With hundreds of online casinos competing for your business, it’s easy to feel bombarded by all the options. After being dazzled by all the banner ads and outwardly impressive offers, where can you safely play? Technically speaking, anyone can buy generic casino software, customise it, and install it on an offshore server. Yet that doesn’t warrant your trust.
Choosing a safe place to play isn’t a matter of faith. Not only are the best sites fully licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, but an organisation known as eCOGRA also has your back. Read on to learn how eCOGRA ensures that games are fair and you are protected.
eCOGRA stands for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance. Since 2003 the UK organisation has certified and tested online gaming software worldwide. Although based in Britain, the independent agency has reviewed and certified more than 500 casinos.
You can watch for the eCOGRA Safe & Fair seal of approval that’s proudly displayed on authorised sites. Make sure you click on this seal to reveal more detailed reports. Sites are reviewed regularly and repeatedly to ensure constant compliance. In general eCOGRA makes certain that games are fair, number generation is random, payout rates are as advertised, money is safe, and the casino operates in an ethical manner.
A Sweeping Mandate
eCOGRA aims are vast but they’ve managed to fulfil them all. Here are the agency’s main objectives:
- Protecting vulnerable customers including offering self-exclusion to addicts
- Preventing underage players from accessing the site
- Fighting crime and fraud
- Guarding player privacy and ensuring personal info remains secure at all times
- Ensuring quick and correct payouts
- Evaluating games for fairness including regularly auditing random number generators
- Making certain that marketing claims are reasonable, true, and honoured without issue
- Verifying customer satisfaction and support
- Guaranteeing that sites are overall safe, reliable, and secure
Independent And Reliable
eCOGRA operates as an independent non-profit and employs leading professional auditors, IT professionals, and engineers to constantly test online gaming sites. Testing takes place onsite and offsite, which means these auditors have the authority to pore over the raw computer code, logs, and financial records.
This is serious business by any standard. The staff adhere to auditing standards set out by the esteemed International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. In addition many auditors are certified members of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. While these organisations may be of little interest to recreational gamblers, you should know that you wouldn’t be gambling with your trust at certified sites.
eCOGRA also proudly offers free online gambling dispute mediation to players in the United Kingdom. If you ever have a problem or issue with a site that you can’t resolve yourself, eCOGRA encourages you to take advantage of their binding mediation services. Most disputes are settled within 3 days and the service is fully authorised by the UK Gambling Commission. You’ll need to make sure that the site is a member of eCOGRA, which most tops sites are, and that you don’t utilise some other form of mediation before making your request with eCOGRA.
As of the June 2017, 246 of the most prominent online gaming sites are certified by eCOGRA. While some legitimate casinos have decided to go a different route, you honestly have to wonder about sites that have no certification at all. Test houses including Gaming Labs International, Compliance Testing Laboratories, Gaming Associates, NMI, Quinel M. Ltd, and other agencies are authorised to audit sites. Unfortunately their mandates and the services they provide aren’t nearly as exhaustive as what you’ll find at eCOGRA.
With all the great certified sites available to players in the United Kingdom, there’s no sense bringing your bankroll to places that are untested and possibly untrue. It would take you years to thoroughly enjoy all the certified sites. Think about it this way: eCOGRA can only police sites that are members and under its jurisdiction. Do you plan on assembling your own ragtag team of investigators when you choose to play elsewhere? Take advantage of eCOGRA and play safely whenever you play.