Complaints and Claims

Complaints and claims

Complaints

 

The Directorate-General for the Regulation of Gambling (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego: DGOJ) deals with complaints made by participants against nationwide gambling operators.

Prior to that, users registered with any licensed online gambling operator in Spain are entitled to contact that operator's customer service department, following its complaints procedure, to obtain explanations regarding the operator’s decisions and the justification for them (the measure taken, its scope, the grounds for it and the contract term on which the operator has based it, etc.) and request whatever they consider appropriate. If they do not agree with the response received or do not receive an answer within one month, they may lodge a complaint against the operator with the DGOJ.

 

What is a complaint? Back to the top of the page

A complaint is a communication which a player addresses to the DGOJ, on account of a conflict or disagreement with a licensed gambling operator of which that player is user, in which the player states the circumstances giving rise to it and requests a solution.

 

Who can make a complaint and why? Back to the top of the page

Any person participating in online gambling and/or national lotteries may lodge a complaint with the DGOJ regarding the actions or omissions of nationwide licensed gambling operators which affect that person’s interests.

What are nationwide “licensed gambling operators”? Those persons or entities which have obtained a licence or authorisation from the DGOJ to carry on gambling activities and any other persons or entities designated by law to run lotteries, where the activity is carried on and marketed nationwide.

Remember that you can check that an online gambling operator is licensed on the DGOJ website, where you can also check that the online gambling operator you are using has the "Safe Gambling" mark, created by the DGOJ to be used solely by those gambling operators which have a national licence, granted by the DGOJ, to carry on gambling activities and which provides a guarantee that the gambling is regulated, supervised and controlled by the DGOJ, ensures that the gambling is fair, that the legal operators are reliable and that they comply with all the requirements relating to solvency, responsibility and control imposed by national gambling legislation, in this case Law 13/2011, of 27 May, and its

may NOT by lodged with the DGOJ in the following circumstances:

  • Conflicts relating to strictly contractual matters.- The relationship which binds the participant and the licensed operator on account of he gambling contract is of a private nature and, therefore, any disputes or disagreements which may arise between them are a matter for the civil courts.
  • • “Illegal gambling”.- Illegal gambling is gambling which takes place in breach of the law, either because it is carried on by companies which market it through a “.com” domain or because a company has not obtained the relevant licence or authorisation in Spain (such activity is prohibited, it is considered illegal and, therefore, may be reported).
  • “Land-based gambling”.- Those conflicts which arise in relation to land-based gambling (which takes place in physical establishments or spaces, such as casinos, bingo halls, betting shops, etc.), since its control and supervision is the responsibility of the autonomous regions.
  • Lotteries run by ONCE, since control of ONCE’s gambling activity, subject to reserve, is the responsibility of its supervisory body (Consejo del Protectorado).

 

How do I make a complaint? Back to the top of the page

Complaints must be lodged in writing and must include the following:

  1. The identity of the person making the complaint: name and surnames, national identity document or equivalent identifying document.   Specification of the preferred means of contact or contact address.
  2. Specification of the electronic means by which or, alternatively, the physical place where the person wishes to be contacted.
  3. The precise facts, reasons and request forming the substance of the complaint.
  4. The place and date
  5. The signature of the person making the complaint or proof of the authenticity of their wishes as expressed by any means
  6. The body, centre or administrative unit to which it is addressed (the DGOJ)
  7. The identity of the party against which the complaint is made (the licensed gambling operator)
  8. Any documents or any other kind of evidence or material which makes it possible to establish the facts to which the complaint relates (for example, information received form the operator, copies or screenshots of the gambling history, email messages, etc.).
  9. Proof of having previously complained to the operator, following their complaints procedure, and of the response received from the operator, where applicable.

There are two ways of lodging a complaint:

  1. In electronic format, through the electronic office of the DGOJ, using the form Reporting and complaints relating to gambling. In this case, you will need to have an electronic DNI (Spanish national ID document), or any other digital certificate issued by an accredited certification authority, in order to be able to lodge the complaint online (you can find all the information relating to lodging complaints electronically and how to obtain a digital certificate at https://sede.ordenacionjuego.gob.es/es/registro-solicitudes ).
  2. On paper, in the form of a signed document, to be submitted at a physical government registry office or at a post office and addressed to the DGOJ (C/ Atocha nº 3. 28012 Madrid). You are free to choose the format of the document or, alternatively, you can print the form Reporting and complaints relating to gambling and submit it, having filled it in and signed it.

For more information, see the FAQs (frequently asked questions) in the relevant section of this website and, should you have any questions, you can raise them through the “Queries and Suggestions Relating to Gambling” section of the electronic office of the DGOJ.

