Posts Tagged ‘online gambling fairness’

TST Online Casino Fairness Certifications: How to Tell if a Casino is Truly Fair?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Here’s another letter sent to TST – one of the more active “Fairness Certifiers” of online casinos. While this has no intention of making out TST to be a shill (TST is an established, reputable company) the bottom line is that something needs to be done in regards to how players can truly tell if an online casino is indeed certified for fairness. It would seem that many online casinos are riding off the credibility of the TST logo, and TST is doing nothing about it…..

BEGIN LETTER

To Whom it May Concern,

This email is a collective question from a number of online gaming affiliates who are beginning to question the authenticity of online casinos boasting TST accreditations, not to mention the due diligence of TST itself.

For example, there is a growing, large percentage of online casinos that have the TST logo on their homepages, and yet do not link to a certificate.

Whose to say these sites are actually TST certified?

Additionally, there are several Top Game casinos linking to so-called documents, which in effect are nothing self-written press releases.

These documents may look legit to a newbie online gambler, but this is essentially a press release anyone could create with a text editor.

And then, there are sites linking to valid TST certificates for Real Time Gaming Software, which albeit is valid for RTG, yet is not necessarily for the online casino.

http://rm.cdnng.net/certification_letter.pdf

Many of the online casinos that are linking to the above document, are based out of Costa Rica, where there is no ongoing regulation and monitoring. Sure, RTG’s software platform is fair – but that doesn’t mean the casino hasn’t gone in and changed the source code. Only unless there is monthly auditing can this be detected.

Personally, I think TST should be doing more about this, whether it be better policing of who displays the TST logo or creating a Web page that lists which casinos and software providers are indeed TST certified, and providing a distinction between the two. Online casinos should not be allowed to link to a certificate for the software provider, when the casinos themselves are not even being regulated.

Quite frankly, we believe this shines a negative light on TST, and until something is done about this, we will be getting the message out there across blogs and forums.

Your response addressing this matter is appreciated and will be considered in regards to updates on the matter. If TST bills itself to be an “internationally recognized” testing facility, and “one of the world’s most experienced gaming test labs”, don’t you think the players – who essentially keep you in business – deserve more transparency?

END LETTER

We will update this post with a response from TST. If you are an affiliate reading this, please do your part and write your own email or forward this one to tst@tstglobal.com.

The Future of Online Casino Gambling: Live Dealer Online Casinos Part I

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Cute dealers and real time video feeds? Could it possibly get even better!?

Cute dealers and real time video feeds? Could it possibly get even better!?

Let me just get straight to the point – The future of online gambling is live dealer online casinos. No, really. And I don’t use the word “future” lightly. I mean really, really think about it – the future, that is. Ten, twenty, thirty years down the road there is no denying that the landscape of online gambling will have shifted. And I dare say it will have shifted to more of a personal – okay I’ll just say it – live experience.

Now, I don’t mean live strictly in the sense of something happening in real time, although this is part of it. I also mean live in the sense that real, live dealers are actually on the other end of your real time wager. While this niche sector of the igaming industry is certainly not as booming and thriving as traditional RNG online casino gambling (that is, online casinos powered by software programmed with a Random Number Generator) or even mobile online gaming, it is popular enough to warrant an increasing number of dedicated live dealer gaming solutions companies.

Admittedly, RNG online casinos are still very popular with bettors – so much so that many bettors still choose these over the live dealer online casino. While it may seem as if the former is the better option, I beg to differ that it is simply for lack of familiarity, or in some case – simply a Web cam – that most internet bettors still opt for traditional RNG online casinos. Granted, there is also the fact that online gambling is still illegal in many countries, including the USA, as well as the consideration that many bettors enjoy the autonomy online gambling affords.

Still, the human component cannot be denied. Just take a look at self-checkout grocery stations.  Most people, if given the option of two empty grocery lines – one manned by a real live person and the other a self-checkout lane – will go with the lane that has a clerk. I know, for one, I do so at my local drug store. In fact, I was just there tonight – where an experience actually prompted me to write this article. When the clerk had to walk over to check the ID of a person buying beer at the self-checkout, someone in line called out, “That’s why we need people”.

Sure, in this capacity, the clerk was serving in a security capacity and overseeing the functioning of the checkout station – which could be viewed as akin to a customer service rep at an RNG online casino making security checks or telling you when to expect your withdrawal. That’s one thing which RNG online casinos, or any business for that matter, simply cannot do without – customer service.

