Online gambling is now an increasingly popular way for people to spend their leisure time. The online gambling industry is booming, with current annual revenue estimated at almost £40bn. Most players enjoy their experience with no problems, but some may have reason to complain. Maybe they signed up with an unscrupulous casino that is not running fair games, or the casino they are with is refusing to pay out winnings.
When this happens, it may be necessary to consider taking legal action against the online casino. As with any kind of legal action, this is not a decision to take lightly and requires careful consideration beforehand.
Here are the steps to take:
Step 1: Contact the online casino first
The best way to begin is to contact the online casino to talk the issue through. Players should begin with the customer service team but should be prepared to speak to the senior management if they do not get any satisfaction with customer service. With so many online casinos around, the competition for players is fierce, as is the desire to protect their reputations.
This competition acts in the players’ favour, as the online casino should be willing to try to resolve the issue informally if the players have a solid case. Legal action can be time-consuming, costly and with no guarantee of the outcome, so trying to resolve the problem directly with the online casino is always the best place to begin.
Step 2: Contact a specialist lawyer
So, what do players do if they have spoken with the online casino and not gotten the answers they wanted? Or, what happens if the players simply can’t contact anyone at the online casino or the casino has simply disappeared? The next step is to contact a lawyer to begin the process of formal legal action against the casino.
When it comes to taking legal action in this way, the onus is on the players to prove their claims. Therefore, players should have the relevant evidence in writing to submit to the lawyer when they contact them. This evidence will allow the lawyer to build a solid case against the online casino that will stand up in court.
One key thing to know about here is that the online casino may operate outside of the players’ own country. This is one key difference when taking legal action against them compared to a physical casino in the players’ own country. The claim will usually be made and heard in the country that regulates the online casino. In many cases, the online casino could be based in Malta or Curaçao. Of course, this does not stop players from taking legal action but can make it harder and more expensive, as players may need to hire a lawyer based in the other country.
Step 3: Consider a settlement
Once the players’ lawyer has agreed that the players have a reasonable claim and will act on their behalf, the lawyer will normally make formal contact with the online casino. This contact will lay out the players’ complaints and give the online casino the chance to respond in turn.
One common outcome of this procedure is that the online casino may agree to make a settlement outside of the courtroom. While this may not give the players the full recompense they were hoping for, it should be considered carefully. When players factor in the stress of court action, the time involved and the cost, they may feel that the settlement offer is the better choice than continuing to press their claim.
Step 4: Go to court
If players feel the settlement offer is not enough, they don’t receive one or simply wish to go to court, that is the next step. As mentioned previously, this court may be in a foreign country if the online casino is based or regulated there. Players usually wouldn’t need to attend in person except in cases where they need to give evidence in person.
Normally, their lawyers would represent them in court and make the case against the casino operator. Once all the evidence from both sides has been heard, the judge would give his verdict. Naturally, if the players win, they would receive the desired outcome but if they lost, they may be liable for the online casino’s legal fees as well as paying their own.
Taking legal action against an online casino will involve both a financial and personal cost to the players. However, sometimes it is unavoidable if the online casino has cheated them or behaved in an otherwise despicable way. Hopefully, the above advice from the Casino Veteran should guide players along the way if need be.