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Online Casino News - February, 2008

eCOGRA Releases 2007 Online Casino Disputes Report

by Devon Chapell, News Staff Writer

February 27, 2007

eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, adoringly known as eCOGRA to the online gambling community at large, has issued it's end of year report citing disputes and complaints for 2007. Fair gambling and player advocate for eCOGRA, Tex Rees, prepared the report, which looks promising in light of eCOGRA's non-profit mission to protect players and ensure fair gaming standards are met by its approved online casino operators.

For anyone unfamiliar with eCOGRA, it's important to understand just how important the service they provide actually is. eCOGRA issues "Play it Safe" Seals to online casino operators who meet strict standards of compliance in the areas of fair gaming and customer service. Not only must operators meet initial requirements at the time of applying for the seal, they are continuously monitored for continued compliance. This entails submitting their software data logs for monthly payout verification reports, as well working with eCOGRA mediators if and when player disputes or complaints arise.

Considering that eCOGRA oversees some 120 online casinos (see our eCOGRA Casinos page for reviews of Online Casino Suite's top-rated eCOGRA approved sites), not to mention the fact that all of these sites have thousands of active online gamblers, it would be easy to conclude that Ms. Rees at eCOGRA would need an assistant to sort through a flood of complaints. Well, she doesn't. And that's because there was no flood of complaints in 2007. In fact, the average number of complaints per month per eCOGRA approved online casino was .44.

Although the total number of complaints collected in 2007 was up from the previous year, 138 of the 783 complaints were deemed invalid due to not being within the jurisdiction of eCOGRA (meaning complaints against online casinos not bearing the eCOGRA seal of approval) or did not contain sufficient information to validate the claims. While there is a good chance most of the invalid claims were from unscrupulous players trying to earn a quick buck or disgruntled parties who did not read the terms of conditions for opening a real money account and/or claiming a free cash bonus, it goes without saying that when you open an account at an online casino - no matter how good its reputation and credentials - to always read the T&C's and to save every correspondence with customer service.

Overall, the number of legitimate complaints was us, which Rees says is likely due to more players being aware of eCOGRA's mediation services. Indeed, there was a time when players gambled at eCOGRA online casinos and didn't even what eCOGRA was! However, the last few years eCOGRA has been aggressive in educating players and in 2006 conducted the largest survey of online gamblers to date.

Other figures in Rees report show 47% of complaints were regarding payout issues, 28% were regarding bonus issues, 21% were regarding locked accounts and 4% were miscellaneous. The most promising statistics in the report show that 68% of all legitimate player disputes were successfully resolved in favor of the player. Well, if that's not a good reason why a player advocate and mediator is necessary in the online gambling industry, I don't know what is. You go eCOGRA.


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