The eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance organization is a non-profit that styles itself as the “independent standards authority of the online gaming industry, specifically overseeing fair gaming, player protection and responsible operator conduct.” eCOGRA, as this organization is commonly known, has the same key concerns as players: timely payments, secure storage of information, random games, truthful advertising, and responsible behavior by the online casino and poker room operator.
The organization was established in 2002 by Microgaming and 888.com. Using software from over 20 leading developers, it has reviewed scores of sites. Approved online casinos and poker rooms display the group’s “Safe and Fair” seal, and are subject to its player dispute mediation service. Andrew Beveridge is currently the CEO of eCOGRA, and the board of directors helping him fight online casino fraud includes Frank Catania, Bill Galston OBE, Bill Henbrey, Michael Hirst OBE, John Anderson of 888.com, Chris Hobbs of Microgaming Software Systems and Oliver Eckel of Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG.
Legitimate concerns about casino hackers prompted the establishment of the group, whose founding members, Microgaming Software Systems Ltd. and Virtual Holdings Ltd., take in over 70% of casino-style betting on the Internet. How comforting to know you can finally search for the Players’ Seal of Approval and have fun, knowing these issues are constantly verified and rechecked by an internationally known accounting firm like PriceWaterhouseCoopers rather than trying to settle on which “good casino”/ “bad casino” list might be on target.
The Play it Safe Seal is granted to operators that completely meet the group’s strict criteria for player protection, fair gaming and responsible operator conduct. In a bid to stamp out online casino fraud, certified sites are regulated and scrutinized to ensure:
• Fair gaming practices
• Timely and efficient payouts
• Speedy dispute resolution
Players can be certain that the above-mentioned concerns have been adequately dealt with, and that they are playing secure games, once an online casino has the Seal of Approval. Such online casinos are less likely to cause disputes and offer a more hospitable playing environment. There are over 100 online casinos and over 20 online poker rooms that bear the Seal of Approval.