Frequently asked Questions for Gamblers

Q. HOW CAN I BE CONFIDENT THAT THE ADR PROCESS IS CONDUCTED FAIRLY?

The Gambling Commission is the industry regulator in GB and has been granted status as an ‘ADR Competent Authority’. Having assessed bacta ADR Service to be an impartial and independent entity amongst other criteria, the Commission has authorised Bacta ADR Service to handle ADR cases.

Q. IF YOU FIND IN MY FAVOUR CAN YOU GUARANTEE THAT I WILL GET PAID?

Companies registered with Bacta ADR Service agree to comply with our adjudications and in almost all cases there will be no problems. Where a ruling has been delivered in your favour but you encounter difficulty getting paid then please contact us without undue delay and we will make representation with the company on your behalf. We reserve the right to remove a company from our register that refuses to comply with a ruling by bacta ADR Service - unless they have lodged a successful appeal or had the ruling overturned in court) but we have no legal powers to force a company to make a payment.

Q. CAN I APPEAL AGAINST YOUR RULING?

If you strongly consider that our ruling is unreasonable, we can take your case to appeal using our Independent Review Panel, but only in the following circumstances:

  • you must appeal within 40 days of receiving your ruling,
  • there has to be some factual mistake or error in the ruling, or
  • you require to present additional evidence that was not made available when we first considered the case.

We do not consider carrying out a review of a ruling just because the recipient is unhappy with the outcome; that goes for operators and consumers alike. In every dispute there are two sides who believe that they are in the right. We have to accept that with every ruling we make, one of the two parties will be unhappy with the result.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES YOUR SERVICE COST?

Bacta ADR Service offers adjudication free of charge to consumers in line with the law governing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services.

Q. CAN THE GAMBLING COMMISSION HELP ME TO GET MY MONEY BACK?

The Gambling Commission will not assist you in obtaining a refund of stakes. The Commission has instead ensured that operators offer an effective and fair-minded ADR procedure.

Q. DOES BACTA ADR SERVICE ADJUDICATE ON ALL GAMBLING STYLES?

No, Bacta ADR service is only authorised to adjudicate on disputes arising from gambling within adult gaming centres, licensed family entertainment centres, bingo premises, pubs and members’ clubs.

Q. ARE THERE ALTERNATIVE ADR PROVIDERS I CAN USE?

Yes. Other authorised ADR entities are listed both on the Gambling Commission’s website and here on our ‘Alternative ADR Entities’ page.

Q. I PLAYED THE SAME £500 JACKPOT MACHINE FOR MANY HOURS WITHOUT IT PAYING OUT AND SUSPECT IT IS RIGGED. CAN I GET MY MONEY BACK?

Many gaming machine players complain about the fairness of the machine they have played, stating what they have lost but not mentioning the occasional small wins paid out.

It should be noted that there are marked differences between machines powered by random number generators (RNGs) and the more traditional compensator technology.

RNG-powered gaming machines generate prizes in a significantly different way to ‘pub-style’ fruit machines some players are more familiar with. In traditional compensator machines, a machine would only take so much stake money before paying out a prize. It became possible to estimate when a machine was due to pay out simply by monitoring the amount of money that had been put in and paid out.

As a result, some people playing RNG-powered B3 slot machines continue playing through a bad run in misguided expectation, as much as hope, that a big win must be around the corner.

Gaming machines using RNG technology make a large cash win just as likely in the spin following another big win as it does at any other time. This means that longer winning and losing streaks are highly possible, even though both types of machines will pay out the same proportion of their total stakes over the course of time.

Q. HOW OFTEN DO YOU CONTACT ME DURING THE ADR PROCESS?

We will acknowledge receipt of your initial contact within 5 working days and, once bacta ADR Service has received all the documents that make up the complete complaint file, will provide an update on how your case is progressing at the end of each 30-day period that the dispute is ongoing. Bacta ADR Service will endeavour to ensure that communication is tailored to the needs of individuals as far as possible, for example, whether they need additional support or alternative means to contact us.

