eCOGRA guide all Kiwi players should read
eCOGRA is a leading independent approved testing agency, and an ADR provider. We want to understand everything relating to eCOGRA, so we have created this guide to get a clearer picture. If you are that New Zealdan player who wants to find out more, check it out!
What does eCOGRA do?
It is a testing agency specialized in the in the approval of online gaming software. In addition, it is one of the most common organizations that the best New Zealand online casinos turn to for expertise when it comes to an ADR provider (Alternative Dispute Resolution).
eCOGRA conducts annual audits of casino operators to see if they meet the standards required to be eligible for the Safe and Fair Seal. Besides these accreditations, eCOGRA also offers a Certified Software Seal for software developers and an Affiliate Trust Seal for affiliate programs.
If you want to make sure that the platform you are playing on is safe, you can check in the page’s footer if the seal is found. If you find the Safe and Fair seal, it means that the gambling platform passed the eCOGRA audit.
Some facts about eCOGRA are:
- They are based in London since 2003;
- They are the first formal self-regulation program in the industry;
- eCOGRA stands for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance.
What does the Safe and Fair Seal mean?
This seal is provided when the casino being checked passes all the verifications made by eCOGRA. The process is a complex one, and the organization has well-established criteria called ‘eGAP Requirements’ that are followed when offering the Safe and Fair seal. Once the casino receives this authorization from eCOGRA, it means that it offers a safe gaming environment. This type of verification takes place every year to ensure the casino are still complying with the requested criteria.
eGAP Requirements explained
The eGAP requirements represent the mandatory policies and procedures that a platform must perform to obtain the eCOGRA seal. Some of the aspects that are taken into consideration during an audit are:
- The fairness of the casino’s games – the organization verifies the Random Number Generator to assure the results are truly random. Also, they verify the return to player percentage to make sure the acceptable levels are respected.
- The prevention of underage gambling – the ADR provider verifies if the casino takes all the necessary measure to prevent underage gamblers on their platform, such as the KYC procedure;
- The availability of responsible gambling tools – the casino is checked if it offers all the necessary responsible tools such as setting limits, reality check, self-exclusion options and other tools.
Besides those, some of the other aspects that are considered are whether the casino takes measures to protect the personal data of players, their funds and if they display ads and promotions correctly.
Various platforms from New Zealand managed to receive the Safe and Fair seal. Some of them are 777 Casino, 888 Casino, Ruby Fortune Casino and Spin Casino.
When to get in touch with eCOGRA
First of all, matters can be resolved within the casino by contacting support. If the matter cannot be solved, look for a special email suitable for complaints.
If your problem is not solved with the help of internal support, it’s time to get in touch with eCOGRA for further help.
Depending on the casino, a certain amount of time is allocated to resolve the situation. Details like this can be found in the Terms and Conditions of the casino.
How to contact eCOGRA
If you wonder how to solve a dispute, the process is quite easy. As mentioned above, casinos address this topic in the General Terms and Conditions of the platform. If you access the complaints section, you will be able to find the link that sends you to the official eCOGRA page. Another way to access their site is to search directly on Google.
Once you enter their page, you must go to the Contact section and fill their Dispute Form that consists of six steps:
- Is the claim valid?
- Was the matter discussed with the casino?
- What license does the casino hold?
- What is the subject of your matter?
- Details about yourself and the matter.
- Agree and understand eCOGRA’s terms.
Those are mandatory steps that you must follow. If you don’t do so, you cannot receive help from eCOGRA.
Situations where you cannot get in touch with eCOGRA anymore
Before you decide that you want to contact eCOGRA, make sure that your problem is eligible for help. There are three specific situation where you cannot solve your dispute:
- If it passed more than one year since you made the complaint within the casino;
- If you already contacted another ADR provider to solve your dispute or addressed a court;
- If the casino doesn’t hold a licence from UKGC, MGA or an eCOGRA Safe and Fair seal.
However, keep in mind that not every unpleasant situation can be solved. For example, it is your duty and obligation to carefully read the Casino Terms and Conditions when creating an account. If you encounter problems that are related to the fact that you did not follow the rules imposed by the casino, eCOGRA cannot help you.
Let’s say you meet all the conditions to create an account, but the casino refuses your request. At the beginning it may seem unfair. However, the site mentions in the T&Cs section that they are entitled to refuse a player’s registration without a given reasons. In this situation, you cannot make a complaint.
Casinos mention in T&C possible situations in which if you do not follow the rules, you can be sanctioned in various ways such as:
- Winnings confiscated;
- Bonus funds voided;
- Account closed.
This can happen from various reasons, such as irregular playing or non-compliance with other conditions. Such situations cannot be solved with the help of an ADR provider because situations were caused by the violation of the agreement between you and the gambling platform.
The industry with and without eCOGRA
Since its inception in 2003, eCOGRA has verified numerous online New Zealand casinos. This has changed a lot the gambling industry when it comes to the experience of a casino player. In the last year, eCOGRA handled 1142 disputes related to:
- Responsible gambling;
- Game fairness.
In 2020 there where 535 disputes refused by eCOGRA. Most of them were declined because players have not completed the internal conflict resolution process within the casino.
Casinos before ADR providers
Before eCOGRA, casino operators did not have an ethical approach. Various irregularities have hit players who have had the misfortune to resort to casinos operating without any supervision from gambling jurisdictions or any other type of regulatory body. For example, with these types of casinos, you may encounter problems such as:
- You were not assured that you would be able to withdraw your winnings even if you followed all the rules;
- The offer you claimed was at risk to disappear after making the deposit to activate it;
- Your winning could be confiscated without a good reason.
Besides the fact that casinos were not safe, there wasn’t an authorized organization that could help you out to solve the problem.
The changes eCOGRA brought
Since this company was established, players who don’t manage to handle their situation internal can contact this ADR provider, who will try to solve the problem. With the advent of this institution, casinos began to behave more ethically, automatically reducing the percentage of irregularities among casinos.
Till this day, eCOGRA handled over 10000 disputes. With 17 years of experience, they offer high-quality services thanks to the well-trained staff across various regulatory areas such as security, financial and legal expertise. Each client that comes with a problem receives a dedicated manager who handles only their problem for a more effective service.
In conclusion, eCOGRA plays an important role in the online gambling industry. Since its establishment, gambling platforms became safer due to the conditions they have to respect. Ensuring reliability through their testing software and striving to handle complaints is an advantage for both casinos and players.