eCOGRA Now Independent Body

Management buyout frees group of operator influence

Online-industry watchdog eCOGRA is now a truly independent organization following a management buyout led by CEO Andrew Beveridge.

eCOGRA—the acronym is for “e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assistance”—is a non-profit group formed originally by operators Microgaming and Virtual Holdings in 2003.

The objective, as Beveridge said at the time, was to “provide online gaming software suppliers and their customers with the guidance and tools necessary to adhere to a higher level of integrity and responsibility.”

“Our mission is to prove that responsible companies are involved in online gaming and to make them readily recognizable to consumers and government officials,” said Beveridge in 2003.

The new board will be chaired by Michael Hirst. Beveridge, Bill Henbrey, Bill Galston and Frank Catania will serve as directors. All have long histories of involvement with gaming.

Galston, Catania and Beveridge have been with eCOGRA since its founding.

Among other things, eCOGRA established the criteria used to award operators its “Safe and Fair” seal, intended to signify an operator’s adherence to the principles of fair and responsible gaming.

Some 150 online gaming sites have received the seal. In 2011 eCOGRA will conduct about 100 operator and software supplier compliance reviews using its own eGAP requirements, standards of the European Gaming and Betting Association and various jurisdictional regulations.

Monthly payout percentage and randomness reviews will be performed for over 300 remote gambling sites.

Beveridge said, “Our policy of independently assessing operators for the award of the Safe and Fair seal, and subsequent review and monitoring activity, will remain in place, and the provision of professional business services and advisory consulting remains a key element in our commercial offering and will become an increasingly important part of the services offered.

“The industry is maturing, and eCOGRA must be part of that evolving process. The trend toward national or state regulatory regimes around the world is just one of the areas in which our professional services are increasingly in demand by companies and jurisdictions committed to ensuring that they are well prepared in all respects to meet the highest international standards.”

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