The Remote Gambling AssociationBy: Rick Balding, Wednesday February 4th 2009
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The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) was incepted on 1st of August 2005. It was formed through a merger of two existing associations of online gambling operators, namely the Association of Remote Gambling Operators (ARGO) and the Interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association (IGGBA). The objective was to ensure that the online gambling industry offered a single voice on important issues to regulators, legislators and key decision makers.
The RGA operates from London and represents the interests of remote gambling operators of Europe. Full membership of the RGA is available to those remote gambling operators that are licensed for gambling activities and operational within the European Economic Area (EEA), the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. The members of the RGA include some of the largest, licensed and stock market-listed remote gambling companies in Europe. Some of the prominent members are William Hill, Ladbrokes, PartyGaming, Victor Chandler and 888. The RGA also includes online gaming software suppliers like Microgaming, Cryptologic and Playtech. Organizations that do not meet the full membership criteria can become Affiliate Members and would receive limited support from the RGA.
The functions of the RGA are listed in its "Aims and Objectives". The RGA comes into the picture when there is a need to negotiate on behalf of the industry as a whole, particularly with trades' organizations, employer's organizations, government bodies and the media. The RGA also helps it members in litigation over the right to provide remote gambling services. In this connection one of the objectives towards which the RGA is working is the creation of a uniform remote gambling market in Europe where any operator in any country in Europe can offer his services across Europe without any hindrances.
Within its association the RGA encourages high standards of integrity and social responsibility among its members. In order to achieve this, the RGA has formulated a code of conduct, compliance with which has become a condition of membership since January 2006. The code deals with issues such as prevention of underage gambling, protection of players' interests and responsibility in advertising. A third function of the RGA is to keep its members informed of the latest developments in the remote gambling industry through in-house newspapers, magazines, periodicals and books.
One of the more important initiatives of the RGA has been the stand it has taken against the violation of international law by the United States through the enactment of the UIGEA and the persecution of non-American online gaming operators. The RGA has filed a complaint under a provision of the European Union's Trade Barriers Regulation against the United States Department of Justice challenging its discriminatory practices.
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