The ADR Regulations require only certain types of complaints to be taken to ADR. These are called ‘disputes’. The European ADR Directive states that it applies to "disputes between consumers and businesses concerning contractual obligations in sales or services contracts, both online and offline".
Complaints and disputes are defined as follows:
An expression of dissatisfaction made to the gambling business by any means, about any aspect of the way the business conducts the activities for which they hold a GB Operating Licence. For example, a complaint:
about the outcome of a gambling transaction/contract
about the way a gambling transaction has been managed
that concerns the way the licence holder carries out its business in relation to the three licensing objectives.
There is an onus on gambling businesses to take specific actions and meet certain standards when they handle gambling related complaints. This is a requirement of their gambling licence.
A dispute is a particular type of gambling-related complaint. It is a complaint about contractual obligations in sales or services contracts or about the customer’s gambling transaction (including management of the transaction and related customer accounts) that has not been resolved through the gambling business’s complaints procedure. For example, a dispute might be an unresolved complaint:
about the return to player (RPT) of a gaming machine
about a bingo player’s claim for a win unheard by the caller
Disputes are the only type of complaints that may be taken to ADR under this policy.
An expression of dissatisfaction made to the gambling business by any means about any matter that is not related to the gambling activities. Such complaints, which do not pose a risk to the licensing objectives, do not fall under the scope of this policy. For example, a complaint about the:
quality of food available on the premises
range of products offered in the premises or online
dress code of a member of staff.
Non-gambling complaints, although important to consumers and to businesses, do not link to the requirements of the gambling licence. Businesses are therefore expected to decide for themselves how they should resolve such complaints.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether a complaint is gambling-related. For example, a complaint about poor customer service may not appear to be gambling-related. However, it might be gambling-related if the poor service makes it difficult or impossible for the consumer to promptly raise concerns or make a complaint about a contractual matter. Where the type of complaint is unclear, it is generally better to at least initially treat it as a gambling-related complaint.