Monday February 3 ,2014 : ECOGRA's TEN YEARS OF RESOLVING PLAYER PROBLEMS
Independent standards and player protection body has mediated in literally thousands of disputes between players and operators.
Over the past decade the independent standards and player protection company eCOGRA has seen the good, the bad and the ugly travel through its disputes mediation service. The service helps players who have issues with the organisation's 220 accredited operators, most of whom were pioneers in the industry and are now well-established, successful online gambling enterprises across the globe.
Marking its tenth year of mediation this week, the eCOGRA director charged with overseeing responsible gambling requirements and the disputes channel, Tex Rees, presented statistics for the past decade along with her 2013 report.
Over the ten years, complaints per annum have risen from 251 in 2003 to 943 last year, tracking the significant growth in the online gambling industry, and the more savvy nature of the players and operators.
Over that period a total of 7,169 complaints flowed into eCOGRA through its online complaints system, with 1,775 classified as invalid due to insufficient information; player not responding to enquiries; abusive submissions or complaints regarding operators not accredited by eCOGRA and therefore beyond the reach of the organisation.
The remaining 5,394, or 75 percent, were investigated and mediated by eCOGRA staff, with 2,492 – or 46 percent – resolved in favour of the player.
In 2013 Rees and her team received a total of 943 complaints, filtering out 153 (16 percent). 89 of these invalid complaints were against non-eCOGRA operators and were therefore not accepted.
The team investigated the remaining 701 valid complaints, resolving 249, or 36 percent, in favour of the player.
Rees notes in her report that the valid complaints were again mainly about bonuses, payments and lock-outs, but that the number of resolutions in favour of players has been lower than the norm recently.
"What we are seeing now are an increasing number of bogus complaints from fraudulent players, who have become more sophisticated in their knowledge and tactics in trying to squeeze bonus and other advantages which were not due from operators," Rees said
"However, the operators have also become more savvy in the use of security and risk protection measures and have the advantage of new technologies which enable them to identify and counter fraudsters in most cases.
"The incidence of fraudulent player syndicates, ID and credit card fraud has increased, and with it the need for both operators and ourselves to be constantly on the alert."
Rees said that the 2013 statistics again illustrate the remarkably low incidence of complaints per operator at an average of 3.18 complaints p.a., and paid tribute to the managements at eCOGRA-accredited websites.
"Our monitored standards and other eCOGRA Generally Accepted Practices are stringent and demand consistent adherence and commitment from operators," she said.
"Clearly that continues to pay off when it comes to player safety."