The online casino won’t pay out my winnings. What can I do?

The more users actively play in online casinos, the more frequent high wins become. Normally that’s reason for the lucky players to celebrate, of course. But in a rare number of cases, this leads to trouble and unnecessary work, because the casino refuses to pay out the win. In such cases, the below six pieces of advice will help you get your money.

1. Check if the casino is acting within its legal rights

Under certain circumstances, casinos are allowed to refuse to pay out wins. In such cases, there is no point in arguing with the operator – they are acting within their rights and thus won’t see the need to make any compromises. This applies when a person registers several accounts or sets up a fake account, for instance. Payouts may also be refused when the user retroactively cancels their deposit. The use of fraudulent software is also a reason for an operator to refuse payment. It’s a little trickier with suspected money laundering: in this case, casinos are not allowed to pay out wins until suspicions have been cleared.

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2. Get in touch with the online casino’s support

All online casinos offer ways to get in touch. Definitely make use of this option. While employees at the service line usually won’t be able to offer you a definite solution, they should be able to tell you why your payout was blocked and what documents they might still need. That should give you enough information to plan your next steps. Make sure to document your entire communication with the employees as well as any documents you handed in. Also remember to stay civil!

3. Set a deadline

If customer support can’t offer a satisfactory solution, you should give the online casino one last chance to clarify the problem in a direct way. The best method is to send a payment reminder with a payment deadline. About a week has proven to be a feasible timeframe in this context. At the same time, you should emphasise that you will take further steps if no agreement is achieved. It is not necessary to spell out any concrete measures at this point. Phrase your reminder in more general terms instead.

4. Contact the responsible authorities

Most online casinos are not located in Germany but operate on a foreign license. Where that license was issued is usually indicated in the footer. You should also be able to find that information in the legal details. The next step is to send a detailed description of the situation to the relevant authority (e.g. MGA - Online Gaming Support, UK - Gambling Commission). We recommend you include any relevant documents, including your notes of previous communication with the provider. The working language of those offices in most cases is English, so your complaint should be written in that language. It often makes sense to hire a professional translator for the job.

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5. Contact a specialist lawyer

If the licensing authority can’t offer a satisfactory solution, either, you will have to hire a lawyer specialised in international law. Ideally, they should have some experience in dealing with online casinos. Such specialists don’t work pro bono, though, and are relatively expensive. In most cases, it only makes sense to contact a lawyer when the amount in question is at least a few thousands. After a first consultation, you and your lawyer together should decide whether further proceedings against the online casino have any chances of success.

6. Going public

Online casinos rely on their client’s trust, so it can be helpful to put pressure on the operator by making their refusal to pay out your wins public. Social media is one way to do this. Alternatively, you can get in touch with blogs and media that report on gambling and casinos and ask them for support. Last but not least, you can contact the game developer. Online casinos typically don’t use their own software but rely on products developed by specialists. Developers tend not to like it when customers feel cheated.

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