Malta Recognizes eCOGRA Standards

12 April 2006

LONDON –- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA) and independent standards organisation eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) have agreed to closer cooperation in pursuit of player protection measures.

Subject to certain conditions, the LGA has agreed that operators using software supplied by eCOGRA members, and that is subject to eCOGRA's principles and testing methodologies, will not be required to submit to further review and monitoring processes required for the award of a Malta online gaming licence. The LGA will continue to use its own methodologies in conducting due diligence investigations on all applicants to decide on their suitability as licensees and to review other appropriate areas addressing player protection and responsible operator conduct.

The discussions follow investigations by the LGA in a search for optimum testing and operational systems. Malta is a full member of the European Union.

The agreement will potentially apply to a wide range of online casinos and poker rooms, comprising a significant proportion of the available business. Malta numbers 71 online gambling sites as licensees, and there are 76 major Internet venues carrying the eCOGRA "Play It Safe" seal.

There will also be more cooperation between the two bodies on player disputes to ensure that these are heard fairly, independently and within a reasonable timeframe. The LGA has its own compliance and disputes officer and eCOGRA offers a dedicated dispute mediation service through its Fair Gaming Advocate.

Further discussions will now detail the finer points of cooperation and consistency between the requirements of the two bodies, based on an acceptance of common principles of honesty and efficiency in the interests of player protection.

Mario Galeo, the chief executive responsible for Malta licensing says that he is pleased with the agreement reached with eCOGRA and looks forward to close cooperation and communication in the interest of creating better conditions in the online gambling industry.

"We share a common purpose in seeking to ensure that the player is given fair gaming and efficient, courteous service by casinos and poker rooms that are licensed and regulated by our respective bodies," he said. "We look forward to a closer working relationship that benefits both the players and the industry in the years ahead."

The CEO of eCOGRA, Andrew Beveridge said he was delighted that the LGA had approved the testing procedures and operating standards that his organisation had introduced for the "Play It Safe" seal operations.

"eCOGRA is keen to interact with any jurisdiction that shares our values and we regard this closer relationship with the LGA as a significant step toward consistent global regulation for safe online gambling," he said.

The agreement follows a similar collaborative arrangement with the Kahnawake licensing jurisdiction in Canada, which was signed late last year by the directors of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and eCOGRA.

eCOGRA has announced that the growing interaction between major regulatory and standards authorities is broadly aimed at achieving wider consistency across geographical borders in regard to requirements and standards concerning online casino and poker room relations with the player community.