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eCOGRA Chief Speaks Out

By: Joe Valentino, Saturday May 8th 2010
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To many in the online gaming industry eCOGRA is an organization above reproach. There are some, however, who have raised specific and general questions on the functioning of eCOGRA. In an interview to the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association (GPWA) Andrew Beveridge, CEO of eCOGRA cleared the air on these issues.

Since the GPWA primarily deals with affiliates, the initial thrust of the questioning was on the Grand Prive affair. Grand Prive had assigned eCOGRA to evaluate its liability to the affiliates who claimed that they had not been paid when Grand Prive closed. They had even accepted eCOGRA’s recommendations. But when affiliates claimed that Grand Prive had not furnished complete information to eCOGRA, Grand Prive stalled any further investigation. Microgaming was the software provider to Grand Prive and had received its share of flak in the murky affair for not taking Grand Prive to task. Microgaming is one of the founders of eCOGRA. Therefore GPWA put the question whether eCOGRA took up this assignment free of cost at the instance of Microgaming. Beveridge put it clearly, "At no time did Microgaming ask us to be involved, although they were pleased when we accepted the assignment."

The more important question was why eCOGRA refused to involve the affiliates in its inspection of Grand Prive. Beveridge explained that the ultimate responsibility was that of eCOGRA as an organization. eCOGRA was responsible for the investigations carried out and the conclusions reached by its auditors. These auditors are highly qualified and widely experienced. If eCOGRA involved representatives of the affiliates then it would be depending on persons whose credentials were unknown to it and it could not confidently take the responsibility for the actions of such persons. However, eCOGRA had informally taken advice from a prominent affiliate revealed Beveridge. Equally awaited was eCOGRA’s response to the allegations that the complete database was not provided by Grand Prive. Beveridge said that he was assured that eCOGRA was given the complete database and that no other database existed and accepted that assurance in good faith.

The second part of the interview dealt with the issue of the independence of eCOGRA. It is common knowledge that eCOGRA was not only founded by Microgaming but also funded by Microgaming. The insinuation was that how could then eCOGRA evaluate Microgaming software and Microgaming online casinos in an independent manner. Beveridge spelled out in detail the organizational structure and functionality of eCOGRA, explaining how that led to independence in operations. He also pointed out the Microgaming was not the sole founder and sole initial funds provider to eCOGRA., Bwin and OnGame too were involved. In any event eCOGRA no longer needs funds from its founders. Finally eCOGRA provides services to dozens of other competing software suppliers.

Beveridge hoped that these clarifications would end the unfounded allegations. He said, "In particular the repeated and totally false allegations that we were mere puppets of Microgaming rankled, simply because Microgaming has no more influence on how we carry out our professional duties than the other two Founding - and competing –- Members. This sort of allegation is also deeply insulting to the Independent Directors who exercise operational control at eCOGRA."

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Comment by: singlemom On: May 11, 2010
That's good to hear that they're starting to finally admit to what's gone down with this whole thing!

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