We know from our own review pages that the majority of poor ratings given to bingo and slots sites relate to issues encountered when winning players try to withdraw their money. It comes as no surprise that a large number of them take their complaint all the way up to the UK Gambling Commission.
Lucy Denton, the Director of Communications for the UKGC has been explaining on the UKGC site about the Contact Centre and revealed that in excess of 6,000 calls are received each year from unhappy players and prospective licencees.
The numbers are huge
One of the most interesting statistics revealed that a massive 99% of withdrawal requests made to the biggest gambling brands were completed within 24 to 48 hours, with many in just a couple of hours. However, as Lucy pointed out, that remaining one per cent is a significant number of delays when applied to the 20 million people that like to gamble in any four-week period – 200,000 in fact.
The Commission is fully aware of the many valid reasons why firms may have to delay paying out, such as if a player’s debit card has expired or because of specific bank processes. They must also be seen to be ensuring they know they are not dealing with proceeds of crime and being used for money laundering, so certain checks are inevitable.
Identity first or after?
The UKGC has found that firms asking for ID before a withdrawal is a cause of friction and while the rulebook says operators must treat customers fairly, it is a fine line between upsetting a customer at the acquisition stage by asking for loads of ID and proof of address and risking them being upset further down the line after they have deposited and played and lost or won.
Even in our own experience here at WhichBingo we have backed out of playing for real at a site when documents are requested before a deposit will be accepted. We know this is a policy not liked by many people – starting to play is expected to be frictionless. However, we then also complain that we can’t get at our winnings quickly enough when ID is asked for at the point of first withdrawal.
The operators just can’t win it seems.
All the UKGC requires is for firms not to place problems in the way of withdrawing that could have been handled earlier – so they want the terms and conditions to be fair, open and transparent. To us, this means that firms need to find the quickest and simplest process for people to get their ID to them on opening accounts – maybe before a 2nd deposit, having sent the requirements immediately upon the first – and maybe getting a human to look at them who can exhibit some common sense and not a robot!
So, credit to the Gambling Commission for realising at last that there is a problem and maybe help weed out the companies that still do take too long to get things sorted.