Live dealer online casinos will no doubt still need to offer live customer service. However, it is in the actual operations of the business, where the presence of real, live people makes the difference. Especially in an industry where trust is key to earning business, actually seeing your cards dealt from a full deck that has been shuffled before your eyes, attended by a real person, certainly carries more trust than a software program divvying out hand results which could or could not be rigged. Of course, it’s not that simple. Properly accredited and regulated RNG online casinos guarantee a fair hand.

Another factor which will have more play in the popularity of live dealer online casino gambling, is the innovation of evolving technology, which is happening right now as we speak. Remember when I said to really, really look into the future. Well, do it again. When you’re done, come back to Read the Second Part of this post (….coming soon)

Do You Know 100% for Sure You’re Getting a Fair Hand at Online Casinos?

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

I don’t want to be one to gloss things over or shy away from accepting the “big picture”, so let me just say that many a U.S. online gambler is getting ripped off and doesn’t even know it.

How’s that you ask? How could I ever know such a thing unless I myself was doing or taking part in said ripping off? Well then, for all of you who would find it hard to believe that an unregulated online casino would do such a thing as steal money from under your nose, I beseech you to break out the smelling salts.

While the internet certainly breeds a convenience factor for online gamblers, not to mention all sorts of “free” promotions, the sheer fact that anyone can launch an online casino from just about anywhere in the world, means there’s a greater chance of coming across a shady enterprise.

This is nowhere more apparent than the waves of business activity that befall the still-in-demand U.S. internet betting market. Even with the dropping out of the top online casino software developers from the American market, there have been plenty of online casinos to sprout from thin air and take in millions of dollars from the coffers of gambling hungry Americans.

And no, not all of them are doing so honestly. If you look thoroughly enough at an online casino’s website, there is a good chance you will find something about “fairness”. I mean, let’s face it, you should, should you not? Any online casino that doesn’t brag about it’s fair odds isn’t doing much to earn player trust.

However, saying the games are fair isn’t enough – at least not in today’s unregulated American market. Sure, if the casino was being regulated by an esteemed gambling commission, this would speak for itself. However, even those online casinos which are regulated in strict jurisdictions are still forthright with their credentials and ongoing performance on the odds front. In other words, making payout percentage reports available for perusal should be a given.

However, many a so-called US online casino does not publish monthly payout reports, nor provide details about their regulatory requirements.

Now, some people will point out this doesn’t necessarily mean the online casino is cheating anyone. One could theorize that if an online casino never paid it’s players out, it would eventually go out of business due to word of mouth. However, the grim reality is that online casino operators have the capability of changing the software source code and subjecting players to unfair odds. That way, nobody gets paid out because there is no money to be paid out.

In a way, online gambling is like living in New York City. A slum lord doesn’t care if you move out and proclaim to everyone how sleazy of a landlord he is. The slum lord knows there will be another commuter, another transient, another life coming and going through the city that never sleeps, and who will rent out your old apartment, never the wiser…that is, until the person reaches the day in which the truth of the landlord becomes clear…and the vicious cycles repeats itself yet again.

So what’s the big deal about publishing a monthly payout report anyway? If you ask me, to not publish a payout report is prone to cause suspicion. What is the online casino hiding? Why are they holding back? I mean, come on, it’s not that difficult to have a payout report published. Apparently, these online casinos do not honor the concept of earning player trust, but rather, are in the business of taking money from uneducated bettors. But you can’t really blame ’em, can you. If players are willing to cough up their money, no questions asked, of course they are going to take it.

Remember, lot’s of these online casinos are not even being properly regulated. There certainly are a handful of honest operators, who despite not being required to meet certain regulatory standards, do so anyway on their own accord. These online casinos are the minority, however. The fact of the matter is that the other 90% of US facing online casinos could or could not be offering a safe and fair hand. Do you want to take that risk? Or would you rather get educated first. If it’s the latter, by all means, stick around here at OCS. Join our Online Casino Forum and start asking questions.

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!

