Disputing casino charges is something many of us have considered at some point. It can happen because of regret, or because you have been defrauded.
In this article, we look at why you can dispute a casino charge, how you would go about it, what legitimate reasons there are for trying - and what consequences you might face for doing so.
Can You Dispute Casino Charges
Yes, you can dispute gambling charges - both online and brick-and-mortar - but you are unlikely to succeed. Even if you do succeed, there are significant downsides to be aware of.
Let's take a look at the facts about online casino chargebacks.
Online casinos are service providers. You give them money in exchange for them providing a service. And that service is simply the opportunity to play games of chance on their website (or at their premises). There is the possibility of winning more than you spend, but that is not guaranteed.
A consumer can dispute any charges for goods or services they incur. In the past, consumers had to sue in court for breach of contract, but nowadays most countries have consumer rights laws that give consumers extra powers and avenues for dealing with businesses they are dissatisfied with.
The most common way to dispute online casino charges is via a chargeback.
A chargeback is like asking for a refund, except instead of asking the business to give your money back, you ask the bank to take it back on your behalf.
Each country has a set of specific rules pertaining to how chargebacks are processed, accepted, and declined. How easy a casino chargeback is to make depends on what country you are in. The US makes it very easy for consumers to carry out online gambling chargebacks. In the EU, it's slightly more difficult but still possible.
Normally the bank will allow the business to contest any chargeback request. Contesting a chargeback generally involves additional costs for the business, including bank fees and administrative costs. Some businesses find it easier and cheaper to simply accept chargebacks under a certain value, and then blacklist that customer so they can't do it again.
Dishonest chargeback requests are known as "Friendly Fraud", but pardon the misnomer, they are still fraud. There are potentially significant consequences even if the chargeback request is accepted, and at worst the consumer can find themselves facing criminal charges.
How to Reverse Casino Charges
How you can reverse a casino charge will depend on how you incurred the charge in the first place. If you have paid the casino in cash (or cryptocurrency), then the only way you can dispute the charges is to go to court. It will be very time-consuming, expensive, and difficult.
If you used a bank card or an electronic transfer, then you can request a chargeback from your bank. However, you cannot just request a chargeback because you regret losing the money. You need to show that the goods or services breached your consumer rights in some non-trivial way, or that you did not authorize the payment at all.
Casinos do not provide goods. They provide the service of allowing you to play their games of chance. This means you need to allege that either:
- The casino did not provide the service promised - for example, you deposited but they did not allow you to play and kept your money
- The service breached your consumer rights - for example, the casino promised fair games with a certain payout percentage, but in fact, the games were rigged in some way that meant the actual winning percentage was much lower
- You did not order the service at all - for example, someone else used your card without your permission
The fact is, banks are very wary of chargeback requests about casinos, online or otherwise. This is because chargeback fraud and unjustified chargeback requests are extremely common. Some estimates suggest the majority of chargeback requests are not genuine. Sometimes, people just forget about a charge they made themselves and automatically contest it.
It is also extremely easy for the casino to dispute the claim. After all, all they need to do is show that you were given the opportunity to play their games of chance. Legitimate casinos will have certification from a third-party organization confirming their games are fair and as advertised.
Most casinos have ID requirements and this makes it much harder to allege it was not you that authorized the charges. Do you now understand why casinos make you send your ID when you signed up? It's to avoid fraud.
This means that the ball will be in your court. You will have to provide evidence that the casino breached your consumer rights. And sadly, the fact that you thought it was unfair that you lost your money is not going to cut it. You will need strong evidence and that is very difficult to get.
For example, you may be convinced that the online casino games were rigged, yet proving the allegation is another matter. You just don't have access to the kind of information you need to prove it. And the bank isn't going to get it for you.
The Right Time for Casino Chargebacks
Despite the inherent difficulties of a successful online casino chargeback, that doesn't mean there is no such thing as a legitimate casino chargeback. There are certain reasons where you are likely to succeed in disputing casino charges.
Charged Without Visiting any Casino
If you notice charges on your account for a casino you never visited - whether online or in person - then you should certainly consider a chargeback request. The casino should be able to show that they carried out some sort of diligence that the deposit was legitimate.
Of course, if this has happened to you, then it's likely your bank or credit card has been stolen or cloned. You need to get it canceled ASAP.
Sent Money to a Scam Casino
Another mistake consumers can make is to deposit money with a fraudulent casino. These look like legitimate organizations but really they are set up to defraud anyone foolish enough to use their site.
Casinos are pretty much a license to print money and yet somehow that's not good enough for these crooks. They won't let you withdraw, their games are rigged, they rely on obscure small print to confiscate your wins, their customer service is non-existent and they make all kinds of marketing promises they don't keep.
And the worst-of-the-worst simply pretend to be legitimate sites and just take your money without even offering games in return! Most of these rogue casinos are based in obscure jurisdictions too - usually countries with very little regulation.
There are numerous lists online of "blacklisted" rogue casinos to avoid. If you're unlucky enough to deposit money on one of these sites then you are unlikely to get it back by any means other than via your bank.
Risks of Wrongful Casino Chargebacks
In the US in particular, it's very easy to succeed with an online casino chargeback. In many states it's illegal for online casinos to even take US citizens' money! Combine this with the fact nobody likes losing a big chunk of money with nothing to show for it, and that's a recipe for a lot of "Friendly Fraud".
Unjustified chargeback requests cost legitimate casinos a lot of money. Not just for the chargeback amounts themselves but the fees and administrative costs associated with each one. Even a failed request will cost the casino money to deal with.
As a result, casinos don't take kindly to Friendly Fraud. There is no getting around it: online casino chargebacks have consequences. And they can be severe.
If you make a chargeback against an online casino, you can expect to be banned from their casino and placed on an industry blacklist. You may find you can't make an account anywhere at all. That's if you're successful.
If you're unsuccessful, you'll go on the blacklist anyway and your bank may well close your account. You could be sued by your bank or the casino to recover costs.
And you could even face criminal charges. "Friendly Fraud" sounds pretty harmless, but don't be fooled. Fraud is a serious crime. Having that on your criminal record could seriously affect your life.
It's better to take your losses on the chin. Accept responsibility for the consequences of your own actions, instead of looking for ways to weasel out of it. Online casino gambling charges are always preferable to criminal charges, after all!
It is possible to dispute casino charges - but that doesn't mean you will succeed. And it definitely doesn't mean it's a good idea. Only consider it if you have been the victim of fraud. Otherwise, you will become a fraudster yourself.
This article was published on May 21, 2021, and last updated on May 21, 2021.