Posts Tagged ‘mediation’

Turning to Curacao & Cyberluck for Some Answers About Online Gambling Regulations and Dispute Resolution

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

You might recall OCS launching a blog series not too long ago about online casino transparency and raising the bar for U.S. operators in fostering player trust, not to mention getting clarification on how exactly one can tell if an online casino is offering a safe and fair hand. Well, needless to say, we have been very busy here at OCS doing all sorts of things, not the least of which is investigating player complaints posted on our forum.

We recently received a complaint from a player who is owed some big money (over $80,000) from an online casino (not listed in the OCS casino reviews directory, by the way). Considering this casino uses the same software platform as other online casinos approved here at OCS, and is licensed/regulated in a jurisdiction that governs many OCS-approved US online casinos, we decided to follow up on this complaint and see if we could get some answers to some questions that have been long overdue, not to mention helping this player get paid.

Immediately below is a copy of the email we shot off to Cyberluck NV, which is apparently the Master License holder for online casino operators regulated in Curacao (Netherlands, Antilles). We also sent an email directly to Rival Gaming Software (both emails pertaining to the above mentioned complaint). So, without further ado, here’s the email (still awaiting a response):

Hello, My name is Devon Chappell, and I am the Director of Content and head investigative journalist at the popular online casino reviews directory, http://onlinecasinosuite, aka, OCS. If you are familiar with OCS, you will know that we list a large number of Curacao-regulated online casinos in our directory, providing favorable reviews of who we consider to be the best casinos on the Web. In fact, being a high ranked portal on all the major search engines, many of these casinos receive a large share of their traffic through us.

Vegas Technology, Rival Gaming and RTG-powered online casinos are all listed in our directory, and to date, most all have have performed admirably with players, generating hardly, if any, legitimate complaints. However, since our integration of a complaints forum at the beginning of the year, we have indeed noticed a rise in complaints from players who gamble at some Curacao regulated online casinos. Perhaps this has always been happening under the radar, and now only recently coming to our attention with the application of our new forum.

As I’m sure you know, RTG Software has a dispute resolution service for players – Central Disputes. However, Vegas Technology and Rival do not have any channels for lodging a complaint to my knowledge, and neither does Curacao.

That said, it would be greatly appreciated if you could share information with myself and OCS readers regarding how online casinos are regulated in Curacao (not just licensed), and how players can lodge complaints about casinos not paying out.

I’ve heard that Antillephone NV provides regulation. Is that true? If so, perhaps we should contact them directly?

To make a long story short, we are particularly concerned with a complaint posted by one player under the username of GID88 at Rival Software powered This is Vegas Casino (which does not link to a gaminglicenses.com license validation page, by the way). This player won a jackpot worth approximately $80,000 on the slots but was denied his payout because a chargeback was made on this player’s credit card at another Rival casino (SlotoCash).

We contacted SlotoCash, and they confirmed the chargeback did indeed appear to be a security breach out of the player’s hands, and that the player, being a VIP at that, was permitted to continue playing at SlotoCash pending a freeze on his account to avoid any further security breaches. The player stuck around, the account was unfrozen, and he continued wagering with SlotoCash, only to later give ThisIsVegas Casino a try.

It now looks as if ThisIsVegas is using this “incident” as an excuse to not pay the player their rather large jackpot win. A representative from Rival Gaming Software apparently told the player that the casino’s decision is final and payout could not be forced. And yet, as I said, Rival has no channel for posting complaints on their website.

Now, I would think that the jurisdiction in which ThisIsVegas is being regulated (Curacao) would have some kind of channel for at least posting a dispute resolution request? This is certainly the case in other jurisdictions providing regulation for online casino operators.

I apologize for such a long email, especially considering this may not even be the appropriate email address for doing so. However, as I said, it is difficult finding information about how online casinos are licensed and regulated in Curacao, let alone where complaints can be posted. For example, the UK Gambling Commission has a complaints submission form directly on their website. If you could please direct me to where we can help this player file a complaint through Curacao’s channels, let alone perhaps looking into the complaint yourself, that would be greatly appreciated!

Best Regards,

Devon Chappell
Directory of Content
Investigative Journalist
http://onlinecasinosuite.com

eCOGRA Reports Less Complaints Per Approved Safe and Fair Online Casino

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
eCOGRA Reports Fewer Dispute Mediations in 2010

eCOGRA Reports Fewer Dispute Mediations in 2010

In terms of raising the standards of online casino transparency, eCOGRA has definitely achieved the most success of any other non-profit (heck, for-profit) in business today. Operating with this end in mind, eCOGRA ensures online casinos are operating fairly and responsibly, and also provides player assistance if/when dispute resolution services are needed.

The eCOGRA “Safe and Fair Seal” is bestowed to internet gaming operators who pass a comprehensive inspection and audit, and who continually meet ongoing requirements to par with government regulation. In fact, eCOGRA’s seal requirements are more stringent than many a so-called online gambling commission. In terms of building player trust, there are no better sites than eCOGRA online casinos.

Unfortunately, most, if not all online casinos boasting the eCOGRA Safe and Fair Seal are closed to U.S. players. It goes to show what happens when the government attempts to impose bans rather than regulating, and consequently, putting an end to the underground market. But that’s for another blog post.

As for eCOGRA, let’s just say they have taken the complete opposite approach and are doing their job with flying colors. As mentioned, one of eCOGRA’s tasks is to provide dispute mediation for players at eCOGRA-approved online casinos. In a perfect world, there would be no disputes whatsoever. However, we all know this isn’t a perfect world.

