eGAP Responsible Gambling GuidelinesBy: Fabian Rictor, Sunday March 31st 2013
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Knowing and understanding the eGAP responsible gambling guidelines will be of immense help to players in selecting the right online casinos. These guidelines have been formulated by eCOGRA, the leading independent certification and dispute resolution agency. The eGAP (eCOGRA Generally Accepted Practices) guidelines were released in April 2012 in order to bring greater clarity and transparency into the certification process. The guidelines cover areas like responsible gambling, protection of player privacy, protection of player funds, responsible advertising, commitment to player support and some others.
Responsible gambling involves gambling in a mature way without falling prey to the potential drawbacks that the activity can induce. Today it is obligatory for the providers of online gambling services to ensure that players gamble in a responsible manner. This article focuses on the eGAP requirements for online casino operators with respect to responsible gambling.
The web site of the online casino should have a responsible gambling page that should be accessible with a direct link from the home page. This page should contain at least the following information. It should begin with the online casino operator’s responsible gambling policy. The player needs to be warned that online gambling could be harmful if not engaged in moderation. There should be a link to sources of help on problem gambling, including helpline numbers. The page should include a simple self-assessment process to determine risk potential. The player should be informed of the player protection measures offered by the online casino, which should include deposit limits, cooling off period and self-exclusion. Clear instructions should be provided on how to access these measures. The download software shall also contain a link to the responsible gambling page.
The players should be given the option to set their own deposit limits per day, week and month. Requests to decrease deposit limits should be acted on immediately. Requests to increase deposit limits shall be made effective after a minimum waiting period of 24 hours. Once a player opts for self exclusion, his account should be locked and any balance repaid to him. The online casino must make best effort to see that the player does not receive any marketing material during the exclusion period. The minimum self-exclusion period should be six months.
The online casino operator shall also incorporate the following features and practices. Direct communication with the player shall carry a responsible gambling message to the extent possible. A clock shall be displayed on the screen at all times so the player is aware how long he has been gambling. Players shall be granted online access their account history dating back for a minimum period of sixty days. Account history for twelve months should be provided on request. The history should include all deposits, withdrawals, wagers, wins, losses, fees and bonuses.
The online casino should provide training on responsible gambling to appropriate employees, including the customer support team. Refresher courses shall be undertaken as and when needed. A designated senior management employee shall be appointed to assume responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of responsible gambling practices. Other input providers to the online casino, like the software provider and payment processor, must follow practices that in confirmation with the operator’s responsible gambling policy.
eCOGRA will renew its certificate only to those online casinos that have complied with these eGAP regulations. However, players should check out the responsible gambling page before signing up with any online casino and ensure that the requirements have been met.
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