Go Casino and Online Vegas Publishing CFG Monthly Payout Reports by Jacobson Gaming

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

CFG-SealThere’s no doubt you’ve heard of Go Casino and Online Vegas Casino, especially if you’ve surfed amongst the pages here at OCS. Rated in the Top 10 of all online casinos approved and reviewed at OCS, Online Vegas and Go Casino have endured the test of time and earned a fantastic track record with players from all around the world, including the USA. Owned and managed by the same company, Curacao-based Favian International N.V., Go Casino and Online Vegas are an exemplary definition of self-imposed transparency.

What I mean by this, is that unlike other online casinos which either lack in transparency completely (i.e., many of the gaming establishments based in Costa Rica) or are mandated to maintain a high standard of transparency (i.e., eCOGRA approved online casinos), Go Casino and Online Vegas hold themselves up to their own high standard of transparency.

So, what exactly do I mean when I say “transparent”? Well, first and foremost, a transparent online casino is one which does not just tell it’s customers how safe and fair they are, but provides documents prepared by recognized and accredited third parties attesting the same. The three most important documents you, the player, should always look for is a validation seal provided by the authority in charge of regulating the online casino, a software fairness seal attesting to the inherent fairness and proper functioning of the Random Number Generator (RNG) programmed into the software, and lastly, monthly payout percentage reports.

It’s important to have all three of these documents, or at least the first and the third, because a software validation seal alone does not guarantee the online casino isn’t tweaking the source code from month to month, especially when the casino is not being strictly regulated or not regulated at all (as is the case in Costa Rica). The payout percentage report essentially tells all.

That said, after the “glowing” introduction for Go Casino and Online Vegas, it should go without saying that these two online casinos have all three of these documents to show for. And the great thing about it all, is that they aren’t even required to do so. Is that a gesture of good faith, or what? While Go Casino and Online Vegas are certainly regulated on an ongoing basis (through the Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority; Netherlands, Antilles), until recently, they were not even required to link to a regulatory validation seal. Now, you can see that seal on the homepage of both casinos (as can you at all online casinos licensed in Curacao).

What’s even better, is that both Go Casino and Online Vegas are now publishing monthly payout percentage reports prepared by the esteemed independent software testing house, Certified Fair Gambling (Jacobson Gaming), which is overseen by mathematics and analysis expert, Dr. Eliot Jacobson (jacobsongaming.com), and whose associates include the likes of actuary, Michael Shackelford (The Wizard of Odds). They also hold credentials attesting to the inherent fairness of their licensed software platform: Vegas Technology.

So, just what do the numbers say, pray tell? See them for yourself! Here is the pdf document for the Go Casino June 2010 Payout Report and the Online Vegas June 2010 Payout Report. In the future, just click the CGF logo on the homepage of both casinos to see the most current payout reports.

This is pretty huge folks, especially for Vegas Technology Software. I can probably count the number of U.S. focused online casinos actually publishing monthly payout reports on one hand – and Go Casino and Online Vegas are two of them.

Now, this isn’t to say that other online casinos are not offering a fair hand or even receiving monthly audits. It’s simply that they are not taking the extra step to publicly share this information with their players and prospective players, at that. This is what online casino operator transparency is all about – and it’s something that we here at OCS will continue to urge other online casinos to step up. Currently, we are directing our efforts to encourage a number of highly rated RTG, Rival and Top Game-powered online casinos to publish monthly payouts.

In the meantime, OCS highly encourages prospective players to visit Go Casino and Online Vegas to claim thousands in free welcome bonus money, free tournament entries, staking a claim at over $410,000 in guaranteed tournament winnings for the month, and yes, getting a safe and fair hand. Read the OCS Go Casino Review and Online Vegas Review for more information.

The Lack of Transparency of Technical Systems Testing (TST) Online Casino Fairness Certifications

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Handing out RNG Certifications Quick and Easy, but so what?

Handing out RNG Certifications Quick and Easy, but so what?

First off, let me just say that I’m in somewhat of a bad mood. Therefore, if I come across as a little caustic and biting in regards to what I’m about to pontificate on, you’ll know it’s not entirely without merit. Heck, I’m probably not giving myself enough credit, considering I’m generally a very nice guy. Living here in Brooklyn, NY, some people would even say “too nice”. In other words, I think many of you may very well agree that I have a goddamn right to be pissed off.

