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eCOGRA approved casinos that comply with the letter and spirit of eCOGRA? Actually, yes: they all do


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

eCOGRA approved casinos that comply with the letter and spirit of eCOGRA? Actually, yes: they all do


The standards set by eCOGRA for their operator partners are laid out in the generally accepted practices document, or "EGAP". As with most things aboard the Good Ship Spin of the online gambling industry, it walks the walk and talks the talk rather well.


But how far are they applied?


For this article, I'm going to focus on an area close to my heart - promotions and bonuses.

Here is the relevant clause:



113.R.1

Advertising media and content as well as promotional activities shall comply with the letter and spirit of eCOGRA.

113.R.4

Terms and conditions applicable to promotional activities shall be clearly displayed and shall not be unreasonably altered subsequent to the wagering activity.



The first is vague in the extreme, the second more specific. The "spirit of eCOGRA" must relate to the claims on the homepage of "particular emphasis on fair and responsible gambling", with their certification being "synonymous with the highest industry levels of fair and responsible gaming, professional conduct and superior operating standards."


So the EGAP implementation of rules 113 R1 and R4, on the part of the client casinos, has a lot to live up to.


Take a look at the UK Casino Club bonus page - terms & conditions are listed towards the bottom, and below them there is a link that says:



In addition to the above, by taking part in any promotion or activity with our casino, you agree inherently to abide by the full casino terms and conditions.



...clicking on which takes you through to the general terms page, nestling close to the bottom of which there is a list of additional bonus terms; one of them says:



13. The Casino reserves the right to withhold any withdrawals and/or confiscate all winnings for irregular play. 'Irregular play' includes but is not limited to any one or more of the following types of play:

i.Placing single bets equal to or in excess of 25% or more of the value of the bonus credited to the account prior to the play-through requirement for that bonus having been met.



I wrote about this at length in my Kahnawake article, but to cut a long story short: the Kahnawake Commission required that, aside from making the appropriate payment, the casino place their terms in an accessible position - clearly, spread across two pages was unacceptable and deceptive.


The casino never complied with this directive.


Is the placement of vital bonus terms and conditions on pages where the player would never expect to find them in any way "synonymous with the highest industry levels of fair and responsible gaming, professional conduct and superior operating standards" as per the lofty requirements of EGAP clause 113R. 1?

Are these terms "clearly displayed", as per 113R. 4?


Clearly, the answer is negative on both counts.


There are many such examples of unethical, unacceptable rules across many other eCOGRA certified casinos, and I highlighted a few more examples in the Online gambling rules article. There are many more.


As such, eCOGRA does seem to talk a good game in its EGAP document, but a relatively superficial analysis of the rules, terms and conditions on a handful of their clients casinos' sites reveals either a policing which is non-existent, or a reality which is far, far removed from the marketing hype.


So are there any eCOGRA casinos which comply with "the letter and spirit of eCOGRA"?


Well, yes. They all do. With relatively few exceptions, they comply with the letter and spirit of eCOGRA to the...letter.


Hang on a sec.

Isn't that backwards? Surely most do no such thing?


No. They all comply.


The only "letter and spirit" that holds any meaning for operators in the online gambling industry is the "letter and spirit" that results in the transference of as much money as possible from the customers into the operators' pockets. eCOGRA is no different.

So yes, the eCOGRA client operators comply with eCOGRA's ideals, aims and objectives to the letter.


It's just a pity that the true "letter and spirit" is so radically different to the one we read about in the marketing brouchure.



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