Published on: 2023-05-19
The online gambling industry has grown significantly over the past decade, and with this growth comes a rise in the number of disputes between players and operators. These disputes can range from issues with payouts, bonuses, and account verification to more complex issues such as fraud and collusion. To resolve these disputes, the industry has turned to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods as a way to resolve disputes between players and operators outside of the traditional court system.
ADR provides a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve disputes without the need for lengthy and expensive litigation. In this article, we will discuss the different ADR methods used in the online gambling industry, the benefits and challenges associated with ADR, and eCOGRA’s ADR services.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a process that is used to resolve disputes between parties without having to go through the court system. The goal of ADR is to find a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute through the use of mediation, negotiation, or arbitration. The process is typically faster and less expensive than traditional litigation, making it an attractive option for both businesses and individuals.
Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
There are three main types of alternative dispute resolution: mediation, negotiation, and arbitration.
This is a form of ADR that involves a neutral third party, the mediator, who works with the parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute. The mediator is not a decision-maker and does not have the power to impose a solution on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties to communicate effectively and explore possible solutions to their dispute.
Mediation is often used in situations where the parties want to maintain a relationship with one another, such as in disputes between players and operators. Mediation can help to preserve the relationship between the player and the operator by allowing them to work together to resolve their dispute.
A process where the parties attempt to reach a resolution on their own, without the assistance of a third party. This process can be informal or formal and can take place before or after the dispute has escalated.
This is a form of ADR that involves a neutral third party, the arbitrator, who hears evidence from both parties and makes a decision on the dispute. The arbitrator’s decision is binding and cannot be appealed, except in limited circumstances.
Arbitration is often used in situations where the parties do not want to maintain a relationship with one another. Arbitration can provide a more formal and structured process for resolving disputes than mediation. The decision of the arbitrator is final and binding, which can provide closure for the parties involved.
ADR in the Online Gambling Industry
In the online gambling industry, ADR is used to resolve disputes between players and online gambling operators. Disputes can arise in a variety of areas, including player accounts, bonus terms and conditions, and game fairness. ADR is particularly valuable in the online gambling industry because it allows disputes to be resolved quickly and efficiently, without the need for traditional court proceedings.
The use of ADR in the online gambling industry is often required by regulatory bodies. For example, the UK Gambling Commission requires all online gambling operators to have a dispute resolution process in place. This process must be fair, transparent, and accessible to players.
Challenges Associated with ADR in the Online Gambling Industry
There are also some challenges associated with ADR in the online gambling industry. One challenge is ensuring that the ADR provider is neutral and impartial. The ADR provider should have no connection to either the player or the operator to ensure that the resolution is fair and unbiased.
Another challenge is ensuring that the ADR process is transparent. It is important for both the player and the operator to understand the ADR process and the decision-making criteria. This can help to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the outcome of the ADR process.
Benefits of ADR in the Online Gambling Industry
There are several benefits to using ADR in the online gambling industry:
- Cost-effective: One of the main benefits of ADR is that it provides a cost-effective way to resolve disputes. Litigation can be expensive and time-consuming, especially for smaller disputes. ADR provides a way to resolve disputes without the need for lengthy and expensive litigation.
- Time-efficient: Another benefit of ADR is that it provides an efficient way to resolve disputes. Litigation can take months or even years to resolve, depending on the complexity of the dispute. ADR can provide a quicker resolution to disputes, which can help to reduce the impact of the dispute on the parties involved.
- Fair and Impartial: ADR provides a way to resolve disputes in a fair and impartial manner. ADR providers are often experienced in the online gambling industry and are able to provide a neutral perspective on disputes. This can help to ensure that disputes are resolved in a way that is fair to both parties.
- Confidentiality: ADR is typically more confidential than traditional litigation, which can be important for businesses and individuals who value privacy.
- Improved relationships: Mediation, in particular, can help to preserve the relationship between the player and the operator by allowing them to work together to resolve their dispute. This can be especially important in the online gambling industry, where a good relationship between the player and the operator ensures a better experience for both.
eCOGRA Alternative Dispute Resolution Service
The eCOGRA Alternative Dispute Resolution Service is an impartial mediation service, specialising in the field of online gambling disputes. eCOGRA is approved by the Great Britain Gambling Commission in accordance with The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 and by the MCCAA as an ADR service provider in Malta.
When a dispute is logged through the eCOGRA Dispute Form, the mediator (eCOGRA) assists both parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. The mediator does not make a decision or impose a solution on the parties, but rather facilitates the discussion and negotiation process between them.
The mediator helps the parties to identify the issues in dispute, clarify their respective positions and interests, and explore possible solutions to the problem. Mediation is a voluntary process, and the parties must agree to participate in the process in good faith.
eCOGRA’s ADR Mediation Service has several advantages over traditional litigation. It is typically faster and less expensive than going to court, and it allows the parties to maintain greater control over the outcome of their dispute. Mediation is also a confidential process, which can be important in the online gambling industry where privacy and confidentiality are paramount.
eCOGRA is completely transparent and impartial throughout the process and in the UK the Great Britain Gambling Commission publishes and Annual Alternative Dispute Resolution Report, detailing statistics from that year, including Dispute Volumes, Status, Types of Dispute and Average Resolution Time. These can be found on the eCOGRA website here: https://ecogra.org/alternative-dispute-resolution/
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a valuable tool for resolving disputes in the online gambling industry. It is cost-effective, time-efficient, fair and impartial, and confidential, making it an attractive option for both parties involved. The use of ADR is often required by regulatory bodies, and it can help to preserve relationships between the parties involved. As the online gambling industry continues to grow, the use of ADR is likely to become even more important in resolving disputes and ensuring a fair and transparent gaming experience for players.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of disputes can be resolved through ADR in the online gambling industry?
Disputes can range from issues with payouts, deposits and withdrawals, bonuses, game fairness, results and account verification to more complex issues such as fraud and collusion.
- Who can use ADR services in the online gambling industry?
eCOGRA provides ADR services to players logging disputes with our eGAP Safe and Fair Seal holders and sites that have engaged our services.
- What are the costs associated with using ADR in the online gambling industry?
eCOGRA’s ADR services are provided free of charge to players.
- How long does the ADR process typically take in the online gambling industry?
eCOGRA have a turn-around time of 90 days for standard cases.
Once a consumer logs a dispute via the online portal they receive an automatic message to let them know that their dispute has been received. The case is then logged to the relevant operator at which point they are allowed 10 days to respond. Once feedback has been received from the operator, a case file is compiled which contains all findings and this is typically done within 7 days of receiving the response back from the operator.
The entire process can take up to 90 days due to complicated cases which require more back and forth or additional information requests. However approximately 90% of cases are resolved within 3-4 weeks of receiving them.
- What happens if a resolution cannot be reached through ADR?
The consumer is referred take up the case in a court of competent jurisdiction.