Let’s begin then, shall we? So, about a month ago, the team here at Online Casino Suite (small but powerful, let me tell ya) decided to start an in-depth blog series uncovering the finer points of online gambling regulation. In particular, we thought it would be most helpful to explore the range of independent fairness certifications being awarded to online casinos regulated in “iffy” jurisdictions or those not receiving any regulation whatsoever, i.e., Costa Rica. I’ve said this a million times over, but I guess one can’t say it enough – Costa Rica does not regulate online casinos. They simply hand out business licenses. Woo Hoo! Go Costa Rica! Right?

Anyhow, we decided to contact these online casino software “fairness certifiers” one by one, asking them if they would be so kind to explain just how far these certifications can guarantee a safe hand, and depending on the type of certification and the regulatory jurisdiction, whether or not some online casinos are potentially offering less fair odds than others.

The big software fairness certifiers – as you may already know – are Technical Systems Testing, Certified Fair Gaming, Gambling Associates, Price Waterhouse Coopers, BMM International and eCOGRA. And of course, many of the top government-run regulatory jurisdictions, such as the UK, Gibraltar and Malta, do certifying of their own.

Of all of these aforementioned companies, we decided to start with Technical Systems Testing, otherwise known as TST – the main reason being that we have come across more irregularities with online casinos boasting a certification with TST. For example, the most popular group of online casinos operating on the Top Game Software platform, Rome Partners, sports a TST fairness logo on the homepage of their sites. However, not only does this logo link to a press release from nearly a year ago (not an actual certification), the press release describes an accreditation of the Top Game software platform, not of each individual online casino.

Why does this matter? Well, for one, it is unclear which regulatory jurisdictions allow online casino operators to change the source code of their RNG. This is essentially what delivers a fair hand or more or less fair hand. So, for an online casino “licensed” in Costa Rica, where ongoing audits are not enforced, a TST certification of the software platform means absolutely nothing. The online casino operator could very well go in and change the source code at any time.

I dare anyone to challenge me on this and explain how this is NOT possible. Believe me, I’m not saying I know without a doubt. But where’s the information pointing to the contrary. Nobody is taking the time to explain anything. And to be honest, it should be freakin’ TST!!!! They’re supposedly handing out the certification, are they not? But guess what? All TST wants is for Online Casino Suite to do a positive write-up about them.

So ya, after contacting them with these questions, they replied and said these were “very good” questions, albeit the answers to said “very good questions” would be lengthy and require some time to prepare. They then proceeded to suggest a phone conversation as an alternative, but have since stopped replying to our emails to set up such a phone conversation.

So, where are you TST? Can you please explain the validity of your certifications? Can you please explain why online casinos like Rushmore Casino, Silver Oak, Aladdin’s Gold are not given a certificate to link to, but just simply say they are TST Certified. I’m not saying they are not – All of the aforementioned online casinos are great in my book. But where’s the transparency? It’s freakin’ ridiculous that a company as global as TST (tstglobal.com) does not have a policy in effect governing how casinos may or may not display a TST certified logo.

So, please get in touch with me, TST – devonchappell [at] onlinecasinosuite.com. In the meantime, I’m onto the next phase of this blog series and will be contacting Certified Fair Gambling (CFG), which also just so happens to accredit a large number of U.S. facing online casinos. Maybe they can provide some better answers. Or should I say, answers period?

The Basic Things you Should Know About Fraud at Online Casinos

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Why you should never auto-save your online casino password; Graphic by Lethalman

Why you should never auto-save your login password; Credit:Lethalman

For those people who still don’t trust in the act of making financial transactions over the internet, I have to admit, I can’t entirely blame them. Of course, there are fail-proof ways of securely keeping your money safe on the Web.

Take online banking, for example. Do you really think that banks would dare allow account holders online access if there was even the slightest probability of being hacked? Now, what you do with your money outside of your bank is another matter altogether. And yes, that’s where the fraud that does take place online, well…takes place.

As for online casinos, yes, cases of fraud have occurred.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all online casinos pose the possibility of you becoming a victim of fraud. For the sake of this article, I won’t go into great detail about the technological implications in preventing fraud, albeit I will say that all of the online casinos approved and reviewed here at Online Casino Suite use the same technology that the leading financial institutions use to secure and protect the accounts of their customers. Furthermore, the best online casinos have a full-time fraud prevention and detection team, solely working to ensure all transactions are legitimate.

This is precisely why you must fill out a credit/withdrawal faxback authorization form before requesting your first withdrawal at an online casino. Management does not use this information to pull money out your account or sell you personal information, but simply uses it as a proven, effective system to ensure you are indeed the person you say that you are, and consequently, that the money you are requesting to withdrawal is indeed yours!

