In any industry, rules exist that govern the behaviour of all parties. It stems from a realisation that, where people are involved, disputes are inevitable. It’s not too different in the world of online casinos.
You may at some point feel like you are unfairly getting the short end of the stick. Perhaps it’s something to do with withdrawing your winnings. Or it could be a concern over whether a game is actually fair for players. Whatever the gripe you may have with an online casino in NZ, it is important that you know the avenues available to you whenever you need to file a complaint.
Identifying Valid Complaints
If online casinos, casino regulators and other relevant dispute resolution organisations in NZ were to accept every complaint players made, there would be little time for anything else. Nobody is happy losing money so this alone could be the basis for countless frivolous protestations. There has to be a separation between what constitutes a valid, addressable complaint and an invalid one.
A valid complaint is usually deemed as one that can affect the player’s experience. It may pertain to disputes involving payments, withdrawals, technical failures, unfair outcomes and any violations of terms and conditions by casino staff or management.
For example, if your winnings have not been credited to your online casino account or if you have been credited with an incorrect amount, that’s a valid complaint. If you are unable to withdraw your winnings but have satisfied all conditions, that too is a valid complaint. Another example? Suspicion that a third party has gained access to your account without authorisation.
However, if you run into problems because of a failure to read the terms and conditions, because you attempted to circumvent the rules, or as a result of bonus abuse, these are not valid complaints. If anything, this may lead to your account’s suspension or a complete ban.
Process of Filing a Complaint
If your complaint is valid, next comes the process for filing it. The more evidence you have, the better.
Capture as much data around the issue as you can. That could be in the form of screenshots, emails, live chat transcripts, account statements and system activity logs. Any record that shows the reasons why you think you have been treated unfairly should be documented. Do this as soon as you decide to file a complaint, since you cannot be certain how long the record will be available or accessible to you.
Next, file your concern directly with the online casino’s customer support department. You can usually do this through email, phone, or by lodging a ticket on the website. Consider this the first level of complaint handling. Share all the relevant details with the team and wait for feedback or resolution.
Remember to always be polite and professional, although you may feel aggrieved. Do not be vulgar, hurl personal attacks or issue threats. Limit your conversations to the facts around the case. It keeps everyone on the ball and ensures the matter is treated seriously.
If the problem is fixed by customer support, the matter ends here. If not, it’s time to escalate it to the casino’s management. Throughout this process, maintain a record of all pertinent correspondence.
In case management cannot provide a satisfactory response, it’s time to move things beyond the domain of the online casino. Contact the Department of Internal Affairs, who oversees online casinos and ensures their activities are above board.
If the Secretary of Internal Affairs does not seem to help, you can take things a step higher by approaching NZ Gambling Commission as well as the online casino’s regulator of record. This will depend on the online casino’s country of registration.
Contacting The Dispute Resolution Body
The NZ Gambling Commission and similar dispute resolution bodies arbitrate disputes between online casinos and players. To file a complaint with the NZ Gambling Commission, visit their website or send an email with the requisite details. Provide all supporting correspondence and documentation around the case.
They will evaluate your complaint first to establish if it has merit. If it does, the Commission will conduct their own investigation and establish the facts. With these findings, the Commission will first seek to bring both parties to the table and pursue an amicable settlement. In the event that the customer and casino cannot come to an agreement, the Commission will issue a verdict that is binding to all parties.
Following Up on Your Complaint
At each level of filing your complaint, there is bound to be a waiting period. It could be hours, days or weeks. Best practice is that the party you complain to will have a predefined service level agreement that states how long you can expect to wait before you hear back. How long the investigation takes will depend on the complexity of the matter.
Still, be proactive. Check on progress every so often. Stay engaged throughout the waiting period. Provide any additional material you may be asked for.
Preventing Future Issues
The complaint process can be time consuming and mentally exhausting. You may eventually get the verdict you wanted but the painstaking process is probably something you would rather do without.
Make changes to your online gambling to prevent similar issues in future. That could mean switching to a more reputable online casino licensed by a respected regulatory body. Study the terms and conditions of the online casino itself as well as individual games to know what to expect.
In summary, getting your complaint resolved to your satisfaction depends on understanding your rights as well as the right procedures for getting your grievance heard. Start off by figuring out if your complaint is valid, follow the casino’s internal process for filing complaints. Progressively escalate the issue internally and then externally until you get what you consider to be a fair resolution.
Keep an open mind and be prepared for a ruling to go against you. Disputes are tiring, so identify changes you can make to your gameplay to prevent something similar happening in future. If need be, switch to a more reputable online casino.