The e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, or eCOGRA, is a non-profit organization that is the independent standard authority of the online gaming industry.
Founded in 2003, the organisation oversees fair gaming, player protection and responsible operator conduct. Sites that belong to eCOGRA will display a "Safe and Fair" seal on the site so players will know that the site complies with industry standards. eCogra serves many of the industry’s largest operators, including bwin.party, 888, Ladbrokes, the Palace Group, Unibet, Fortune Lounge, and 32Red.
Ecogra Standards and Ethics
eCOGRA focuses on the needs of gamers and ensures safe storage of information, prompt payments and responsible behavior by the operators of the site. According to eCOGRA, out of the 457 complaints it received in 2006, 161 were resolved in favor of the player, 199 against the player, and 97 were invalid.
In the event that a player has a problem with an eCOGRA approved site, eCOGRA offers a free player dispute mediation service.
If you ever asked yourself what to look for in a US casino, the safe and fair eCOGRA seal should be one of your top priorities.
eCOGRA is a self governing site created by owners of online gaming sites to ensure safety and proper ethics for online gamers. They make their own decisions and respond directly to issues raised so that players can expect a certain level of service and security when using a particular gaming site.
Business owners can also find a list of business practices and ethics developed by the industry for online gaming houses.
All casinos that meet the eCOGRA standards are presented with the eCOGRA Safe and Fair seal here at CasinoTop10.net.
eCOGRA Favors Players over Online Gambing Companies in Disputes
It appears that eCOGRA's Fair Gaming advocate tends to favor players over online gambling companies in the event of a dispute. More than two thirds of all complaints handled by eCOGRA have been settled in favor of the player.
Operators such as Prime Casino, and numerous other premium online casinos and poker rooms are monitored by eCOGRA to ensure fair games and a good gambling environment. If the customer should have a legitimate complaint, the Fair Gaming Advocate will attempt to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
"This is a clear indication that the approved operators, together with eCOGRA, are being effective in meeting the need for fair gaming, player protection and responsible operator behavior," says Fair Gaming Advocate, Tex Reese. "Operators have responded in a fast and cooperative manner to those cases where I have requested information and explanations and have been quick to respect my findings in each case."
Although there are very few disputes in the industry today, it is reassuring for the player to know that any issue will be dealt with urgently, and that eCOGRA primarily guards the player's interests.
eCOGRA recently announced new guidelines for its eGaps policy, which provides a basic framework for responsible online gaming companies to follow.
The guidelines are used by many leading online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, bingo operators, and other gambling sites.
More than 150 online gambling sites use the eGap guidelines in order to be able to be accredited by eCogra as they are able to provide potential customers the assurance that the operator adheres to practices that provide for a safe, responsible gaming experience. Areas addressed include how player funds are handled, if safeguards are in place to prevent underage gambling, and if appropriate checks and balances are adopted in order to encourage responsible gambling.
What caused the recent change in eCOGRA Guidelines?
While eCogra didn’t point to any specific reason to issue revised guidelines (other than to ensure that its guidelines encompass responsible remote gambling standards issued by the European Committee for Standardization), the move was likely spurred in part by recent developments in the US. On April 15th the US Department of Justice issued indictments against Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker/UltimateBet for a wide range of charges, including breaking US anti-gambling laws, wire fraud, and money laundering.
eCogra primarily works with European operators so while the developments in the US have no direct impact on eCogra or its clients, the online gaming industry as a whole is under increased scrutiny as a result. eCogra and other standards agencies could also serve as a potential example and framework for legislators in the US should they move to legalize and regulate online poker, an idea that had been picking up momentum and support prior to the moves by the US government in April.
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