly. The Gambling Commission are likely to do nothing. There is no free alternative dispute system available, so who might help?
If you can afford a lawyer or are willing to think about ‘no win no fee’ you may be able to access legal advice. The following webpage contains details of some of the legal companies J4P has worked with: https://justiceforpunters.org/gambling-disorder-refunds/ Scroll down to number 8 in the contents. Whilst J4P can’t recommend legal companies to people, people should note that very few legal companies know anything about gambling and associated law, so be very careful. There are some ‘services’ that advertise from time to time that should not be used. They seem to attract people by offering a smallish initial advisory fee.
As is more likely, e.g. you can’t afford or don’t want to use a lawyer, the following organisations have some experience in helping with gambling disorder disputes. It’s not their primary role and they have very limited resources, because they refuse to accept money from the gambling industry, so they don’t provide a fully dedicated service for disputes. Nevertheless, corresponding with someone in general hopefully has many benefits.
Gamvisory: https://www.gamvisorygroup.co.uk/ & @gamvisory
GamLearn: https://www.gamlearn.org.uk/ & @GamLearn
GamFam: https://www.gamfam.org.uk & @GamFamCharity
Then there are the ‘charities’ with big budgets from the gambling industry. The main one is useful for emergencies and accessing treatment, but J4P is not aware that they provide any help whatsoever for recovering money if a person has been exploited.
Gamcare: https://www.gamcare.org.uk/ & @GamCare National 24 Hour helpline – 0808 8020 133.
The NHS has a limited number of dedicated services if you are needing treatment.
The north of England also has a number of clinics: email firstname.lastname@example.org providing a contact number or call 0300 3001490.
There also services which enable you to block gambling online.
You can also self exclude from betting shops and land based casinos.
Betting shops: https://self-exclusion.co.uk/
Land based casinos: http://www.nationalcasinoforum.co.uk/voluntary-self-exclusion-sense/
Arcades and adult gaming centres: https://bacta.org.uk/self-exclusion/
And finally on this webpage this link takes you back to the start of J4P’s self-help guide: https://justiceforpunters.org/gambling-disorder-refunds/