CEO Raatgever returns to the subject of perceptions as the visit ends, observing that educating interested parties on the positive aspects of the industry is important.

"There are many highly professional companies in this business who go above and beyond in maintaining high standards of corporate responsibility, integrity and professional behaviour – it's important to get that perspective out there to dispel the myths – some of them maliciously created – about the industry.

"The fact that little cash changes hands in online gambling, because credit or debit cards are used, ensures a high degree of trackability that is anathema to organised crime and fraudsters.

"Once you explain the breadth of reliability and accurate tracking systems in online gambling, and the conscientious precautions taken by operators to obviate concerns about underage or problem gambling, fraud and money laundering, many critics are surprised into a reappraisal."

Turning to fair and safe software, Raatgever points out that tier one companies in the business, including his own, go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that their software is independently tested and monitored.

In collaboration with two major competitors, Microgaming invested substantially in the creation of the independent eCOGRA seven years ago; a London-based stand-alone player protection and standards organisation that mediates player disputes, sets international standards of business and responsible gambling conduct for the industry, and tests and monitors operators who volunteer to meet its tough requirements.

Since then the professionally-staffed organisation has become self-funding and has earned the respect of regulators, trade associations like the influential European Gambling and Betting Association and major international companies unconnected with the original founders.

"eCOGRA has now achieved the goals that we set for it, which has made the internet gambling environment a safer place for players, and has simultaneously improved operating standards throughout the industry," Raatgever observed.

"I believe this is indicative of the serious approach to business and player care that characterises a significant and growing proportion of industry businessmen.

"We are a business with very strong professional commitments to fairness, efficiency and legality," he concludes.