eCOGRA Launches Consumer Survey Research Project

7 August 2006

An independent online gambling watchdog group is undertaking arguably one of the largest research projects the I-gaming industry has ever seen, and it is all for the good of the players, not the operators.

eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), the industry's player protection and standards authority, will gather the opinions of more than 20,000 players over three continents in just two months to identify the global online gambler and what drives him/her to online gambling sites.

"The intention, essentially, is that it is going to be the most comprehensive bit of research that's ever been done in the online gambling industry," said eCOGRA CEO Andrew Beveridge. "To achieve that we'll be looking to get out 20,000 respondents, which I think is quite a high target, but I think we've figured out the means to do that."

The quantitative side will be an Internet-based survey, which respondents will be able to access through a number of Web sites and portals. eCOGRA has recruited more than 85 sites willing to help with the survey. Beveridge is hoping that will generate enough interest to reach the goal of 20,000 respondents in the two months they have allotted for the survey.

"We have a lot of resources at our disposal in terms of the number of sites that we're involved with and a lot of those sites are generating huge amounts of traffic and so we should be able to get the necessary response," he said. "The idea is that we will probably go live with the survey late this month and start wrapping it up within a couple of months and get the responses on the qualitative side done as well by then."

The qualitative side involves capturing the opinions of more than twenty different groups of people across six different countries, including Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. And to do that, eCOGRA has enlisted the scientific assistance of research teams from England's Nottingham Trent University, who will handle the European and Asian participants; and the University of Las Vegas, who will handle North American participants.

The results of the player survey will be published in eCOGRA's Global Gambling Report, which will be released first to the media in January 2007.

"What we'll have initially is a media-facing summary and then we'll have an in-depth report which we will distribute to our operators and members," Beveridge said. "The institutions have asked as well if they can release an academic paper at an appropriate time, so we'll just have to gauge how confidential the information is and what they can release."

eCOGRA hopes the report will provide insight into the global online gambler, with particular focus on fair gaming, safe gaming practices, customer service standards and player protection measures that can be put in place.

Beveridge said ultimately what he wants to achieve with the survey is improving the credibility and perception of the online gaming industry.

"Part of the information that we're hoping to get from this is to implement server controls or address whatever concerns the players have to make sure they are assured a safer and more rewarding online gambling experience," he added.

Beveridge said eCOGRA has not considered following up the survey with a complimentary global industry survey, though he admits it would probably be very useful to the organization.

"Our priority at eCOGRA is the players," he said "We are always welcoming other software providers and operators to come on board. That's a big objective of ours, but it's really listening to what the players have to say. It's really finding out what's important to them."

Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.