With effect from 1st December 2018
Bacta ADR Service is an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service, specialising in the field of gambling disputes. Bacta ADR Service is approved by the Gambling Commission in accordance with The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.
Bacta ADR Service shall only adjudicate on Disputes when:
the Operator holds an Operating Licence from the Gambling Commission and the Dispute concerns a gambling transaction which is subject to the laws of England and Wales, or Scotland.
the Operator is registered, or becomes registered with bacta ADR Service, prior to the adjudication of the Dispute; and
the Dispute is not the subject of any Court action, unless referred to bacta ADR Service by a Court,
the Dispute has not been ruled upon previously by any other ADR entity, Regulatory Authority or Court; and
the Disputed transaction does not involve issues which are properly the concern of the Gambling Commission (or another Regulatory Authority) under the terms of an Operating Licence, or the possible breach of the terms of the Gambling Act 2005 and its subordinate legislation, or any other issue, which, in the absolute discretion of bacta ADR Service, is judged by bacta ADR Service to be of a type which is more appropriately dealt with by another Authority or a Court.
Bacta ADR Service reserves the right to refuse to adjudicate on a Dispute at any time if:
bacta ADR Service considers that the Customer and Operator have failed to make reasonable efforts to resolve the Dispute
it is considered by bacta ADR Service to be vexatious or frivolous, for example, but not limited to where:
it relates to a non-existent transaction
it is restricted to a complaint about standards of customer service
it is repetitive of previous disputes presented by the same Customer
either party to the dispute has in bacta ADR Service’s opinion made a deliberate attempt to mislead or omitted to mention material facts, or does not comply with other requirements set out in these Terms and Conditions or any agreement between bacta ADR Service and the Operator
the monetary value of the claim falls above or below any upper or lower threshold that is set out on the bacta ADR Service website or in literature
the Customer has not submitted the Dispute within 12 months from the date upon which the Operator has given notice to the Customer that it is unable to resolve the Dispute, unless bacta ADR Service considers that there have been exceptional circumstances delaying its referral
dealing with it would seriously impair the effective operation of bacta ADR Service, or
either party attempts to intimidate, threaten or exert any undue external pressure on the process
The adjudication process shall be conducted in accordance with the Registration and Adjudication Procedures, which shall be published on the website and can be posted or e-mailed to either party on request.
In all cases, the adjudication process shall be conducted wholly in the English language.
Bacta ADR Service reserves the right to share the evidence provided by either Customer or Operator with the other party, in order to allow them to respond to certain points of contention. It may decide to share only extracts of that evidence where it considers either that only a limited amount of the evidence is relevant to the Dispute, or where it considers that doing so may result in the sharing of personal data or information belonging to third parties who have not agreed to participate in the process. Both Customer and Operator are entitled to request copies of the evidence provided by the other party, which shall be provided subject to due consideration of any data protection or other regulatory or legislative restrictions that may apply to it.
Once a Dispute has been accepted by bacta ADR Service for consideration and enquiries have been completed by bacta ADR Service it will be submitted to the bacta ADR Service Panel for adjudication, subject to any further questions for either party arising from Panel members. From such point that the dispute file is deemed to have been completed, shall take no more than 90 days to issue its ruling, except in special circumstances, which shall be notified to the parties.
Bacta ADR Service shall publish, or provide any statistical information regarding Disputes to the Gambling Commission (or any subsequently nominated Competent Authority) as stipulated by The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.
Bacta ADR Service may provide any information that it holds to the Gambling Commission, at the request of, and subject to its Information Sharing Agreement with the Commission, where it considers this to be of relevance to the pursuit of the licensing objectives as set out within section 1 of the Gambling Act 2005.
Bacta ADR Service, its management, employees and contractors and agents, including all the individual Independent Review Panel Members, will have no liability to either Operator or Customer or any other party to a Dispute in relation to any ruling, any review of a ruling, or any other part of the adjudication process for any loss howsoever caused.
These Terms and Conditions are to be construed according to the law of England and Wales.
Registration of Operators
Bacta ADR Service will only consider Disputes relating to Operators who are registered with bacta ADR Service. However, Operators may be allowed to register with bacta ADR Service after the commencement of a Dispute, but registration must be complete before bacta ADR Service will commence its adjudication procedure. Registration completed after commencement of a Dispute process will be subject to the payment of a Registration Fee to be determined by bacta ADR Service.
Operators apply for registration by full completion of bacta ADR Service Gambling Operator's Registration Form' and submission of the form together with a copy of the Operator's current customer terms and conditions, trading and/or game rules to bacta ADR Service. Alterations to these documents must be notified to bacta ADR Service as soon as reasonably practical. Registration is maintained by compliance with these Terms and Conditions and payment of an annual registration fee. Bacta ADR Service may, in its absolute discretion, refuse to register an Operator.
Once bacta ADR Service has accepted an Operator's registration, bacta ADR Service will send the Operator any relevant printed material which the Operator should display in all licensed premises located within the United Kingdom and elsewhere when Operators are trading from premises to which the public have access. Bacta ADR Service will also grant the Operator the right to use the bacta ADR Service logo, and the Operator should display this on, or near, point of sale material and as a prominent part of any computer-provided services for so long as they are registered.
