eCOGRA Reports Online Casino Disputes on DeclineBy: Fabian Rictor, Wednesday April 29th 2009
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eCOGRA is an organization that protects players' interests in two ways. It resolves disputes between players and online casinos. And it certifies online casinos and affiliate programs for fairness. The last few days have seen two important messages emanating from eCOGRA that are in the interest of the online gambling community.
One of the messages is the latest player dispute report from Tex Rees, the Fair Gaming Advocate at eCOGRA. The substance of this report is that disputes are on the decline. In 2008 the total number of disputes handled fell by 5% from the 2007 level of 783 disputes to 743 disputes. This trend continued in the first quarter of 2009. eCOGRA handled 145 disputes during this period, which is the equivalent of 580 disputes on an annualized basis. Actually a total of 197 complaints were received by eCOGRA in the first quarter of 2009. 25 of these related to non-eCOGRA accredited online casinos and therefore were not within the jurisdiction of eCOGRA. Another 27 complaints did not have specific details required for resolution and hence could not be handled. Hence the number actually handled was 145. The nature of the disputes has also shown a change. Bonus issues, which were usually in the lead slipped to the third place. 73 complaints related to cash-ins, 30 complaints related to locked accounts, 27 complaints related to bonuses and 15 were on miscellaneous issues. Of the 145 disputes 59 were resolved in favor of the player. Rees said that the increase in the number of locked accounts was due to players trying to open multiple accounts in order to abuse bonus provisions.
The second report was from the CEO, Andrew Beveridge, and it concerned the subject of certification. Beveridge pointed out that certifications procured by affiliate programs on payment of huge fees and without due audit had been the bane of the industry. Fortunately for eCOGRA, the CAP scandal erupted when eCOGRA was ready with its affiliate certification process. eCOGRA did not launch this in a hurry. It had spent a year in preparing its program and had consulted extensively with both the industry and academia. eCOGRA's affiliate certificate program was also backed by years of reputation in certifying online casinos. Beveridge highlights the features of eCOGRA's affiliate certification program. First of all eCOGRA has prepared a comprehensive set of requirements and standards against which performance is to be evaluated. This is followed by in-depth inspections carried out on-site using live data. The team carrying out the inspections is professionally qualified. The entire process is completely transparent. The certification is followed up by annual reviews. Beveridge added that by following eCOGRA's specified guidelines the online casinos and affiliate programs not only display a seal of approval but also register commercial gains in their operations.
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