cyber gamblingHave you ever been cheated or received bad service at an online casino or sportsbook? If so, what did you do about it? I touched upon this a bit in last week’s tip; there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle the situation. The first thing you have to remember is that it’s not K-Mart or Jiffy Lube or McDonalds; operators of gambling services–especially those on the Internet–generally aren’t huge supporters of the “the customer’s always right” philosophy, so getting in their faces will do nothing but hurt your chances of a favorable resolution. There are no pubescent assistant managers who can be scared into giving you your money!

As you should with any complaint, regardless of whether its little Billy the Wal-Mart clerk or Big Tony the bookie, your initial reaction should be to find a diplomatic, unthreatening way to ask, “Just what the hell is going on?!” Instead of treating it like someone’s out to rip you off, treat it like it’s a misunderstanding–which it might indeed be. Also keep in mind that, if your problem is service-oriented (for example, not getting paid), you’ve got to practice a little patience. In another recent article I touched upon the fact that customer service among online gambling sites is lacking and that often the site operators aren’t in much of a rush to do anything (including fix your problem.)

But what’s the next step once you determine that you’re legitimately getting jerked around? If you’re told take a hike or told several times that the problem will be rectified without any results, then it’s time to take your complaint elsewhere. Hopefully if you run into a problem, the site belongs to a third-party dispute resolution association. In such a case, you need to formally file a complaint using whatever procedure is outlined by the third-party group. At this point, it’s in their hands and you’ve got to wait it out.

Quite honestly, if the third-party group cannot help you (either because you’re wrong or because the third-party group simply isn’t the wonderful players’ advocate that it advertises itself to be), then it’s highly doubtful that you’ll get your money. Most players in disputes with online gambling sites that aren’t government-licensed and/or don’t belong to third-party dispute resolution associations as well as players who’ve been wronged even after going to third-party dispute resolution groups cut their losses at this point. But there is a last resort–one that I won’t recommend nor condemn–and that’s taking your fight to the streets.

In other words, let it be known loudly and often that you’ve been screwed and use forums and portals and e-zines to make your voice heard. Remember though that strength comes with numbers and that if your situation is an isolated one, you probably won’t be able to make much noise. Finally, following are a few pointers for when push comes to shove: If you’ve got a legitimate beef, let yourself be heard, but don’t waste your fellow players’ time with frivolous crusades.

Don’t start raising hell until you’re absolutely sure you won’t get your money. It might come as a surprise, but service providers tend to sour on people who do things to that could hurt their business.

Keep in mind that Internet gambling, for the most part, isn’t regulated very well at this point, so if an online casino or sportsbook decides not to pay you, regardless of the consequences, there’s not much you can do about it. Hopefully you realized this before you signed up to play.
Try in your crusade to come off us a reasonable, intelligent human being. Grammatically challenged people who handle adversity by spraying insults, threats and vulgarities at their nemeses, for obvious reasons, usually aren’t taken very seriously.