Bacta ADR Service will endeavour to ensure that communication is tailored to the needs of individuals as far as possible, for example, whether they need additional support or alternative means to contact us.

Q. WHY IS A BINGO CLUB REFUSING TO PAY MY WINNING PRIZE?

Many bingo disputes result from players not having their call heard before the next number is drawn. The general rules of bingo state that failing to make an audible call before the next number is drawn and announced invalidates the claim.

Most bingo disputes rely on the statements made by the player and the staff members on duty at the time. Some bingo clubs have recording equipment in place that may be able to supply evidence of whether a call has been made but missed by club employees.

It is relatively difficult for bacta ADR Service to uphold a customer dispute where players are adamant that they have made a claim which has not been heard, however many witnesses are willing to support the customer’s testimony. The rules of the game make the player responsible for attracting the attention of bingo hall staff and we concur that this approach is a reasonable one, particularly as the bingo club itself will still have to pay the prize to another player. If the staff on duty did not hear a call at the time, it is hard to prove subsequently that they should have heard it.

We strongly encourage bingo players to take whatever measures they consider necessary to attract the attention of the caller when making a claim. If players have concerns that their voice may not be loud enough to always be heard, they should consider additional measures such as arranging for another player to sit nearby and call for you, or find another way of attracting the attention of a spotter.

If you believe that someone responsible for listening for calls has been negligent in their duty, use your statement to bacta ADR Service to set out exactly why.

Frequently asked Questions for Gambling Operators

Q: ARE BACTA ADR SERVICE ADJUDICATIONS BINDING ON LICENSED GAMBLING OPERATORS?

We follow Gambling Commission guidance on this issue. Their current advice can be read at: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/ADR-Blog/ADR-FAQs.aspx. The Commission expects gambling operators to offer ADR which is binding on the operator (if accepted by the consumer) for disputes which would otherwise be taken to the small claims court (currently disputes of not more than £10,000). For disputes over £10,000, the ADR procedure need not be binding - this would allow for example that mediation could be employed for disputes of more than £10,000 or for adjudication decisions to be non-binding on the operator.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO REGISTER WITH BACTA ADR SERVICE?

We have a range of annual registration fees depending on the nature of the business. Details of current fees are displayed on the ‘Company Registration Fees' page.

Q: WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO BECOME AND REMAIN REGISTERED WITH BACTA ADR SERVICE?

You will need to:

  • Complete the ‘Company Registration Form’ on this page

  • Review and agree to act in accordance with our Terms and Conditions

  • Supply us with a copy of your current Terms and Conditions (Ts & Cs) and agree to inform us on every occasion when your Ts & Cs are amended or updated

  • Provide Bacta ADR Service with a designated point of contact for discussing your customers’ disputes. This person ought to hold a position of suitable authority to enable them to be aware of all issues that might be connected to a dispute and to show.

  • Agree to provide Bacta ADR Service with timely responses to any questions regarding your customer’s disputes, ideally within 7 days and never in any more than 28 days except in special circumstances.

Q: FOR HOW LONG IS BACTA ADR SERVICE GUARANTEED TO REMAIN AN APPROVED ADR BODY?

No ADR service can guarantee its authorisation by the Gambling Commission, but the scheme adopted by the Commission sees ADR bodies register for one full calendar year at a time, from 1st October in any year to 30th September in the next. Bacta ADR Service was approved by the Gambling Commission to adjudicate on gambling disputes as of 1st October 2015 and we have remained on the approved list since then.

Q: HOW DOES BACTA ADR SERVICE ASSESS WHETHER OUR COMPANY’S RULES AND TERMS ARE UNFAIR?

Bacta ADR Service may take legal advice on certain issues, but also relies heavily on information published by organisations such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), often for the benefit of businesses. For example, the CMA Unfair Contract Terms Guidance booklet is a useful guide for both operators and our listed officials: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/450440/Unfair_Terms_Main_Guidance.pdf

We will also consider any requirements of LCCP and – from an advertising perspective – the rules set out by the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP).