eCOGRA to Audit Kahnawake LicenseesBy: Rick Balding, Monday January 25th 2010
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The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) was established in 1996 in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake near Montreal. It is one of the most reputed gaming jurisdictions and has been licensing and regulating online gaming since July, 1999. In order to ensure that its licensees meet high international standards of fairness, player protection, operational conduct and responsible gambling, KGC has announced a new compliance program involving third party inspection and ongoing monitoring. Fifty-five of KGC licensees are expected to be covered under the program.
KGC chairman Dean Montour introduced this program as the Continuous Compliance Program. The first step has been the appointment of eCOGRA as an Approved Agent. eCOGRA has worked with KGC earlier and Montour has expressed confidence in eCOGRA's ability to implement the Continuous Compliance Program. Montour is also confident that eCOGRA will hold the information received from the licensees in the strictest confidence. The Continuous Compliance Program consists of three components. The first is to assess annually whether the licensees are complying with KGC regulations concerning money laundering, player protection, dispute resolution, payouts, responsible gambling, reporting and advertising. The second is annual assessment for compliance against key regulatory objectives. The final segment of the audit is the analysis of live gaming data to ensure that the games are random and fair and that return to player ratios are correctly evaluated and reported.
eCOGRA is fully equipped to carry out this assignment. It has adequate staff of professionally qualified and industry-experienced Chartered Accountants who have completed hundreds of such inspections. In fact in 2007 eCOGRA was appointed by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to carry out a similar exercise. The EGBA is a representative organization of the leading European gaming and betting operators. This program has been a resounding success and is now in its third compliance cycle. eCOGRA's assessment of the EGBA operators demonstrated that they follow standards that match or exceed those of European Union state gambling monopolies. This has given a fillip to the regulation process in Europe.
eCOGRA Chief Executive Andrew Beveridge said, "We look forward to the considerable task ahead and have almost completed four initial test reviews that have generated enthusiastic feedback from the operators concerned. The most important aspect of this program is that players will be safer, and that can only be to the credit of the industry." It must be pointed out that while eCOGRA audits over 140 online gaming operators, it operations too are subjected to third-party independent audit. The recognized international accounting firm KPMG London performs an annual quality assurance review of eCOGRA to ensure that the governance structure, responsibilities, processes and approach implemented within the organization comply with recognized audit practices and principles.
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