Referral of Disputes to bacta ADR Service
Operators must state within their terms of trading that they are registered with bacta ADR Service and the circumstances in which unresolved Disputes will be referred to bacta ADR Service. Operators must notify Customers of their right to refer Disputes to bacta ADR Service, in an impartial and informative way.
Operators must review all Disputes brought to their attention by their Customers prior to referral to bacta ADR Service. As soon as it becomes apparent to an Operator that they are unable to resolve the Dispute to the satisfaction of all parties, they should without delay invite the Customer to refer the Dispute to bacta ADR Service.
The adjudication process
When a Dispute is referred to bacta ADR Service, the Customer will be requested to make a written submission setting out all of their reasons for believing that they are entitled to their claim. The submission should include the full circumstances of the Dispute and, where relevant, reference to any relevant terms or game rules of the Operator. The Customer should also send any documents or evidence held, and an indication of any evidence relevant to the Dispute which the Customer believes that the Operator might hold.
Upon receipt of a completed claim form from a Customer, and following clarification of any queries, bacta ADR Service will require the Operator to make a full written submission to bacta ADR Service of the circumstances of the Dispute. Any submissions should be made by a senior member of the Operator’s staff, and should include details as to the primary point of contact which should be used by bacta ADR Service.
The submission should include any staff comments or actions and where possible provide supporting evidence of all factual assertions, including all relevant data stored on computer systems. Operators should refer to the relevant part of their terms or rules and say how they apply in the circumstances of the Dispute. Operators should say if they do not have a term or rule covering the circumstances of the Dispute, or if the Customer could not have been aware of the term or rule in question for whatever reason. When a Dispute has involved communication systems and/or information technology, then upon request by the Operator must submit a report into their systems that addresses the issue giving rise to the Dispute.
Bacta ADR Service reserves the right to discontinue its investigations into a Dispute at any time and without giving reasons. Without prejudice to this right bacta ADR Service will normally explain their reasons, which may include the following circumstances as illustrations:
If either party to the dispute has in bacta ADR Service's opinion misled a case handler or the Independent Review Panel members, or omitted to mention material facts, or does not comply with other requirements set out within these Terms and Conditions, or any agreement between bacta ADR Service and the Operator
Bacta ADR Service judges the submissions made to be vexatious or frivolous or in any way an abuse of the adjudication process
Information comes to light during the course of the adjudication process which satisfies bacta ADR Service that the dispute would be better considered by another Authority, in accordance with Section 2(e) of bacta ADR Service‘s Terms and Conditions
The calculated financial value of the claim falls above or below any stipulated maximum or minimum threshold advertised by bacta ADR Service, unless, in the case of dispute below an advertised minimum threshold, bacta ADR Service considers at that stage that the principle of the dispute is more significant than its monetary value
If in the view of bacta ADR Service, either party unreasonably refuses to comply with the Terms and Conditions or Registration and Adjudication Procedures.
Following receipt of submissions, bacta ADR Service may question either party and require further explanation, or the production of further evidence relating to the Dispute. This may include, but is not limited to, evidence of the circumstances in which the Operator's terms of trading and game return information were made available or drawn to the Customer's attention.
Bacta ADR Service expects Operators to make payment of any undisputed part of a gambling transaction to a Customer with whom they are in Dispute, at the earliest opportunity. Bacta ADR Service will not commence adjudication until any undisputed part of a claim has been settled. If an Operator makes a goodwill payment in respect of any Disputed claim, or part of a claim, before the bacta ADR Service adjudication procedure has commenced, then unless it is accepted in writing by the Customer as being in full settlement of his or her claim, bacta ADR Service will continue to investigate it.
Customers may request bacta ADR Service to cease adjudication of their Dispute at any time. Bacta ADR Service may then ask the Customer to sign a letter confirming their request to end the adjudication process.
Operators must use all reasonable endeavours to retain all relevant records and data relating to Disputes until after the Dispute is settled, or bacta ADR Service has issued a ruling with which the Operator has complied.
Customer – Operator communication
Operators and Customers in a Dispute which has been referred to bacta ADR Service should refrain from contacting each other and discussing the Dispute. If the Operator wishes to make an offer to the Customer to settle the Dispute after the bacta ADR Service adjudication process has commenced, it should submit details of the proposed settlement to bacta ADR Service. Bacta ADR Service will then suspend the adjudication and communicate the offer to the Customer requesting acceptance or rejection within 21 days. Bacta ADR Service will notify the Operator of the Customer's decision.
If the Customer rejects the offer, bacta ADR Service will resume the adjudication process without allowing the fact of the offer to influence its decision. If the offer is accepted, this will be treated as in full and final settlement of the Dispute and bacta ADR Service will conclude the adjudication process. If an Operator pays a goodwill payment to the Customer, other than in accordance with this procedure, then the adjudication process will continue, unless and until the Customer withdraws the claim.
