What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
CasinoReviews functions as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service for some complaints and manages others in an informal manner. Why? What does that mean?
What is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service?
An Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service is an impartial third party that seeks to provide consumers an affordable alternative to legal action where they have a complaint against a trader, whether within their own country or across borders. An ADR is generally approved by the regulatory body that issues the operator’s license and can provide legally binding rulings on disputes.
ADR vs Informal Complaint Management: What’s the Difference?
If you have been an online gambler for a while, chances are you are familiar with several services offering to mediate disputes between players/bettors and online gambling operators. There are two basic ‘types’ of service helping players with complaints: informal complaint management services and ADR services. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between them.
Informal Gambling Complaint Management Services
Informal services do NOT have any legal authority to compel gambling operators to accept any verdict they reach on any given complaint. They rely on the operator desiring the traffic they can send enough to treat players fairly. This is true of CasinoReviews whenever we are managing complaints outside of our ADR remit.
Formal ADR Services
ADR services are a far more formal affair. They serve as an alternative to the small claims court systems and are officially appointed under one of a number of licensing systems. Within those systems, gambling operators are required by their license to engage with an ADR when a player dispute arises. In turn, ADRs can, where they have appropriate agreements in place, issue rulings on disputes that are legally binding in nature. This means that the operator has to comply with the ruling given or they may potentially face legal sanction.
What Sets CasinoReviews Apart From Other Casino Complaint Services?
CasinoReviews is the only affiliate complaint service that can act as a formal ADR for the online gambling industry.
Think of CasinoReviews as a site that houses both the expertise to recommend the best online casinos on the market AND the legally enforceable authority to protect those who play there.
This means that whereas other online casino affiliates may offer online casino reviews while managing players’ complaints, unlike CasinoReviews, they do not have the formal ADR authority to issue legally binding rulings against any online gambling site. Meanwhile, CasinoReviews manages formal complaints against the MGA licensees that engage our ADR service, and all other complaints we manage informally.
In other words, we provide legally binding rulings for those operators that use our ADR service for their MGA license, and non-binding rulings in all other claims. If you have a complaint against an MGA licensed casino that engages our ADR services, our Dispute Resolution Team has the same ADR authority to manage your claim as all official trusted ADRs (e.g.: IBAS, eCOGRA, MADRE, Pardee Consulta).
What Does This Mean for Consumers Who Gamble Online?
For players/bettors who submit a complaint against an MGA licensed gambling site that engages our ADR services, this means that if the case is resolved in the player’s favour, then the operator is legally bound to pay out the settlement outlined in the final ruling.
When CasinoReviews acts within its capacity as ADR for gambling sites license by the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA), the guideline for legally building rulings is as follows:
€5000 or less - the ruling is legally binding by default
€5000.01 or more - whether the ruling is legally binding is case-dependent
For complaints against operators who do not contract our ADR services, we can still manage these complaints in an informal manner. In the case of informal complaint cases, this means that final rulings found in the complainants favour are not legally enforceable and whether the settlement is paid out rests entirely on the goodwill of the operator. Here, it is worth noting that while some operators don’t comply, many reputable operators do indeed pay out, since it is in their interest to maintain a good track record with their clients.
How CasinoReviews Manages the Content of Complaints
Apart from the difference between formal and informal services, it’s also important for players to know how the content of a complaint is managed all the way from the submission stage to the final ruling.
Our Content Management Policy for Complaints
The internal policies for managing the content of casino complaints may differ depending on the site. ADRs by and large will manage complaints completely behind closed doors (i.e.: private communication chains between the player, the ADR and the operator). CasinoReviews takes this approach to complaint management both when managing complaints formally as an ADR and informally outside of our ADR remit.
Why Don’t You Manage Complaints on a Public Platform?
At CasinoReviews we are committed to prioritizing fairness and transparency while protecting your privacy at all times. For this reason, our dispute team aims to manage complaints in private whenever possible for the duration of the dispute.
The final outcome of every complaint is published in our complaints archive, where the name of the operator is made public, whereas the personal details of the complainant are redacted. This balanced approach allows us to maintain a healthy and cooperative relationship with gambling operators as we investigate your complaint, while supplying an impartial public track record of an operator’s reputation with players.
To understand the difference between the way CasinoReviews handles the content of informal and formal complaints, please see the table below. If you have other questions about how we manage complaints, please read the FAQs at the bottom of this page and visit our dedicated FAQ page for a comprehensive overview of common questions.
For complaints managed under our ADR remit that are for the value of €5000 or less, our rulings are considered legally binding.
For complaints managed under our ADR remit that are for the value of €5000.01 or more, rulings are only considered legally binding if the trader agrees in advance of discussion of the complaint to view the ruling as legally binding.
For complaints managed outside of our ADR remit, rulings are non-binding in nature.
Officially we can only act as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service for operators holding a Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) license who have agreed to use our service to meet their license requirements. To know whether we act as an ADR for the online casino you want to submit a complaint about, you can check the specific casino’s Terms and Conditions page.
Outside of our official role as an ADR for MGA licensed operators who have opted to engage with our service, we are happy to mediate complaints against any operator. This is done outside of our official role. Please note: Unless an MGA licensed operator has specifically agreed to utilise our ADR service, any complaint we manage against them will be managed in an unofficial capacity.