The fact of the matter is that online casinos AND players make mistakes. When the two sides can’t exactly agree on how to fix said mistake, that’s when eCOGRA’s Fair Gaming Advocate, Tex Rees, steps in. As reported by Rees, the first half of 2010 has thus far generated less dispute mediation requests than the same time last year. What’s even more impressive is that eCOGRA has eleven more approved online casinos than last year.

Breaking the numbers down, Rees reports there were a total of 376 complaints, of which 287 were deemed valid. The remaining 89 invalid complaints were either due to insufficient detail, irrelevance, player abuse, anonymity or pertaining to a non-eCOGRA approved online casino.

Further attesting to the sway of eCOGRA, 76% of all valid complaints were resolved within 48 hours, of which nearly half (47%) were resolved in favor of the player. 43% of the disputes were pertaining to withdrawals (down from 51%), 21% regarding bonus issues and another 21% pertaining to locked accounts.

This averages to 11.03 disputes per week, which correlates to 0.34 disputes per awarded “Safe and Fair Seal” (lower than last year’s rate of 0.37). As Rees points out in her report, these numbers must also be gauged in light with increased transactions with players.

Said Rees, “We can attribute a portion of this drop in disputes to the fact that we have now been working with many of the Seal operations for several years and as a consequence a number of policies and procedures have been developed that translate to less cause for disputes. Our operators are also better equipped and motivated to deal with disputes at the operator level, which results in eCOGRA receiving fewer complaints.”

Summing it up, Rees stated “This level of performance is satisfactory and well within the standards we have set for our operators.”

Well, considering all the complaints Online Casino Suite receives regarding non-eCOGRA approved online casinos (and non-OCS approved casinos at that), we can’t disagree. Congrats eCOGRA! Keep up the good work!

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission: Whitelisted Online Casino Regulator

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission

The Isle of Man is one of the leading licensors and regulators of online casinos today. I suppose it suffices to say they are also one of the leading reputable gaming regulatory bodies in operation. On the UK whitelist of approved jurisdictions to grant licensees the right to advertise in Great Britain, the Isle of Man holds close ties with the regulatory procedures endorsed by who many consider to be the strictest regulatory commission in the world – the UK Gambling Commission.

Geographically, the Isle of Man is not far from the UK at all. In fact, Isle of Man is part of the British Isles (between Ireland and Great Britain) and is a self-governing British crown dependency. While the UK government provides foreign relations, defense and good governance (conducting public affairs for guaranteeing the realization of human rights), Isle of Man is self-governing with a Parliament to handle all domestic affairs. In terms of taxation, Isle of Man imposes an income tax cap of 18% and a 0% corporation tax, thus making it a contender for online gaming corporations to call home.

While the number of gaming operators has varied tremendously in the Isle of Man due to restructuring, some of the biggest names in online gambling now call Isle of Man home, including top-shelf online casino software developer, Microgaming, top-shelf online bingo software developer, Virtue Fusion, and Poker Stars poker room – arguably one of the most popular online poker rooms in the world. There are currently seventeen internet gambling destinations licensed from here. Four of these properties accept wagers from U.S. residents, including Poker Stars, a forex betting site, Backgammon site and skill games room.

Specifically, it is the Gambling Supervision Commission of Isle of Man (a corporate body) that is charged with the issuing of gambling licenses and ongoing monitoring of online casinos, while the Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for overseeing all licensing and regulatory affairs. The primary legislation that enforces Isle of Man’s gambling laws is the Online Gambling Regulation Act of 2001, which contains several key amendments contained within the Gambling Amendment Act of 2006. Regulations under the Online Gambling Regulation Act of 2001 from 2007 onward, cover everything from advertising and registration to licensing fees and systems verification, can be viewed on the Gambling Supervision Commission’s Website.

As with all gambling regulatory bodies, the Gambling Supervision Commission’s core principle’s are:

  1. To keep the gambling industry crime free.
  2. To protect the young and those at risk.
  3. To ensure that the services offered by license holders are fair and that players receive their true winnings.

The commission itself is made up of a Director, Policy Officer, five (5) Gaming Inspectors and two (2) Secretaries with a combined 60 years of experience licensing and regulating gambling operations.

Player Protection Principles

To ensure that all online gambling is conducted fairly and free from crime, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission abides by the following principles:

Protection of Funds – All online casino operator licensees are required to have a system in place which ensures the protection of all player funds. This means that all deposits and withdrawals are guaranteed and protected by law. Wagered funds that have hitherto been lost are not enforceable by law.

Independent Testing – To ensure that all games proved fair odds and winnings are randomly divulges, each online casino licensee is required to have its software platform independently tested by an accredited testing facility approved by the Commission.

Ongoing Audit and Review – Current licensee holders are subjected to ongoing reviews of marketing and advertising activities, ensuring that responsible gaming standards are met.

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission has a complaints procedure for players who have exhausted all possible remediation avenues directly with an online casino operator. If no dispute remediation has been offered, contact the Commission directly at gaming@gov.im, providing the full details of your complaint, all supporting documents, the name of the operator, your account user name and contact information.

If remediation has been offered by a license holder and you are not satisfied with the terms, the independent arbitration service, Independent Betting Adjudication Services (IBAS), should be contacted. All licensees of regulatory jurisdictions are required to name an external adjudication service as part of their licensing requirements, and IBAS is an internationally recognized leader in this field.