So, next time you find yourself incurring a slight delay on a withdrawal, don’t automatically assume the online casino is trying to jip you. Depending on your residential jurisdiction, the approval process can take longer than expected. Just know that if you stick to playing at reputable, accredited online casinos, you have nothing to worry.

Of course, you can’t just go around anywhere on the internet giving out your credit card number. As I said, online fraud does indeed take place. Just because an online casino says it is safe and secure and processed billions in transactions, does not mean it’s true. Always verify that the online casino in question is indeed regulated and undergoes audits on a regular basis. Even better, ensure the casino is licensing a reputable software platform that uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) firewalls to protect your personal information and processes transactions with a minimum of 128-bit encryption.

Online Casino Fairness 101: Turning to eCOGRA for Some Answers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

fist

How about a fair fist! Demand transparency from online casinos!

I don’t know about everyone else out there, but I have to say that I am increasingly becoming frustrated with the uncertainty of getting a fair hand online gambling these days. With more and more online casinos boasting software fairness accreditation claims, yet no mention of monthly payout reports, I’m beginning to wonder what is really going on behind closed doors.

Maybe there’s other affiliate portal sites out there wondering the same. The only thing is that I don’t hear anybody asking the tough questions that need to be asked. Well then, no more I say! And who better to help the industry with these answers than the purveyor of the highest fairness and transparency standards out there today: eCOGRA.

That said, I, Devon Chappell (on behalf of Online Casino Suite), have decided to start a blog series that takes a close look at how online casinos are regulated in the various jurisdictions out there. By means of writing emails to the necessary parties that can aid in our enlightenment (such as eCOGRA), and then publishing consequent correspondences, our aim is to better educate players. I can’t say if we’ll get the answers we want, but you can’t knock the intent!

Without further ado, email #1:  Legitimacy of Software Fairness Certificates (such as TST & CFG) and the Absence of Payout Reports

Dear eCOGRA,

This is Devon Chappell with Online Casino Suite. We are an eCOGRA approved portal site and would first of all like to thank you for all of your hard work in raising the standards for the online gambling industry. Speaking of which, that is precisely why I am writing today. My question does not necessarily pertain to eCOGRA specifically, yet I could hardly think of a better organization suited to know the correct information. We truly take great pride in being advocates for players, which we believe should include educating them about how it is they actually receive a safe and fair wager online – not just telling them they will get a safe and fair bet.

I understand if you don’t have the time to address these questions. However, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

I’m fully aware of how the RNG works to deliver fair and random betting results, as well as the basic principle behind source code. However, what I’m not sure about is how exactly this interplays with regulation – more specifically, ongoing regulation. I am also unclear about these online casinos claiming to be approved by Technical Systems Testing, CFG or the like. Many of these online casinos don’t even link to certificates, and of those that do, the certificates are generally from a few years back and only state the name of the software and not the online casino. And, you certainly can’t find certificates at the websites of the folks handing out the certificates themselves!

That being said, I was hoping you could help answer these questions:

Does a fairness accreditation of the software necessarily mean the casino is fair, especially if said casino is regulated in a jurisdiction where source code changes are permitted? Would the casino then need to have an accreditation specifically for its own licensed platform – and a monthly one at that?

How does one know if they are getting a fair wager if an online casino does not have any payout percentage reports to show for?

Lastly, does anyone at eCOGRA know anything about the regulatory protocols of Curacao (Netherlands, Antilles)? We have a few online casinos listed at Online Casino Suite that are licensed in Curacao; however, for the life of us, we can’t find any official website that goes into details about the regulatory protocols here. It’s been said that the Netherlands Department of Justice does an initial due-diligence investigation, and we’ve also come across a “master licensor” known as Cyberluck, yet nothing is said as to how ongoing regulation is maintained.

We’ve heard that, depending on the regulatory jurisdiction, online casino operators are permitted to change their source code. Of course, so long as all the numbers match up come audit time, there is nothing wrong with that.  Do you know which – if any – of the non-UK whitelisted regulatory jurisdictions out there allow online casino operators to change source code? Kahnawake? Antigua? Curacao?

