Established in the UK in 2003, eCOGRA stands for ‘e-Commerce Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance’ and is an internationally recognised, independent agency that specializes in the testing and certification of online gaming software and online gaming systems. They also provide compliance and independent regulatory services to around 80 of the industry’s leading operators and software publishers, including bet365, Unibet, bwin, Betclic, Microgaming, Net Entertainment and Ladbrokes. The agency has gained considerable experience by providing certification to the online gambling industry for over 12 years.
The evolution of online casinos in the 1990’s saw a massive surge in the number of online gambling operators and also players. In these early years there were many disputes and scandals which led to doubts surrounding the integrity and fairness of the whole online gaming industry. This in turn led to a huge decrease in players frequenting online establishments.
In late 2002, a group of industry professionals set about to create an agency that would regulate the online gambling industry by imposing high standards of compliance through regular independent reviews and certification. From this mindset eCOGRA was born and this resulted in many of the players who had previously lost confidence in online gaming becoming reassured that the operators and their establishments had to operate under a strict set of rules and that all games would be tested and certified for fairness. To date eCOGRA has completed more than 600 worldwide compliance reviews.
eCOGRA was established to improve the online gambling industry by introducing compliance reviews and regular audits, including the development of technical standards and compliance requirements. They also keep players informed of their rights in relation to a great number of legal issues surrounding online casinos, providing a third party mediation service for players. This legal service alone has resulted in the resolution of over 6000 cases.
Their goals as an agency include but are not limited to:
- The protection of vulnerable and underage customers
- Customer privacy and safeguarding of personal data
- The prevention of fraudulent and criminal activity
- Fair Gaming - RNG and RTP game evaluation and testing
- Customer satisfaction and the provision of legal mediation
- The provision of safe and reliable operating environments
The eCOGRA Seal of Approval
One of the most important contributions that eCOGRA has made to the online gaming industry is their official ‘Seal of Approval’. The eCOGRA seal of approval is only awarded to online casinos that have met their rigorously high standards. By becoming a member of eCOGRA, all operators agree to be compliant with all its operating standards and to be subject to regular audits to ensure that they continue to meet the level that is required of them.
An eCOGRA seal of approval ensures that online casinos have met or exceeded industry standards regarding data protection, fairness in gaming, financial due diligence, customer safety and responsible advertising. If a player has any issues with an eCOGRA approved establishment, they are able to contact eCOGRA for assistance in resolving those issues. If you play at an online casino without the eCOGRA seal of approval you are not necessarily at risk, however if you encounter any problems you are not eligible for help from an independent agency such as eCOGRA.