How to make a complaint against a bookmaker

How to make a complaint against a bookmaker

With a bit of luck, you'll never have to make a complaint against a bookmaker or casino but in case you do, we have put together this guide to let you know the process and steps you should take to handle it properly.

common reasons for complaints

There are a number of reasons why you may disagree with a betting site with some of the most common reasons listed below.

The betting site won't pay you your winnings

Although you shouldn't expect this to happen often, there have been a number of reported cases of betting sites not allowing players to withdraw their funds. The reason for this could be one of a number of things.

Up until May 2019, operators didn't have to verify your identity before you were allowed to deposit and wager. This resulted in many players having their funds withheld until verification documents had been submitted and identities confirmed. However, all betting sites now have to confirm players' identities prior to opening an account and so this issue should not occur now.

The main reason bookmakers or casinos may deny your withdrawal is if you have breached their terms and conditions. T&C's are usually very long and generally not very easy to follow and so it's easy to play a bonus or free bet in a way that goes against the T&C's. That is why it is essential that you read and understand the terms prior to depositing or wagering any of your own money. For example, you may hit a big win whilst playing a bonus using £10 stakes. However, if the maximum stakes for that bonus are £5, the casino may deem this a breach of terms.

Your account is closed

If you have had your account closed then the betting site should be able to tell you the reason why. It's generally up to them to decide whether or not they want you to have an account with them but if you have funds in your account when it was closed, you are entitled to them providing you have been acting lawfully and within their terms.

A bonus, free bet or promotion has not been actioned

There is usually an explanation for not receiving a free bet or a bonus. Some betting sites simply need chasing up which can be done via live chat or email and in other cases it may be that you have been 'gubbed'. Betting sites usually let you know if you have been gubbed via email but occasionally, they may do a 'silent gubbing'. If this is the case, it's not usually a complaint to take too far as it's unlikely that you'll get anywhere. Simply move on and put it down as an experience.

Gubbed - When you are ineligible to participate in promotions or receive free bets & bonuses. Gubbings may apply to one section of the betting site ie. sports or casino, or site-wide.

steps to making a complaint

It can be frustrating and annoying if you are in a dispute with a betting site and it's important to not let emotions get the better of you. There are recommended steps to take to resolve your dispute which are listed below in order of action.

1. Make sure your dispute is valid

The first thing that you need to do is make sure that the bookmaker or casino has acted wrongly. It can be frustrating if you haven't received a free bet but if you received a gubbing email prior to placing the bet and didn't read it, unfortunately there is nothing you can do. Check that you adhered to the T&C's of the betting site or the promotion and that you have a valid case.

2. Direct contact

If you have determined that you have a valid argument then the first step is to contact the betting site directly. In many cases, disputes are resolved simply by discussing with a live chat support agent or by contacting the operator via email. 

Always be polite when raising your concerns and put your point across clearly and professionally.

3. Escalate your dispute with an ADR

If you are unable to resolve the dispute directly then you may wish to open a case with an 'Alternate Dispute Resolution' (ADR). These are third-party organisations which act as the middleman between the player and the operator. The most well-known ADR's are IBAS and eCORGRA.

Opening a case with these organisations is free but they do require you to attempt to resolve the dispute directly with the betting site first.


Disputes are never a pleasant experience but thankfully, there is help if you need it. First, try to resolve the dispute yourself directly with the operator. If you are unable to come to a resolution then consider opening a case with an ADA such as the ones mentioned above. The process can be very long but if you believe you have a valid case then it may be worth it.