eCOGRA Takes the Lead in Responsible GamblingBy: Shirley Spicer, Wednesday November 18th 2009
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Responsible gambling has become a major social issue at Internet casinos. Most online players are aware that eCOGRA has been in the forefront of setting benchmarks for responsible gambling practices. However, it is not as widely known that eCOGRA has been training online gambling operators for implementing responsible gambling practices at their Internet casinos. In a press release dated November 17 eCOGRA announced that it had completed five years of responsible gambling training. In the last year alone 70 senior personnel from online casinos in four countries received training from eCOGRA. The press release highlighted the contents of the training program and how it benefits all concerned.
The courses are conducted by Tex Rees, who is eCOGRA's Responsible Gambling manager. The participants are from the online gambling operators who have been audited by eCOGRA and have received its "Safe & Fair" seal of approval. The training course covers three broad areas. The first deals with identification of problem gamblers and understanding how compulsive gambling develops. The course explains the issues that the problem gambler faces and how they can be dealt with using role-playing exercises and in-depth discussions. The second area deals with the implementation of eCOGRA's best practices standards and requirements. The reasons for these benchmarks are explained to the participants and the responsible gambling features implemented at the participants' online casinos are analyzed critically and improvements suggested. The advertising of online casinos has become a much talked about issue, especially in the United Kingdom. The last part of the course covers advertising standards, highlighting what is permissible by the Advertising Standards Authority and what is not.
Rees pointed out that this service provided by eCOGRA was very much in demand despite the fact that problem gamblers constitute a very small percentage of the online gambling fraternity. He said that this small percentage attracted a disproportionately large attention from the politicians, the social watchdogs and the media. Therefore it is essential that online gambling operators not only implement responsible gambling practices but are seen to do so. Hence the fact that the online gambling industry is going beyond mere accreditation and demonstrating an ongoing commitment to responsible gambling is heartening.
Andrew Beveridge, the Chief Executive of eCOGRA, stated in the press release that today responsible gambling embraces marketing and advertising, providing self-diagnostic aids and handling self-exclusion requests. eCOGRA emphasises the need for "continued vigilance and the diligent application of genuine responsible gambling programs, using rapidly evolving exclusionary technologies and training content." 13 software providers and 145 online gaming sites are accredited with the eCOGRA "Safe & Fair" seal.
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