Regulation in the online gambling industry is, thankfully, improving rapidly. More casino operators (and related organisations) are realising the importance of it. Changes in regulation and legislation are meaning companies are being more proactive about this.
One of the key regulators is eCOGRA. Let’s find out more about them.
What Is eCOGRA?
eCOGRA is a testing and regulatory body that helps keep online gambling fair and safe. The organisation was established in 2003.
What Does eCOGRA Stand For?
It stands for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation & Assurance.
What Does eCOGRA Do?
Essentially they help regulate online casinos and gambling sites. Using testing, inspection and certification, they’re an independent body which helps keep the industry honest.
As well as being proactive, they help resolve resolutions, acting as a neutral third party.
Let’s look at the different services eCOGRA provides:
Let’s explain quickly what an ISO actually is. An ISO is a certification given by a professional body. ISO is the name of the organisation (International Organization for Standardization) – however the certification is given by the relevant professional body.
So let’s take the eCOGRA one. They issue the snappily-titled ISO 27001 Certification. This is a security management standard relating to information security. eCOGRA are the ones that award the certificate if a company is worthy.
There’s a few benefits of having this, including showing trust, having more robust systems and processes, and reduction of costs from security incidents.
Simply put, this is where eCOGRA certifies products used by online gambling companies. Like all their services, this is 100% independent.
The process is quite long (as it involves an application review as well as the evaluation and review itself).
More details here.
Testing & Inspection
Being viewed as legit and safe is increasingly important for online casinos. Not only because customers expect it, but, as the gambling industry becomes more regulated, so too do investors and decision makers.
You can find the full list of these services here but I’d like to highlight two that are important for consumers:
1) Random Number Generators
These are often abbreviated as ‘RNGs’. Random number generators are core to any online casino being fair.
As the name suggests, these are what creates the luck, or randomness in a game. That means when the roulette wheel spins, or you spin the (virtual) wheels of a slot game, the outcome is luck and not rigged.
2) Information Systems Security
As an online casino is dealing with your money and your personal data, security is vital. eCOGRA ensures casino sites are compliant and are proactive about this. This service doesn’t just benefit us as gamblers, but also protects the casino site.
After all, data leaks and hacks are big news these days. No company wants to have a reputation as a site that’s lost customer data.
If a company is certified by eCOGRA, they can display the seal on their site. Think of this is as a badge to show customers and investors they can be trusted.
It shows that they’ve invested the time into being certified and that they take it seriously.
The seal can be displayed by affiliates (i.e. companies like ours that promote online casinos). This is called the ‘Affiliate Trust Seal‘. At the time of writing, only one had this (Entain affiliates).
Operators (i.e. the actual online casino sites) can do so too. This is called the ‘Safe and Fair Seal’. At the time of writing, 420 casinos had been awarded this.
Software makers (e.g. ones that make online slot games) can get the ‘Certified Software Seal’. At the time of writing, one company had this (Apricot Investments Ltd).
Finally, live dealer studios can get the ‘Certified Live Dealer Seal’. As I wrote this, eCOGRA didn’t list any live dealer studios that had this.
Alternative Dispute Resolution / ADR
The ADR is a service where eCOGRA acts as a mediator. They are independent so don’t have an agenda or bias.
Basically a player, if they’ve got nowhere with the casino’s complain process, can escalate it to eCOGRA. There is a cut off date of a year – so if you’d exhausted the complaints process in December 2022, you couldn’t ask eCOGRA to take it up in January 2024, for example.
With an ADR it’s important to note that eCOGRA doesn’t guarantee they’ll resolve the complaint of side with the player.
And also that the complaint has got to be valid (as eCOGRA puts it, not ‘frivolous or vexatious‘).
So, whilst the ADA service is incredibly helpful, it’s not a catch-all easy fix for a complaint you may have with a casino site.
“eCOGRA prides itself on its independence and integrity.”– eCOGRA website
eCOGRA kicked off back in 2003, with Andrew Beveridge as their CEO. (He left in December 2021 and now works at Bravo Echo Victor Limited).
In 2004, Michael Hirst (then Chairman of the Board), got an OBE. (He later left in 2011).
Over the next few years they continued to gain jurisdictional approval for various areas of the world. They also started doing more ADR and certification work.
In 2021, eCOGRA was acquired by Hanover Investors, a private equity firm based in the UK.
In 2022, they were given jurisdictional approval for Pennsylvania. This is notable due to the regulatory situation there and size of the market.
“The US represents a particularly significant opportunity following Federal legislation changes in 2018.”– Matthew Peacock, Hanover Investors
How Does eCOGRA Benefit Online Gamblers?
The organisation helps keep online gambling a safe place for us to play. Through its services like testing, auditing and certification, it means a site is far more likely to be legit, safe and trustworthy.
How Does It Benefit Online Casino Operators?
For an online gambling operator, the benefits are many. Firstly it improves people’s perception of their brand. This helps build trust in their players, staff, investors and regulators.
It also helps with their systems and processes. Using a third-party to help audit these means more efficiency and less risk.
Which Countries/Areas Does eCOGRA Cover?
- Buenos Aires Province
- Buenos Aires City
- Czech Republic
- First Cagayan
- Great Britain / UK
- Isle Of Man
- New Jersey
Who Are The Leadership Team at eCOGRA?
CFO – Andrew Bowman
Andrew is the Chief Financial Officer at eCOGRA. He’s been in the role since June 2022.
Prior to that he had a long career at Capita.
CTO – Bradley Khoury
Bradley is the Chief Technical Officer. He’s been with the organisation since 2009 and has also been their COO.
Before eCOGRA he worked at PwC.
Non Executive Director – Nick Greatorex
Nick is a non executive director for various organisations including eCOGRA. He’s been in this role since December 2021.
CEO – Shaun McCallaghan
Shaun is the Chief Executive Director, having worked his way up from the Compliance Auditor role he started with in 2008.
- eCOGRA site
- eCOGRA Wikipedia page
- eCOGRA Careers page
- eCOGRA Glassdoor page
- Interview with Andrew Beveridge (PokerNews)
- eCOGRA Linkedin
- Hanover Investors
- Hanover acquires eCOGRA
- eCOGRA Crunchbase
- eCOGRA Trustpilot
- eCOGRA Bloomberg profile
- ADR form (PDF)
- Annual report (2019-2020, PDF)
Malta – 6, Villa Gauci, Malina Road, Balzan, BZN9031, Malta
United Kingdom – 2/F Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BD
FAQs About eCOGRA
How many people work at eCOGRA?
According to their Linkedin, over 140 people work at eCOGRA.
How can I contact eCOGRA?
Their general email address is [email protected] Or, for disputes, you can use [email protected]
Where are the eCOGRA offices?
They have one in London and one in Malta.
Is eCOGRA independent?
When did eCOGRA start?
eCOGRA was established in 2003.
Does eCOGRA cover live casinos as well as online?
No, just online casinos/gambling sites.
Who owns eCOGRA?
eCOGRA was purchased by Hanover Investors in 2021.