HomeInsightsGambling Commission publishes advice for licensees on improving complaints handling

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The Gambling Commission has published tips on how to handle complaints to remind licensees of existing rules and guidance. This follows a review of complaints policies that found several areas for improvement.

The Commission reviewed 34 licensee complaints policies, from a range of sectors, and looked at how accessible and easy they were to use. This work was referenced in its 2021/22 business plan to “explore how to improve how licensees deal with consumers when things go wrong”. The work will also complement the Government’s review of the Gambling Act, which includes looking at how to improve consumer redress arrangements in the gambling industry.

The review report, “Understanding consumer complaints”, highlighted that only 8% of gamblers had ever made a complaint. A further 4% reported that they wanted to make a complaint but did not proceed. The qualitative research explored some possible reasons for this, one of which was the perception that it is a tedious process, and that the licensee may be purposefully difficult to reach.

While most of the policies reviewed met the basic requirements set out in gambling licences, the review found that there were areas where improvements could be made to make the process easier and more accessible for consumers.

Good practice complaints handling: tips for licensees:

  • include a link to your complaints procedure on your homepage;
  • use plain English and avoid jargon or legalese;
  • have a short and clear process for complaints;
  • tell people what information you need to investigate their complaint;
  • include details of the eight-week time limit for resolving complaints or issuing a final response;
  • be clear when you have given a final decision or reached “deadlock”;
  • include clickable links and check that they work;
  • utilise technology, such as webforms and decision-trees, to help guide people through the complaints process but always have alternative methods of contact available;
  • be accessible to all, including vulnerable people, and make adjustments where required;
  • keep a virtual paper-trail;
  • utilise Resolver and other consumer support tools; and
  • provide clear signposting to ADR providers.

To read the Commission’s press release in full and for a link to the review report, click here.