The Gambling Commission’s Checklist for Licensees on Good Practice Complaints Handling
Following a review of licensee complaints policies which contained “a number of areas for improvement”, the Gambling Commission published advice and good practice tips for operators on 21 July 2022. This blog serves to summarily remind licensees of existing rules and guidance enclosed in the Gambling Commission’s update.
Player complaints: relevant themes
Research from the Gambling Commission found that 8% of players have made a complaint in the past, with an additional 4% reporting their wish to complain but failure to do so. These statistics are supplemented by qualitative data which suggests that some players refrain from pursuing complaints procedures because it is often considered a “tedious process”, with some licensees appearing “purposefully difficult to reach”.
However, it is important that players can locate policies and “raise their complaints without any barriers” to “improve outcomes” for both them and operators.
Although mentioned in the detailed leaks in July 2022, it remains to be seen whether a gambling ombudsman scheme will be introduced, as part of the Gambling Act Review, to adjudicate gambling complaints.
Checklist for good practice complaints handling
In light of this, the Gambling Commission issued the following checklist for good practice complaints handling:
- ensure your complaints process is clear and short;
- include clickable and appropriately functioning links, including a link to the complaints procedure on your homepage;
- avoid jargon/legalese and use plain English instead;
- inform players what information is required to investigate their complaint;
- include details of the 8-week time limit for either resolving the complaint or issuing a final response;
- clearly indicate whether a final decision or ‘deadlock’ has been reached;
- utilise technology (such as webforms and decision trees) to help guide consumers through the complaints process, but always provide alternative contact methods;
- ensure that your complaints procedure is accessible for all, including vulnerable people, with adjustments readily made where required;
- maintain a virtual paper trail;
- utilise consumer support tools, such as Resolver; and
- provide clear signposting to ADR providers.
The overarching theme is that licensees should design their complaints procedures in a transparent, clear and accessible manner.
We strongly encourage licensees to review their complaints procedures against the Gambling Commission’s checklist on good practice for complaints handling, making them as simple as possible, and ensuring policies are implemented.
Please get in touch with us if you require assistance in developing appropriate internal policies and/or updating your complaints procedure in line with the Gambling Commission’s checklist.