eCOGRA changes qualifications for seal

15 March 2007
LONDON, England -- (PRESS RELEASE) -– Dozens more online casino and poker room operators will soon qualify for affiliation with the player protection and standards body, eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA), following a change in how the seal can be awarded, the organisation announces today. The principal change means that software providers of interested operators will no longer be required to be members of eCOGRA. However, there will be no reduction in the inspection and monitoring levels required in order to display the prestigious "Play It Safe" seal, awarded by the organisation. "We've experienced an enormous amount of interest from operators who aren't using our existing members' software, which was previously a pre-requisite to obtaining a seal" says Andrew Beveridge, CEO. "The new arrangements will allow all operators to apply for an eCOGRA seal of approval, at a time when it is vital the industry demonstrates responsibility for player protection and improved operational standards." From today, eCOGRA will offer operators that use software provided by non-eCOGRA members its certification services. The move will afford many more operators with solid reputations and proven track records the opportunity to obtain an independent and widely respected 3rd party assurance that the players are protected, the games are fair, and the operator behaves responsibly. Operators will also be able to publish eCOGRA's Total Gaming Transaction Reports for fairness of payout percentages, card-shuffling and RNG behaviour, and will have access to other services, including eCOGRA's Fair Gaming Advocate dispute resolution service, affiliate program reviews, responsible gambling training and external and internal security assessments. All new operators will be subject to the same detailed on-site testing procedures to ensure compliance with eCOGRA's Generally Accepted Practices, and the seal award will be conditional upon eCOGRA's independent directors' satisfaction that there is full compliance with the requirements. eCOGRA's recent Global Online Gambler Survey of 11,000 online gamblers showed that the majority of respondents would look for a safety and quality kite mark such as eCOGRA's "Play It Safe" seal before playing on a site, highlighting the need for reassurance that the operator is professional and honest. In today's operating environment, it is more critical than ever for operators to practically demonstrate to legislators and other stakeholders throughout the world that the online gambling industry is both prepared and committed to act in the best interests of its customers.