On the back of a boom in online poker top quality poker rooms and networks will now be able to demonstrate their adherence to best practices by undergoing a rigorous independent assessment designed to give more protection to the player and improved efficiencies to operators.
eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) is introducing a set of generally accepted practices for online poker rooms on the same basis that have been successfully implemented at 44 top Internet casinos over the past two years, developing practical inspection and monitoring regimes through independent and outsourced professional services in the process.
'The online poker sector is growing at an unprecedented rate, and there is a clear need for sensible and properly implemented regulation that will improve poker room performance and service to the playing community,' says eCOGRA CEO Andrew Beveridge. 'Improved service means more customer satisfaction and better business.
'This is the first self-regulation of online poker, and we have been active for the past year in consulting with a wide range of experts to frame a range of Generally Accepted Practices (eGAP) that are relevant and effective. These embrace operational imperatives like fast and efficient payouts, player dispute procedures, fair gaming tenets, efficiency in customer support and relationships, marketing and operator probity.
'The next step will be for software providers and operators prepared to commit to the Poker eGAP to submit to eCOGRA's compliance inspections that are independently carried out by an audit panel including globally respected firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers. If they are successful in passing this, the eCOGRA Seal will be awarded but ongoing monitoring and reviews will be regular occurrences.
'We expect that, as is the case with casinos, players will recognise the benefits of playing at regulated poker rooms where they have independent dispute facilities in the unlikely event of any difficulties'
Already various prominent poker software companies and operational poker rooms have expressed a strong interest to submit their systems and procedures for assessment.
eCOGRA is a non-profit, non-partisan body with a full time staff in London, England. Founded by major online software and casino operator groups in early 2002, the organisation spent considerable time researching the concept of player protection with experts throughout the world before constructing a working set of requirements essential to fair and efficient gambling operations, together with an independent inspection and monitoring system for enforcement. The first online casinos were accredited early in 2004, and since then a steady stream of online casinos has committed to the eCOGRA ideals and achieved Seal status.
The eGAP requirements, inspection and monitoring and the award of Seals are the responsibility of independent directors on the eCOGRA Board, all of whom are well known and highly respected gambling industry personalities.
For full details please visit www.ecogra.org.
Issued by: Andrew Beveridge, CEO
Date: 29 September 2004
Telephone: +44 20 7887 1480
Note for Editors:
eCOGRA is a privately funded, non-profit self-regulatory initiative supported by leading software providers and top operators with the goals of player protection in an unregulated industry, and fair, efficient online gambling practice.
Approved gambling sites are identified by a seal, and commit to a set of internationally formulated operational requirements which are independently enforced through inspection and monitoring by major international business groups. The infrastructure includes a Fair Gaming Advocate for any player disputes that cannot be resolved at operator level.