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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Online Gambling – Positive Player Protective Strategies

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling News | Monday 29 September 2014 10:11 am

There is always someone saying something about the dangers of gambling online. Many "abstainers&quot from these games believe that gambling is a social problem, whilst the majority of gamblers know the truth – this is a form of entertainment. So, studies have been conducted on whether gambling habits have changed since the introduction of this industry, and if problem gambling is on the increase. Not many changes have been extrapolated from most of these problem gambling studies. However in a first in its kind research from Nottingham Trent University, leisure gamblers have now been studied, and in this case are referred to as positive players.

Fundamentally positive players have been found to take personal responsibility for their gambling experiences. They make use of protective strategies and stick to these. For example they may go out to gamble with a certain amount of money, and leave all bank cards at home, in the case of live casinos players. Online gamblers might use similar strategies such as setting strict limits, or self-exclusion for periods of time. Leisure gamblers who are positive players only gamble away what they can afford to spend. They budget for this form of entertainment in the same way as they might for going to movies, or out for dinner.

The premise of this study is that it counters a negative focus. In other words – the study of positive player looks into practices and/or motivations which neutralises a negative focus. Negative emphasis of any activity often encourages a "forbidden-fruit-effect". However by focussing on the positive, this may resonate with players who might pooh-pooh messages regarding the risk of gambling.

Results were extrapolated from an online survey where 1,484 leisure gamblers participated, and 209 problem gamblers did too. Most positive players were found to enjoy other leisure activities too, and that their motivation for playing was quite simply to have some fun. In fact the desire of catching a really big win is part of the fun for these players.

They predetermined their own risk limits in both time and money terms, as well as preferred playing on the internet. In fact 93% of the study group preferred to gamble online. The knock-on effect of this knowledge has led to a re-think that online gambling can be more dangerous than playing in a land casino. While leisure gamblers were happy to go it alone, problem gamblers were often found to need a more social environment, which indicated that gambling in isolation was not necessarily as unhealthy as previous studies had supposed. Food for thought we believe!

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Investor Confidence High In Online Gambling

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Saturday 17 May 2014 12:08 pm

If you believe you are taking a gamble when investing in shares on the Stock Exchange, you would probably be correct. But this type of investment is more scientific than simply popping money in and pulling the arm of a slot machine. Now a slot machine is a random number game, and the player either wins or loses his money, but trading in stocks entails an educated guess, in the well-established game of securities exchange trading.

Currently, as the continued growth in online gambling growth is enjoyed by players, investors are showing a great deal of confidence in gambling on this game. This essentially means that shares are being traded and bought, and are showing growth for investors. According to the Forbes report – UK online Gambling concerns are being seen as excellent opportunities to invest for the wise speculator.

This industry in the UK is a mature industry that has been showing continued upward, and exponential growth since first inception in the late 1990’s. The rest of the world has seriously fallen behind in the uptake of online gambling as an industry, as they find themselves embroiled in regulatory in-fighting, rather than taking a free-market approach. Most Governments seem to be hell-bent on the ideology of monopolistic control.

The free-market approach taken by the UK Government has seen the industry develop into a highly technical, green-type economy. The nature of this industry has therefore proven itself to be sustainable in terms of lasting growth, as well as high profitability. Investing in any industry or firm entails making an informed choice, at the right time.

Whilst speaking of informed choices, it pays to note that previously no tax was levied on these gaming concerns if they were situate offshore from the British Isles. This is set to change in December 2014, when taxes will be levied at firms offering wagers to UK-Facing players. This will be a point of sale tax, and while we are not sure how these funds will be collected, however HMCRS seems confident of making these collections from offshore situated brands.

For a short while this tax news had some effect on investor confidence, but with the positive Forbes report, this negative attitude seems to have changed. Mobile gambling is rolling out fast, and proving to be immensely popular too, so, this together with generally expected growth, should ensure continued investor confidence.

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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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