Advice on how to handle complaints better

Advice on how to handle complaints better

To remind licensees of existing rules and guidance, the Gambling Commission has published tips on how to handle complaints. A number of areas for improvement were identified in a review of complaints policies.

The Commission looked at how easy it was to use licensee complaints policies, from a range of sectors. The work was referenced in our business plan to explore how to improve how licensees deal with consumers when things go wrong. The work will complement the Government review of the Gambling Act, which will look at how to improve consumer rights in the gambling industry.

8% of gamblers have ever made a complaint, according to our data publication. 4% of people said they wanted to make a complaint, but didn’t. The perception that it is a tedious process, and that the licensee may be deliberately difficult to reach, were explored in our qualitative research.

While most of the policies we reviewed met the basic requirements imposed on gambling licences, there were still areas where licensees could make improvements in their complaints handling. This will make the process more accessible for consumers.

Good complaints handling is important in the gambling industry according to the Director of Policy at the Commission. We want consumers to be able to easily find and understand policies, and we want them to be able to raise their complaints. The majority of gambling businesses will still need to go through the licensee’s complaints process first, even though the Government’s review of the Gambling Act will consider where these can be escalated to. We want to improve outcomes for both them and consumers by helping them handle these well.

The following tips have been written to help licensees improve their complaint handling. We have reminded licensees of their requirements around complaints handling under social responsibility code 6 of our Licence conditions and codes of practice, as well as signposted to our guidance on complaints and disputes: procedural, information provision and reporting requirements.

Good practice complaints handling can be done by licensees

  • On your homepage, include a link to your complaints procedure
  • avoid using jargon or legalese and speak in plain English
  • have a simple and concise complaint procedure
  • Inform folks of the details you’ll need to look into their complaint
  • include information on the 8-week deadline for handling grievances or providing a final response
  • Clearly state when you have achieved “deadlock” or made a final choice
  • Include clickable links and verify their functionality
  • Utilize technology, such as decision-trees and webforms, to assist in guiding individuals through the complaints process, but have alternate communication options open at all times
  • be accessible to everybody, especially those who are vulnerable, and make necessary modifications
  • use Resolver and other tools for customer service
  • give ADR providers with clear directions


The Gambling Commission has published tips on how to handle complaints, to remind licensees of existing rules and guidance. This follows a review of complaints policies that found a number of areas for improvements. The Commission reviewed 34 licensee complaints policies, from a range of sectors, and looked at how accessible and easy they were to use.