 

Processing of complaints by the authorities Back to the top of the page

Once the complaint has been received and registered by the DGOJ, it can be processed as follows:

  • The DGOJ, within the scope of its powers, will resolve the complaint lodged by the player within two months and will notify the operator in question of its decision, so that it can take the relevant action and make the relevant improvements, including those relating to the functioning of the gambling operator’s customer service and complaint handling system.
  • Where evidence of gambling offences is deduced from the circumstances set out in the complaint document, the DGOJ will reclassify the interested party’s complaint as a report, notifying the case to the inspection and control services, so that they can carry out the appropriate investigations and, where applicable, begin the relevant legal proceedings.
  • Where the circumstances or conduct relate to breaches of contractual terms, or the aim of the complaint  is to seek compensation or damages in relation to such breaches or to have unfair contract terms declared void, the DGOJ lacks the power to resolve the complaint. In that case, the player has the following options:
    • Referring the matter to the civil courts. Under the Spanish Civil Procedure Rules (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil) and other concordant legislation, there are various judicial means of recovering debts and in certain cases, where the amount claimed does not exceed a certain amount, those proceedings can be handled directly by the individual concerned, without needing to be accompanied by a lawyer or a court procedural representative (for example, the order for payment procedure or fast-track proceedings up to a certain amount).
    • Initiating any voluntary, out-of-court, dispute resolution proceedings which operators may participate in.

Reporting

 

The Directorate-General for the Regulation of Gambling (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego: DGOJ) is entrusted with ensuring compliance with state legislation relating to gambling and controlling its application, to which end, it has the legal authority to carry out inspections and to impose sanctions for any offences it finds. If you have evidence or material which may prove that an action represents a breach of Law 13/2011, of 27 May, on the regulation of gambling, you can submit a report making the DGOJ aware of that fact.

 

What is a report? Back to the top of the page

A report is a communication which a player addresses to the DGOJ to inform it about circumstances which may constitute an administrative offence due to the alleged breach of Law 13/2011, of 27 May, on the regulation of gambling, without intending to obtain a solution, compensation or payment of damages in particular.

In particular, carrying on and marketing online gambling in Spain through a .com domain, or through a company which has not obtained the relevant licence in Spain, are activities which are considered “illegal gambling”, in accordance with the provisions of Law 13/2011, of 27 May, on the regulation of gambling, and, therefore, are reportable circumstances.

Based on such a communication, the authorities may initiate an investigation and checking phase in relation to the circumstances reported, which could involve initiating infringement proceedings.

The aim of those investigations, in this case, is fundamentally to protect and defend the public interest and the rights of all players, not those of a specific citizen or group of citizens, to prevent such irregular conduct from occurring again. The investigation into the report is not intended to restore the interests or rights of the person submitting the report , which may have been affected by an alleged administrative offence, even where the reported circumstances ultimately result in a sanction.

 

Who can submit a report? Back to the top of the page

Anyone may file a report relating to gambling, even where the circumstances and conduct in question do not affect that person directly.

The fundamental aim of a report is to make the competent authority aware of such circumstances as are considered harmful to the interests of players, to prevent them from continuing to occur and affecting other people.

The person submitting the report is not an interested party in the infringement proceedings which may follow the phase of investigating and checking the reported circumstances. That person may not, therefore, appear in the the proceedings, nor have access to the case file or any preliminary proceedings which may take place.

 

How do I report an offence? Back to the top of the page

Reports must submitted in writing and must include the following:

  1. Name and surnames and specification of the preferred means of contact or contact address.
  2. The precise facts, reasons and request forming the substance of the report.
  3. The place and date
  4. The signature of the person making the complaint or proof of the authenticity of their wishes as expressed by any means
  5. The body, centre or administrative unit to which it is addressed (the DGOJ)
  6. The identity of the parties responsible for the alleged offence
  7. Any documents or other kind of evidence or material which makes it possible to establish the facts to which the report relates.

There are two ways of submitting a report:

  1. In electronic format, through the electronic office of the DGOJ, using the form Reporting and complaints relating to gambling. In this case, you will need to have an electronic DNI (Spanish national ID document), or any other digital certificate issued by an accredited certification authority, in order to be able to lodge the complaint online (you can find all the information relating to lodging complaints electronically and how to obtain a digital certificate at https://sede.ordenacionjuego.gob.es/es/registro-solicitudes ).
  2. On paper, in the form of a signed document, to be submitted at a physical government registry office or at a post office and addressed to the DGOJ (C/ Atocha nº 3. 28012 Madrid). You are free to choose the format of the document or, alternatively, you can print the form Reporting and complaints relating to gambling and submit it, having filled it in and signed it.

For more information, see the FAQs (frequently asked questions) in the relevant section of this website and, should you have any questions, you can raise them through the “Queries and Suggestions Relating to Gambling” section of the electronic office of the DGOJ.

 

Processing of the report by the authorities Back to the top of the page

Once the report has been received and registered by the DGOJ, it can be processed as follows:

  • The inspection and control services will carry out the appropriate investigations and preliminary proceedings and, where applicable, will initiate the relevant legal proceedings.
  • If the DGOJ does not have the authority to deal with the circumstances allegedly constituting an offence, it will notify them to whatever body it considers competent.
  • Where the reported circumstances or conduct cannot be proved and/or classified as an offence, the report will be dismissed.
  • The person submitting the report will be notified of both the relevant legal proceedings and, where applicable, of the dismissal of the report.