What can you do if an online casino refuses to pay?

First and foremost, we recommend the sites listed on a our webpage as “Top Sites” because they are quality gaming sites and because they are well established, well respected and trustworthy. We highly recommend that you stick to these sites.

If you wish to explore the world of online gaming websites on your own, this is perfectly understandable. It’s a very big and exciting online world, with lots of games to be played and lots of money to be made, and finding a little known site can often be exhilarating and satisfying.

Have a look at our Frequently Asked Question link “Your money and online pokies”. You will see that we make some recommendations for finding out if an online gaming site is reputable. Here is what we recommend:
Do some online research for yourself about the company or the website asking you for your credit card details. Large, well known online casinos are going to be very security conscious, as they want people to feel secure and to come back. Likewise, small unknown casinos might just appear for a few days or a week, and then disappear again with everyone’s money. It will be pretty easy to find information on the larger, reputable casinos by simply doing a Google search. If you can’t find anything about the gaming site you’ve found and wish to play on, it’s probably a good idea to avoid it just to be certain. Obviously if there’s a bad review, definitely avoid it.

Another good tip to find if there’s been any dodgy activity is to do a search with the name of the company along with words like “fraud” or “scam” – this will turn up any articles that other people might have written to help people avoid the scams they were victimised by.

Also, make sure that the company takes all the security measures necessary for safe online transactions. This will be easy to find as reputable and trustworthy sites want to reassure consumers and will make this information easy to find and verify. Just click on the “security” link, or similar. If the website doesn’t have this information accessible, this is a good warning sign not to spend your money there.

Okay, so now maybe you’ve ignored these warnings or you just didn’t see this information before. Or maybe you’ve been as careful and as diligent as possible, done all your research and found a great place to gamble online and still something’s gone bad. You’ve registered and played with an online gaming site and won, and now you’re waiting for your money to be paid out it’s not happening. What can you do?

Well, the first step is to get all your documentation together. This includes all your registration materials, the details of the particular games and wins in question, and any other relevant documents. Make copies of these documents. In fact, make a number of copies. Many casinos should accept fax documents, in which case the copies will be unnecessary, but they might request that documents be mailed to them.  If they do make this request, under no circumstances send them original documents. It is very important that you keep hold of all original copies of your documentation.

Make a call to the support desk at the online casino, or use the live chat option if it is available, and speak to customer service. Explain the issue very clearly and calmly – and politely and ask the person with whom you are speaking for an explanation. If the person you’re speaking with is not being helpful, just ask to speak to the customer service manager. Make sure you keep notes on the conversation, such as the time of the call and the name of the person you’re speaking to. If you’re using live chat, you can use the screen capture tool to save this information, and to log the chat as well, if your computer skills are up to the job. We recommend avoiding emails for support regarding money and payment issues. Speaking to a live person is ideal, but email  can be used effectively to confirm the content of the conversation in writing and secure a backup record of your complaint in writing.
We remind you that it’s very important that you remain calm. Making threats and getting angry is not usually very helpful, and is frequently counter-productive. Just stay calm and clearly state your case. Also important is not to threaten to “charge back” your Visa or Mastercard or other credit card. Online casinos do not like or respond well to this threat. They are likely to respond by getting you “blacklisted” with their casino and their affiliates, and these online casinos are often run in large groups – you may find that you are barred from ten, twenty or even more of your favourite online gaming sites. Naturally, the option of back charging your credit card remains open to you. But we recommend exhausting all other options before first. Even if you do feel there is no other recourse and resort to back charging, this is an option to be discussed with your bank – like all your banking options and decisions – and not with merchants, or customer service representatives with the casino.

Nine times out of ten, rational discussions with the customer service representatives at the online casino will prevail, and your issue will be resolved. If not however, we assess that you have four choices.

Now, there are Australian laws regarding misrepresentations and fraudulent transactions that are enforced strictly. However, it is unlikely that they will be of any use. The internet, a wonderful tool though it is, has created a global world in a real and day to say sense before the world’s legal instruments have had a chance to catch up. It is very unlikely that the online gaming site you’re trying to get money out of was registered or licensed in Australia, and therefore will not be covered or subject to the vast majority of Australian law regarding fraudulent transactions. This poses significant problems, it’s true, but there are options. So, your first option is to contact the casino’s licensing jurisdiction. Now, while some jurisdictions are better and faster than others, our experience has been that most jurisdictions are agonisingly slow when dealing with things like processing complaints and matters of non-payment. We recommend reporting the matter to the licensing jurisdiction, if only to go on the record with the complaint and be of assistance to gamblers who may come in the future. It is probably in your best interests, after reporting the matter of the complaint to the licensing jurisdiction, to proceed on to our other suggestions rather than waiting for anything to be resolved by the licensing jurisdiction – you may be waiting a very long time indeed.

