eCOGRA Offers Free British Online Gambling Dispute Service to Players

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling News | Friday 20 March 2015 3:08 pm

UK Gambling Commission-authorised service is fast and impartial

Players at certain online gambling websites licensed by the UK Gambling Commission now have a useful facility in the event of a dispute with an operator which they have been unable to resolve for themselves – a free dispute resolution service operated by the London-based independent standards organisation and testing agency eCOGRA.

The company has been authorised to operate as an Alternative Dispute Resolution service provider by the UK Gambling Commission, which now oversees, licenses and regulates all legal operators accessing the British market in terms of new point of consumption-based remote gambling legislation.

eCOGRA has been part of the online gambling industry for the past 12 years, setting and monitoring high operational and player treatment standards for many of the leading operator groups in the business and acting as an impartial mediator in issues between players and operators.

The free dispute resolution service, which is accessed online through the www.ecogra.org website, is headed by Tex Rees, a Clear ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator who since 2003 has been involved in the resolution of more than 8,000 disputes involving players at eCOGRA’s Safe and Fair accredited seal-holder sites.

eCOGRA chief executive Andrew Beveridge revealed this week that 355 UKGC licensed sites have already elected to use his company’s ADR service, including leading operators such as 32Red, 888, bet-at-home, BetClic Everest, Betway, bwin.party, Casino Rewards, Paf and Unibet.

"eCOGRA has developed a sophisticated software system to help manage and expedite the resolution of disputes with UKGC-licensed operators, and this, harnessed with the eCOGRA ADR team’s considerable experience in online gambling mediation, will help resolve most disputes within 72 hours," Beveridge said.

ADR head Tex Rees added: "eCOGRA has many clients using us for games testing in our capacity as an approved test house, and for performing annual security audits as required by the UKGC.
"We’ve included ADR in our service offering as we know how important it is to players to have an impartial mediator handling their issues with operators. From an operator perspective it is equally important that our clients can come to us for a full suite of services involving independent third parties as required by UKGC regulations."

About eCOGRA

Founded in 2003 to set and improve operational standards and player safety in the online gambling space, eCOGRA has amassed a wealth of experience in implementing international best practice standards and requirements and ensuring these are maintained through regular review and monitoring.

246 of the most established and successful internet gambling websites are accredited and policed by the independent, London-based company, which is staffed by professional auditors with Big 4 auditing firm experience, information system experts and responsible gambling specialists.

The company runs a free-of-charge dispute mediation service for players with complaints about its accredited operators, with an online submission channel at www.ecogra.org.
eCOGRA has been awarded the United Kingdom Accreditation Service’s (UKAS) ISO accreditation ISO/IEC 17025:2005 : General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, for the United Kingdom and Denmark.

In addition, eCOGRA has been approved as a testing agency with several online gaming jurisdictions.

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New Regs Set to Take Effect for UK Online Gambling Firms

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Monday 29 September 2014 10:16 am

It has been a long time coming, but the end of 2014 is now in sight when new Parliamentary regulations in the UK will change for online gambling firms. First of October is D-Day!! The online gambling industry is turmoil over the decision made for all offshore licensees to apply for a secondary license to offer services to UK residents, as well as be liable to pay 15% tax. All these many years companies such as William Hill – just for example – have been operating out of Gibraltar and other White Listed "British" territories, just to avoid having to pay such heavy tax.

Gaming firms are now compelled to announce plans to stop offering services to UK-facing resident, or adjust what they offer inside British borders. This bill – the U. K. Gambling, License and Advertising Bill, was passed in May. It will effect Online bingo websites, casinos, pokers rooms, lottery sales, you name it – any gambling activity. Already several popular websites have pulled out, announced plans to pull out of the market, or substantially altered what they are able to offer to the UK public.

How these businesses can possibly expect European only operations to fill their coffers without the player-base of millions of British players, we have no idea. But they are obviously willing to take the risk. Gambling is after all a high risk industry for everyone concerned. One of the first to make an announcement was Mansion Poker, who intends to withdraw completely. Reasons for the withdrawal have been attributed to the new regulations, and all members have been advised to withdraw their bankrolls. These members have also been encouraged to switch to Titanbet Poker, where their loyalty points will be transferred. Pokerstars on the flip side of the coin, are opening a dedicated UK-facing poker site.

We believe this might just be the first in an exodus list of firms to take the same decision. However, but the same token Best of Breed British firms such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes, 888, Foxy, and many more would never be able to take such a risk. We believe they are going to have to thank their lucky stars for the tax break they have enjoyed for such a long time, and bite-the-bullet.

This is not a nationalization exercise – everyone, and every other land based business has to pay tax, and unfortunately these businesses should be made to pay too. There are going to be some interesting times in the online gambling industry for the next few years.

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UK Government Changes Online Betting Advertising Regulations

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Sunday 11 May 2014 6:06 pm

The UK Government is about to make big changes in the lives of online gambling firms, but it is not only about poker, bingo, and casino websites; it affects sports-betting products too. Not only are Tax rules set to change, but advertising rules and regulations are also about to take a knock. Sports-betting online is one of the largest spend sectors of this industry, in a growth spurt that is being fuelled even more by the popularity of mobile gambling.

