Players – know your rights at slot sites

Players – know your rights at slot sites
Paul Clare
by Paul Clare Last updated:

Casinos rely on their players to keep the lights on. While the notion of gambling with a casino is fun and exciting, not every player can be a winner. In fact, the reality is that the majority of players lose more than they win over time.

But that doesn’t mean you’re a sitting duck. 

Players have rights whenever they engage with an online slot site, just as all customers do in every transactional scenario, in every industry. Knowing your rights is key to ensuring you’re getting a fair deal, and that you’re being treated with respect. But for most players, their rights aren't something they even think about until the worst happens.

So what rights can you expect as a player? And how can you assert these rights in the event that a casino or slots site falls short of the mark?

Your rights under the Gambling Commission licence

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the authority responsible for ensuring online casinos and gambling sites of all shapes and sizes adhere to the law. The UKGC also issues licences to operators, which gives them legal permission to take bets from UK customers. Under the provision of this licence, casino operators are committed to a number of obligations to ensure players' rights are respected.

Random number generators: Casinos should use random number generators, so they can guarantee a return-to-player (RTP) percentage for their games. Random number generators should be regularly audited to ensure they are still random. Ideally the audit should be conducted by an independent, external auditing service to guarantee transparency and fairness. As a player, it’s your right to expect random number generators to be exactly that – genuinely random, thus creating a fair and level playing field for games you participate in.

Funds held in segregated accounts: Player funds must be held in a separate account to the money that funds the casino's running costs. Commingled funds are against the licensing terms, so you should always expect your money to be held separately, including in the event of insolvency (where a casino runs out of money). If your casino goes bust, you should have peace of mind of knowing that your deposits are held safely and separately in a segregated account.

Access to responsible gambling tools: Players have the right to access responsible gambling tools through their casino, which casinos must make available under the terms of their licence. This includes self-exclusion, deposit limits, reminders and a variety of other mechanisms. These tools help you take control of your gambling and set parameters for how much you want to spend.

Many other rights exist for players under the terms of gambling licences, and casinos can find themselves in trouble if they fall foul of these obligations.

Your rights as a consumer

As a consumer transaction, entering into a contract (i.e. opening and betting through an account) with a slot site or online casino in the UK is governed by consumer rights law, including the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This imposes a number of duties on casinos aimed at ensuring consumers are treated fairly.

Clear terms and conditions: The terms and conditions of any casino or slot site should be clear and easy to understand, using basic language and avoiding legalese. Consumers are held to a different standard from businesses when entering into contracts, and consumer rights legislation imparts an obligation on businesses to cut their customers some slack. This means writing T&Cs that can be commonly understood for what they mean, rather than wrapping up complex terms in tricky or awkward language to disguise their true intent. If you didn’t understand the terms and conditions as written down, and this is deemed reasonable given the wording, you may have recourse under consumer rights law to further complaints against the casino. 

Fair terms and conditions: Consumer contracts must not be unfair. This goes right down to the individual clause of the T&Cs, meaning any terms or conditions which are there, even if agreed by the player but subsequently found to be unfair, are therefore contrary to consumer rights under law. The definition of 'fair' is of course open to interpretation, and there is no knowing exactly which terms would be found to be fair or otherwise. However, bear in mind that it is your right as a consumer to be bound by contract terms and conditions that are not by their definition ‘unfair’. 

Fair treatment: Consumer laws in the UK impart a host of general obligations on operators to act in a manner that is fair and reasonable with respect to how they handle their customers. Always remember that a casino is a service provider, and you are a customer – just like when buying a second-hand car or paying for a haircut. If you’re not treated fairly in the course of that transaction, the casino is equally liable under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as any other service provider would be.

Your right to fairness

Nobody has a divine right to win money at a slot site; nothing can guarantee you that! But you do have a general right to fairness, and to be given the fair crack at the whip you’ve been sold. 

You have a right to transparency, and a right to be treated according to the terms and conditions you’ve signed up to. You have a right to your money being held in a separate account, and a right to access responsible gambling tools and services.

Above all, you have the right to a safe, trustworthy experience. Gambling only functions properly when there is trust, and consumers should always approach regulated, licenced operators with the assumption of these basic rights. Where these rights have been breached, or where a casino has done something unfair and against its own obligations, we recommend pursuing a complaint with the casino as the first step. After that, you can proceed to Alternative Dispute Resolution with a third party if required.

Slot sites make mistakes too and by knowing where you stand legally, you have the best chance of fighting your corner should you need to. 

Paul Clare
by Paul Clare Last updated:

Paul spent plenty of time in arcades up and down the UK discovering all of the best fruit machines and watching them grow into the incredible online slots we see today. He still loves the basic format but also has a soft spot for games with big bonus rounds that progress as you play. Immortal Romance is one of his favourite slots of all time.