So, our second suggested step. Well actually, our second and third steps work best together. The second step is to go to various online casino forums and start posting about your problem, letting other gamers know what has happened to you. Nearly all the time you will get feedback on your problem and often this contains very useful advice. You may receive advice containing suggestions we do not list here. If so, proceed carefully – it’s likely the advice is sound and worthy of you following it. Just think carefully and make sure you’re not being persuaded into illegal or unethical behaviour.

The third step then, after you’ve made posting on various sites and received feedback and advice, is to go to a casino advocate website. There are several online casino websites that offer help with legitimate issues, helping online gamblers who feel that they have been ripped off by an online casino – just the situation you find yourself in! They will ask you to make a statement and provide it to them, after you have thought carefully and declared that your complaint is definitely a matter of financial impropriety. Make sure your statement is detailed and accurate and truthful in every respect.  Once they have accepted your complaint, sit back and let them take care of it for you. You will need to be patient and wait for them to tell you what is going on with your complaint. Do not contact the casino- after you’ve given the casino advocate website the complaint, let them handle all of parts of the complaint – this includes contact with the casino. They will inform you of the outcome, whether it is resolved and a cheque is coming your way, or whether they were unable to persuade, pressure or force the casino to pay up. Make sure you keep up to date with your forum posts regarding the assistance they provided and the results it yielded.

So if you have tried all of the above and have still come up empty handed, unable to obtain a resolution for your problem, you’re at the end of the line in terms of dealing with the casino. You need to get in touch with your bank, credit card company or the provider of the eWallet service or other online payment system that you used to make the transactions. Check out our list of various payment options for the safety merits of all, but keep in mind the best option in terms or back charging is one backed by a major financial institution – and this is usually a credit card like Visa or Mastercard. Keep in mind that charge backs are to used as a last resort and are most unpopular in the online gaming world. Your bank will nearly always be on your side in the dispute and may suggest options available to you before a charge back is necessary, but will likely suggest this option after all else has failed. Provide your bank or financial services provider with all the necessary documentation and let them handle the complaint from here on in. They will apply pressure on the online casino and they have a considerable amount more clout than you do and they attempts at persuasion may be more successful. Major financial organisations do not appreciate being drawn into matters such as these and they will likely not continue their payment processing services to the online casino in question – and nearly all online casinos will prefer to lose the cost of one transaction than lose a payment processor. Your bank or financial organisation will likely be your best bet, even if they are a last resort.

One note or point of clarification regarding contacting your bank, credit card company or other financial services company or eWallter provider: We recommend keeping them as the last resort and fourth step, and recommend exhausting all other options before contacting them to resolve the matter. However, we strongly recommend contacting them to inform them of the situation immediately. Inform your bank, credit card company or eWallet provider that a problem has arisen with the specified casino, provide them with the details of your complaint, and explain that that you are currently dealing directly with the casino in an attempt to reach a resolution. Only ask your bank or credit card company or eWallet provider to take over your claim if all your other steps have failed, but make sure that they are fully briefed on the situation from the very beginning. This will make it much easier if you do eventually need them to take over your claim.

We would also like to stress that, while we recommend keeping your bank or other financial services provider as a last resort because of possible retaliatory action by the casino is just a suggestion. There is nothing to stop you directly contacting your bank. People have been refused accounts at other online casinos because of charge backs they had made previously at another casino.

We do not suggest that this is right or fair, we are simply pointing out the reality of the situation. If you do wish to continue playing the pokies and other games online (and maybe you don’t, after a major hassle such as this can be), it’s a good idea to contact and try to negotiate with the casino first. Even if it doesn’t work and you ultimately need to contact your bank and arrange a charge back, if you have documentary proof of your attempt to negotiate with the casino, perhaps you can show this to future casinos that may attempt to deny your registration due to the charge back on your financial record.

Well, we have outlined your basic options in dealing with and resolving a financial dispute with an online casino. We sincerely hope you don’t need to exercise these options, and if you follow the steps and suggestions at the beginning of this article, it’s likely you won’t ever find yourself in a position where you need this information. Best of luck and happy gaming!