Stricter Regulations from EBGA
By: Ryan Alders, Thursday July 24th 2008
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) was established by eight leading European online casinos. These are PartyGaming, bwin Group, Unibet, bet-at-home.com, The Carmen Media Group, Expekt, Interwetten Gaming Ltd and digibet. The mission of EBGA is to promote fair competition for European online gaming operators, freedom of choice for European online players and a fair environment for them to play in. In order to achieve this without coercive restrictions imposed by the nation states EBGA strongly advocates self-regulation. It is with this objective in view that the EBGA has issued a set of new and comprehensive standards to be complied with by its members. These standards are stricter than the already strict laws imposed by the European Union online gambling licensing authorities.
The number of regulations is in excess of 170 and cover online casinos, sports betting, and other licensed gambling venues. The focus of the regulations is player protection, fair gaming and responsible operator behavior. The earlier standards were issued by the EBGA in 2003, which is a long time back given the explosive evolution of the online casino industry. According to EBGA the changes had become necessary to ensure uniformity of standards across Europe particularly in view of the fact customers from one country can easily access an online casino from another country. The important clauses in these standards are no tolerance of fraud or criminal behavior, prompt and correct payment to players, comprehensive assessment of the fairness of operations by independent and competent auditors, responsible and ethical marketing of online casinos, promoting responsible gambling in adults, preventing minors from accessing online casinos and maintaining the confidentiality of customers information.
While releasing these standards Norbert Teufelberger, the chairman of EGBA said, "These standards are a sign of our commitment to an exemplary level of corporate and social responsibility." Andrew Beveridge, CEO of eCOGRA, added, “Our goal is to ensure that EGBA has a meaningful professional review process for determining each member’s compliance with agreed and consistently applied standards, which consumers and regulators have come to expect in the online gaming and betting industry.”
These strict standards have not come too soon. There are many European countries that are considering a total ban on online gambling following the imposition of the UIGEA by the United States or at least greater regulation. Isle of Man, where online gaming giants like Microgaming and PokerStars are registered, introduced the Gambling Duties Bill in order to put into place a regulatory and supervisory framework. The French government was unsuccessful in passing a law prohibiting credit card companies and banks from transferring funds to online casinos. Sweden however is trying to get such a law passed. In the United States the Poker Players Alliance and many poker legends are advocating greater self-regulation in an attempt to overturn the UIGEA.
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