The obligation to observe confidentiality
Bacta ADR Service considers gambling transactions to be confidential between the parties concerned. To this end, Operators and Customers are requested to keep the details of the Dispute and bacta ADR Service's ruling confidential and, in particular refrain from making any public comment during or after the Dispute process. Bacta ADR Service reserves the right not to adjudicate on any future Dispute brought by a party that has previously broken confidentiality without reasonable explanation. The obligation to observe confidentiality will not apply insofar as either party is required to provide information to a regulator, or in the course of legal proceedings.
As part of the adjudication process bacta ADR Service must notify Operators of the name of the complainant. Customers and their designated representatives are expected to correspond with bacta ADR Service in their true names. Bacta ADR Service may disclose facts about the nature of any Dispute and its ruling on its website, annual report or other literature, and to other Operators, but will not disclose the identity of the parties to the Dispute. Should either party seek to publicise the details of a Dispute in breach of these Terms, bacta ADR Service will ordinarily make no public comment unless otherwise agreed by any other parties to the same dispute.
Bacta ADR Service will at all times store all data and documents securely and act in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and its own Data Protection Policy. It must be understood by Operators and Customers that the nature of the adjudication process relating to disputed gambling transactions is facilitated by the maintenance of confidence. Accordingly, bacta ADR Service will maintain the confidence of submissions, save in instances where it is obliged to disclose material to its legal advisors or any relevant regulatory body, or as required by law.
Bacta ADR Service rulings
At the conclusion of bacta ADR Service's adjudication process, the bacta ADR Service Controller will issue a ruling in writing which bacta ADR Service will notify simultaneously to the Customer and Operator. Bacta ADR Service’s rulings shall be legally non-binding on the Consumer but binding on the Operator unless the value of the dispute exceeds £10,000.
The issuing of a ruling and the consideration of any related request for review (see 21) shall conclude's obligation under these Terms and Conditions to the Customer and Operator. Bacta ADR Service will not then enter into correspondence in relation to a Dispute with either party unless bacta ADR Service in its absolute discretion considers it appropriate.
Bacta ADR Service may, in its absolute discretion, undertake a review of a ruling which it has issued but then only in exceptional circumstances and provided that a request for review is received within 40 days of the notifying of the decision to the parties. The decision to review will rest solely with bacta ADR Service’s Coordinator, and will only be undertaken if there is compelling evidence to suggest that a ruling may have been wrong, for example, if it is clear that the Panel has adjudicated upon the basis of factually incorrect information or if it appears that there has been an obvious misinterpretation of the relevant rules. The parties will be informed as soon as reasonably practical of a decision to refuse a review and in the event of a review being undertaken, bacta ADR Service will notify the parties of the outcome of the review simultaneously.
The bacta ADR Service Coordinator will investigate any complaint received from a Customer or Operator against bacta ADR Service concerning the way it has handled a Dispute or the conduct of any member of bacta ADR Service 's case handlers or a member of the Independent Review Panel.
Bacta ADR Service expects Operators to act in good faith in handling Disputes with Customers both before and after any referral to bacta ADR Service. Operators must not directly or indirectly intimidate or use duress in their dealings with Customers, bacta ADR case handlers or bacta ADR Service Independent Review Panel Members. Bacta ADR Service reserves the right, in its absolute discretion, to de-register an Operator in the event of serious or persistent breaches of this term.
Bacta ADR Service may also de-register an Operator if, in its absolute discretion, bacta ADR Service decides that there has been a material breach of any of these Terms and Conditions, or of any other Agreement between bacta ADR Service and the Operator, including in particular the failure of an Operator to comply with an bacta ADR Service ruling.
In cases of de-registration, the Operator must remove the bacta ADR Service logo from all materials, documentation, computer-provided services, and any mobile platforms. The Operator must also remove from public display any material provided by bacta ADR Service, and must not claim expressly or impliedly that bacta ADR Service acts as its independent party in the adjudication of Disputes. Bacta ADR Service will notify the Gambling Commission of the de-registration of an Operator and the reasons for the de-registration and reserves the right to publish that the de-registration has taken place if it is considered in the best interest of the public to do so.
Bacta ADR Service reserves the right to refuse to investigate a Dispute, or continue with a pending adjudication process if, in its absolute discretion, it decides that a Customer or their designated representative has seriously or persistently been responsible directly or indirectly for intimidation or duress in dealings with bacta ADR Service case handlers or Independent Review Panel members, or has otherwise acted abusively or unreasonably.
By its registration the Operator accepts that these Terms and Conditions will apply to the resolution of any Dispute, and by referring a Dispute to bacta ADR Service, the Customer accepts that these Terms and Conditions will govern the handling of the Dispute.
If an Operator decides to discontinue bacta ADR Service registration it must notify bacta ADR Service in writing and give not less than one full calendar months’ notice.
Operators and Customers will be responsible for all their own costs and any expenses incurred in relation to any Disputes referred to bacta ADR Service.
Bacta ADR Service may, in its absolute discretion, make changes to these Terms and Conditions from time to time. The current version applicable at the time of receipt of the claim will govern the relevant Dispute.
Bacta ADR Service reserves the right to apply other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in order to resolve a dispute in the event that it considers that the adjudication process is inappropriate for the circumstances of the Dispute, subject to the agreement of both Customer and Operator.