London, 25 February 2008 - Tex Rees, the Fair Gaming Advocate for player protection and standards body eCOGRA has released her report for 2007, showing that the majority (68 percent) of legitimate complaints handled by her office were settled in favour of the player.
eCOGRA oversees the online gambling activities of some 120 tier one online casinos and poker rooms owned by some of the biggest and most established operators on the Internet, and makes available a dispute resolution service to players at those sites which have been awarded eCOGRA’s “Safe and Fair” seal.
During 2007 a total of 783 complaints were received, up on the previous year. However 93 of these were in respect of sites outside the eCOGRA sphere of influence and could therefore not be handled. A further 45 were invalid by reason of insufficient information or irrelevant enquiry.
Settlements in favour of the player were reached in over 68 percent of the 645 valid and legitimate complaints with the main causes listed as:
• Payout problems (47 percent)
• Bonus issues (28 percent)
• Locked accounts (21 percent) and
• Miscellaneous (4 percent)
The average dispute per site per month remained at less than one half of one percent.
“The number of valid disputes received increased over the past year, and I believe this is a result of players becoming more aware of our mediation service and our ability to respond quickly in achieving a fair outcome," says Rees.
"Resolutions in favour of the player reached 68 percent, and there appear to have been fewer chancers submitting questionable complaints in 2007. I suspect that this is because there is a greater awareness that complaints will be thoroughly investigated in pursuit of a fair and unbiased resolution.
"It is once again very reassuring to note that the average number of valid disputes received per approved site per month remains particularly low at 0.44 percent. This is a clear indication that the approved operators, together with eCOGRA, are being effective in meeting the need for fair gaming, player protection and responsible operator behaviour.”
"Operators have responded in a fast and cooperative manner to those cases where I have requested information and explanations, and have been quick to respect my findings in each case."
The Fair Gaming Advocate maintained an enviable average response time of less than 72 hours on complaints.
eCOGRA sets online gambling standards and provides an international framework for best operational and player protection practice requirements. These are enforced through inspections and reviews, and continuous monitoring.
Companies that have achieved accreditation with eCOGRA are entitled to bear the organisation's "Safe and Fair" seal, indicating to players everywhere that all operational systems and games are continuously monitored to consistently high standards.
eCOGRA's independent directors determine which operators qualify for the seal. These directors are Bill Galston, OBE, retired Chief Inspector for the Gaming Board of Great Britain; Bill Henbrey, former head of gaming services at leading international accounting firm BDO; Frank Catania, former Assistant Attorney General and Director of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement; as well as Michael Hirst, OBE, a former board member of Ladbroke Group Plc, and formerly Chairman and CEO of Hilton International.
Accreditation remains open to all software companies and their operators. For more information, go to www.ecogra.org