Honestly, Online Casino Suite is not so much concerned about the UK gambling commission and its white-listed jurisdictions, such as Alderney and Gibraltar. However, we are particularly concerned about some of the other jurisdictions out there. Also, we do not know if eCOGRA works closely with TST, but we are beginning to have our doubts about the legitimacy of their logo accreditation. I have tried contacting them to discuss these issues to no avail. And yet, they allow online casinos to display the TST approved logo – but with no actual accreditation to show for. The Rome Partners network of online casinos, including Rome Casino herself (highly reputable, all things considered), still links to a press release from almost a year ago, stating they are approved by TST – but there’s no accreditation to show for!

Sorry to get off track and making this long-winded, however, I am getting very frustrated with the industry! Thank you so much again for everything you guys do, and I pray for the day when regulation will open in the U.S. and Online Casino Suite can promote the hell out of eCOGRA and eCOGRA approved online casinos to the U.S. gaming community!

Dear eCOGRA, Thanks for listening.

Best Regards,

Devon Chappell

Casino Affiliate Programs Community Certification Proving a Success

Friday, April 30th, 2010
CAP: Joining Hands to Make Sure Everybody Gets Paid!

CAP: Joining Hands to Make Sure Everybody Gets Paid!

Earlier this year, OCS reported on the newly launched CAP Community Certification, which for anyone needing a refresher, is a new system that allows affiliates to have a say on which online casino affiliate programs are given a green light to become a “CAP Listed Program”. In other words, instead of allowing just any new affiliate programs to purchase a listing with CAP, prospective affiliate programs must first go through the 10,000+ affiliates composing what amounts to the largest business generator for the vast majority of online casinos today.

A noble and innovative approach for approving affiliate programs (to say the least), OCS is happy to report CAP’s new community certification program is off and running and has thus far been a major success. But before explaining exactly how the program works, let me first take a paragraph or two or there or four to explain what an affiliate program is for anyone not in the know. Sorry all you industry folk out there who may consider this child’s play, but OCS is first and foremost dedicated to the player community.

That said, let me explain what a casino affiliate program is. If you haven’t noticed already, when you do a search on any of the major search engines to find a new online casino to play at, you have a better chance of coming across a portal site dedicated to reviewing and promoting certain online casinos than you will actual online casinos. This is great in the sense that many of these review portals serve as a one-stop shop for finding the best online casinos to play at, although there is a chance you will come across some bias while doing so.

The reason being is that all of these review sites are affiliates of the casinos they promote. What that means is that for every referred player, the affiliate gets paid. There are different types of revenue sharing deals, but for the sake of this article, let’s just say that it’s in the financial interests of the affiliates to refer players. Of course, this poses a conflict of interest when it comes time to being “objective” in an affiliate review of an online casino. However, there are so many online casinos vying for affiliate promotion (considering its the affiliate websites that generally dominate the search engine rankings), that it is within the interests of the online casinos to run a reputable and trustworthy business operation.

In other words, the leading affiliate portals in business today are dedicated to only promoting those online casinos which can be trusted to pay their player, which in effect, means the affiliates themselves stand to be paid for their referrals. Considering the competition that is out there, the affiliate business model lends itself for affiliates to promote online casinos which are going to generate positive customer ratings and testimonials. In effect, this means they will stand to gain more business in the future. With all of the player forums and watchdog affiliate sites (like OCS) out there, rogue online casinos simply do not have a chance to thrive. Rip off the first player, that’s the fault of the online casino. Rip off a second player, that’s the fault of the second player! Get my drift?

That said, when a casino affiliate program gets approved by CAP’s cmmunity (which requires at least an 80% approval rating), there is a VERY good chance the online casino being promoted by said affiliate program is going to be a solid place to wager real money at. It definitely ensures the online casino holds all of the necessary regulatory credentials to guarantee a safe and fair wager online. Before, when the approval process was based simply on being able to afford paid advertising, there was a greater chance of the affiliate program not turning out on the up-and-up.

In order to be eligible for a CAP community certification, an online casino affiliate program must hold a regular listing with CAP for a period of at least six months and must have a dedicated affiliate manager for handling affiliate relations. Voting lasts for a period of one month, followed by a tally of the approval rating. If, as mentioned, at least 80% of the tallied votes approve of the affiliate program, a CAP Community Certification Seal will be awarded to the affiliate program, which will also be listed in an exclusive section on the CAP website. To date, seven affiliate programs have been approved, including that which manages U.S. facing Doyle’s Casino. Five additional programs are currently up for voting.

