" eCOGRA is a non-profit organization protecting online-casino players' interests by monitoring casino/poker sites and gambling portals.
When you visit a gambling site, make sure you look for the eCOGRA ""Safe and Fair"" Seal. In doing so, you know the site has passed eCOGRA's rigorous tests - you will be treated fairly and the operator will behave responsibly.
What is eCOGRA?
eCOGRa (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) is an independent online-gaming authority with players' safety constantly in focus. When a gambling site is reviewed by the organization, everything that is of concern to casino players is studied: random games, prompt payments, safe storage of information, honest advertising, and responsible behaviour are of the highest importance.
""Our goal is to deliver all of these player imperatives at quality sites carrying the eCOGRA ""Safe and Fair"" Seal."" - eCOGRA.org
eCOGRA's Safe and Fair Seal
To receive the ""Safe and Fair"" Seal, a casino or poker site has to show that their work is, and will continue to be, conducted in a professional manner. eCOGRA has a list of minimum requirements a site has needs to fulfill to be awarded the ""Safe and Fair"" Seal. These minimums are called eGAP (Generally Accepted Practices) and are used when the organization's directors independently monitor the online-gambling industry.
""eCOGRA mission: (To) set standards for the online gaming industry by providing an international framework of best operational and player practice standards (eGAP) for our growing list of global members and their licensed operators"" - eCOGRA.org
The Player is Protected
eCOGRA doesn't only work in the casino-to-player direction, but also the other way. If you play at a site with the eCOGA Seal, and - although unlikely - some sort of trouble would occur, eCOGRA offers a free player dispute mediation service. Furthermore, you're offered a Fair Gaming Advocate - someone who can represent you as a player against the gambling site.
""eCOGRA mission: (To) Resolve disputes between players and member sites by acting as mediator and ensure that our ruling is respected among seal holders."" - eCOGRA.org
Improves the Casino Industry
A result of eCOGRA's work is that the standard of online-casino industry as a whole constantly improves. All serious clients wish to get the organization's approval and therefore try to meet eGAP standards.
It might take some tome before all unserious operators are gone - if that ever will happen - but eCOGRA's work definitely moves the casino industry in that direction.
" " The issue of online gambling is still relatively new, and many countries are even now not entirely sure how to regulate it. This is especially true in Europe, where countries must worry about not only their own needs, but also the needs of the European Union. Hoping to be able to help these countries sort it all out is the EGBA.
What is the EGBA?
The EGBA is the European Gaming and Betting Association, an association of European gaming operators set up to protect the interest of online gamblers residing in Europe. Although they are a non-profit organization, the members clearly have a vested interest in protecting European online gambling as it represents a major source of revenue for these online gambling companies.
What is the EGBA's Stance?
The EGBA's main position is that Article 49 of the European Council treaty provides that there be an open, free market of services within the European Union and that online gambling constitutes an example of such a free market exchange. The EGBA does not seek to force gambling upon countries that have outlawed it entirely, rather they seek to overturn discriminatory practices that allow state sponsored online gambling operations, but deny private online gaming companies from operating in their country.
What is the EGBA Doing?
The EGBA is currently lending its support to investigations into German and Swedish anti-online gambling laws. Both countries have enacted legislation that puts restrictions on outside online gambling services while protecting state sponsored Internet gambling. It is presumed that the EGBA will continue to seek out and spotlight such double standards in Europe wherever they may arise.
More info on gambling laws:
German gambling laws
Swedish gambling laws
Finnish gambling laws
" " In order for an online casino to be legal, they must possess a license from a legal jurisdiction. But if you are new, how do you know what a legal jurisdiction is?
First, a jurisdiction is a government of a particular place (most times offshore) that charge a fee for a license and in return agree to 'police' the sites they give a license to for adhesion to local gambling laws and fairness and honesty practices. So this is a win-win situation for both the casino in question (who get a legal license) and for the government and people of the jurisdiction (who get the steady stream of income to boost their economy).
Though the majority of online casinos are honest and fair, there are some that are not. They may either illicitly say they are a licensee of a jurisdiction (possibly even using the seal of that place) or may not even display a seal at all, hoping that people either don't notice, don't know they should have one, or don't care. But you can avoid being had by these places by making sure they have a license. Here is a list of the most common jurisdictions that an online casino may get a license from. Please not that this list is long but not exhaustive. But it gives you a great jumping-off point with which to work, since the majority of all jurisdictional licenses are acquired through one of these:AFRICA: Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, South Africa PACIFIC/ASIA: Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, India, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam CARIBBEAN: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherland Antilles (Curacau), St. Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands CENTRAL AMERICA: Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua EUROPE: Alderney, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Gibralter, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Mann, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK (Great Britain) MIDDLE EAST: Israel NORTH AMERICA: Canada (Kahnawake, Saskatchewan), New Jersey, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Venezuela