The impending UK Gambling Bill promises to have a substantial impact on sport sponsorships income too. This will affect football, rugby, and other sporting clubs/sectors that rely heavily on sponsorship income. Many of these sponsorships emanate from the shores of Asia.

It takes a great many specialists to keep the public interested in sports betting. This means getting the message across that these betting services are available online. It is advertising and the media that drive the gambling fan through these virtual doors, and these are expert services which cost a great deal of money. Budgets have become huge, and a great deal of money is being shared around.

Because much of this money is derived from Asian gaming firms, we find as many as fifteen out of twenty Premier League football clubs that enjoy Asian gambling firm sponsorship. The intent of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is to remove this source of income. Here we are not talking about change in controls, but the simple fact that sponsorship money will simply "disappear". The people who are set to take the biggest knock, are sports teams, and individual players themselves!

These new regulations are designed with the aim of creating "economic hardship" for Asian ops. In the future they will be required to prove to the Gambling Commission where they obtain their income, amongst other things. The other things also include proof of the fact of their entitlement to take bets from British jurisdictions. This type of “reporting” will mean exposing these operations to additional admin costs. The question is, will it be worthwhile for them?

A number of Asian online gambling firms are licensed in (pseudo) British offshore jurisdictions. Cost effectiveness will obviously be examined before pulling out of any British market-place, however the feeling is that sponsorships will be the first expense to get cut, and sports support to suffer as a knock-on effect.

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Power Station Blast Blacks-out Best of Breed British Online Gambling Brands

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling News | Sunday 11 May 2014 5:59 pm

Gibraltar has become one of the favourite destinations for some of the biggest and best British online gambling ops. They run operations offshore from this site, simply due to the fact that British taxes would otherwise cripple their businesses. Well… the word "cripple" might be a little harsh, but operating in the UK would certainly take a large slice off their bottom line. So, companies that are recognised as best of breed brands, operate in offshore territories such as Gibraltar, Malta, Alderney, Isle of Mann and so on.

One of the busiest weekends for these gambling giants is the Easter Bank Holiday weekend; where companies such as William Hill, and Ladbrokes make a killing. They run all kinds of superb promotions to keep their members playing online and winning.

An explosion and fire at a Gibraltar power station which blacked out much of the British outpost also caused major worldwide disruption to the online betting industry, with gambling giants Betfred, William Hill, and Ladbrokes among the operators taken offline. This Easter Sunday was not great for fans of these websites however, as a power station generator exploded, but at least no one was harmed. Although a few bingo balances might have taken a knock.

Residents of the small British-held peninsula which is situated on the southern tip of Spain experienced, thick billowing smoke, and were warned to keep windows closed. Many of these residents are also employees at online gambling firms. Gibtelecom services came down like a house of cards, and gambling firms struggled for some time to resume normal operations.

There are Twenty-six gaming operators in total that do business from these shores. The industry has changed Gibraltan fortunes quite significantly, and it is estimated that 60% of all Internet gambling transactions flow through these virtual casino doors. However things could be changing dramatically quite soon.

The British Government is enacting new taxation regulations that encompass taxing any firms that offer gambling services to British residents. The Government of Gibraltar has made their feelings known, as this industry is not a standalone business; it attracts an entire ecosystem of industry players which contributes massively to this small economy. They are in the business of creating magic for millions of online gambling fans, and new tax laws, rules, and regulations will have a substantial impact on how things have been run for the past fifteen years.

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Spendy Online Gambling Habit Lands Lady In Rather Hot Water

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling News | Monday 21 April 2014 1:10 am

We often read about the concerns certain groups have regarding the proliferation of online gambling, and its effect on problem gamblers. The real problem is not internet gambling websites, the problem is people. Some people are simply don’t have the moral compass to know when to stop. Be this addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or cheating others out of their hard earned money. It is a people problem, not a gambling problem.

One Utrecht, Netherlands woman, who was recently investigated by the Public Prosecution Authority, was found to have spent as much as €557,000 on internet gambling sites. To make matters worse, she was the "supposed" founder of a non-profit organisation designed to help children who displayed behavioural problems. Now, if this woman does not have a behavioural problem, we certainly don’t know who does.

A foundation named "Vriended van Tom"in English – Friends of Tom – was the source of her funding. So, after intricate investigations made into her spending habits from 2008 up till 2013, she appeared in court, charged with the embezzlement of €700,000. This money was PGB-funding which in the Netherlands should be used to help people in need of extra care. The money came from funds allocated to parents of problem children by the Government.

The problem is, that this lass still has a problem – she admits that she has gambled before, but denies the amount spent. Anyone with half an ounce of sense knows that people in denial won’t admit to any problems. Responsibility is stressed at all good online gambling site, and she could have been gambling at many. So it is as our opening paragraph states. People are the problems, not the games or websites.

In this particular instance, the guilty party was stealing from needy children, and their parents who desperately needed help. Admitting that she has a problem, is the only way she will ever get help. It is about being realistic, rather than living life in "La-La Land". The majority of online players don’t have problems such as this, and even if they are considered to be problem gamblers, would not steal from others to fund their habit.

Addictions always affect our own lives, and the lives of our families. But rarely are they so severe that the lives of needy children are affected, as in this particular case. Right now we do not know what the outcome of the court matter will be, but we trust that the judge will see that this young miss needs much more than mere counselling for a gambling habit.

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