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New Online Casino Review at OCS Qualifies for Homepage Listing

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There’s a new face in the online casino reviews directory here at OCS. In fact, this highly rated Rival Gaming powered online casino even made it to the OCS homepage. How’s that, you ask? What gives one online casino homepage precedence over another? Heck, as strict as we are at granting listings in our reviews directory, period, how is it that some online casinos are listed, while others – albeit equally qualified – are not.

Errrrrrrrrrr!!!!! (sound of screeching car tires) Hold it right there! What’s that you say? Two equally qualified online casinos may not get equal exposure here at OCS? One may not even get any exposure at all? Well, pray do tell, what gives?

First of all, these are some great questions. How do you know that we aren’t a conglomerate working on behalf of all the online casinos listed at OCS? For that matter, how do you know we are not Russian spy’s working on behalf of the President Pootin (I mean Putin) and his submissive love buddy ice skating pal, Evgeny Plushenko (who won the gold medal in Vancouver, by the way)? Seriously though, this would entail a conflict of interest and some serious bias would it not? And as much as I want to say, “Rest assured, OCS does not work for any of the online casinos listed on our site”, we fully understand that the most skeptic of the skeptics still might have some reservations trusting our word.

That’s why we always encourage our skeptic readers to do some further research and find out what others are saying about a particular online casino. And believe me, there is plenty of information out there. Google is your best friend! The only thing is that much of this information isn’t backed up, but is simply hot air. That’s precisely why you will find lengthy and detailed reviews of each of the online casinos listed at OCS. Not hot air, mind you, but rather, facts and objective observations.

But this still doesn’t necessarily explain why two equally qualified online casinos may not get the same amount of exposure on our reviews pages, does it not? Well, here’s the thing. OCS is not a directory of online casinos. In other words, we are not exhaustive, as opposed to a site like Online Casino City, which albeit, more exhaustive, does not provide the detail and comprehensive nature which our reviews provide. If we comprehensively reviewed every online halfway decent online casino in business today, we would be more like the Wikipedia of online casinos and overwhelm our readers with too many choices.

The other aspect you must consider is that while two online casinos are equally qualified in their credentials, that does not mean they are equal in areas of bonuses, payouts, customer service, loyalty rewards and a host of other factors. OCS takes into consideration the overall package. Believe us – It’s not about money. That’s precisely why we don’t accept paid advertising.

And yes, we take into consideration the fact that some online casinos are more willing to work with us than others. This is a good thing, for our selectiveness gives us more say when dealing with potential player complaints. Online casino operators know how hard it is to get listed at OCS. They would be foolish to not amicably deal with player complaints that potentially come through OCS. In other words, they are more willing to work things out with players when OCS is involved. When our referred players are happy, that makes us happy. Mind you, that doesn’t mean we are always going to take the side of the player. But if there is a dispute, a lag in customer service or any grey issue that needs resolving, we will always jump to the defense of the player.

In conclusion (let’s bring this back full circle, shall we?), that new addition to the OCS online casinos reviews section and homepage I talked about in the intro paragraph, certainly qualifies for a featured listing at OCS. The site is none other than Ruby Royal Casino, and as mentioned, is a licensee of Rival Gaming software. There are many Rival Gaming licensees in business today, and here at OCS we have just six Rival Gaming powered online casinos listed on our site. They all stand out for different reasons – And for Ruby Royal, it’s the fact they are the first – and currently – only Rival online casino to be given an operator TST approval.

For those not familiar with what a TST approval is, it means that the Ruby Royal Casino software platform has undergone extensive testing to ensure it is safe, fair and cannot be manipulated. TST, by the way, is an internationally recognized software testing facility. Furthermore, Ruby Royal Casino submits itself to ongoing payout audits, thus confirming payout percentages, which are verified by the actual TST reports linked through the Ruby Royal website. Considering the history of Ruby’s management team – Bonne Chance NV/Silverstone Overseas Ltd (which has been in business for nearly ten years), and the promotions offered at Ruby Royal – 200% up to $1,000 Free Welcome Bonus on a single deposit with 15x play-through – it’s pretty obvious to us that Ruby Royal Casino deserves to be on the OCS homepage.

For more information, read the OCS Ruby Royal Casino Review