Do You Know Your Rights at an Online Casino?
Online Betting is becoming increasingly popular in the UK with the number of online operators exploding. This expansion is being fulled by the number of people in the UK who enjoy online gambling. As without customers, these operators would not exist. A UKGC Study revealed that 48% approx of participants have gambled in the past week. Furthermore, 17% of those people gambled online making it a profitable venture for casinos. In 2017-18 online betting accounted for around £4.7 billion pounds out of the gross annual gaming yield of £14 billion. Not exactly what you would call pocket change.
So who do online casinos and sportsbooks have to thank for their revenues? That’s right you guessed it the players. Without people betting on football, Ascot, and casino games, online operators wouldn’t be profitable. But when it comes to protecting and looking out for their players how well do operators stack up? More importantly, when things do go wrong, do players know what their rights are?
Luckily, In the UK the official gambling watchdog is UKGC (The United Kingdom Gambling Commission). It is their job to oversee license applications, provide guidelines for operators and players, and to also act in an advisory capacity. In their own words ” We license and regulate the people and businesses that provide gambling in Great Britain including the National Lottery.” – UKGC website. Besides, the UKGC there are also several consumer laws that act as safeguards. For example the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Transparent terms & conditions
One of the main aims of this act is to stop online casinos from using confusing contractual wording. Basically, it ensures that all terms are laid out clearly and are transparent. So when a player signs up or accepts a casino bonus they can understand the terms and conditions. Leaving no room for shady operators to scam players. Players should always check the “fine print” on any terms and conditions applied to sign-ups or bonuses at an online casino
How can players be sure that the results of online slot games or blackjack are fair? Well, online casinos are obliged to use what’s known as ‘random number generator’s'( RNGS). Additional third-party testing is also used. Groups such as Ecogra and iTechlabs will test online casino software for fairness. If an online casino’s software passes their testing they will be awarded a ‘fair badge’. This can be used on the online casino’s website to show players that the online casino operates fairly. Operators who fail this testing are reported to the respective licensing authority.
Nowadays people share a lot of personal information on the internet. Online casino players are no different. In order to sign up and deposit personal and banking information must be forwarded and validated. So how do online casinos protect their user’s data?
When it comes to personal information, that’s where GDPR comes in. Online operators must disclose what information they are holding and why. This information must also be protected with a certain standard of security software. Should a player close down their account, they also have the right to request their information is erased.
Whether a player is depositing or withdrawing money, their transactions need to be protected. To ensure players banking details are safe many online casinos use Secure Sockets Layer encryption. (SSL) SSL encrypts transactions so they are less vulnerable to hackers and other cybercriminals.
Thanks to the UKGC all operators are obliged to encourage players to gamble responsibly. Online measures to support responsible gambling include reality checks, self-exclusion, cooling-off periods and setting limits. The online casino should be able to advise players on how to set up any of these responsible gambling measures.
When a player has a dispute or a complaint, there are a number of steps they can take. Speaking to customer service is usually the first port of call. From here players can lodge a complaint and follow the operator’s grievance procedure. Following the outcome, if a player is still unhappy they can turn to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Players can also consider using a compliant tool like resolver.