First things first, eCOGRA is by no means the catchiest acronym in the world so we’ll go straight ahead and tell you that it stand for eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance. That’s certainly a bit of a mouthful but immediately gives you an idea of what the company is all about – they are devoted to maintaining the integrity of the casino industry for companies and players alike.
The company is operated on a not for profit basis and in many ways acts in an advisory capacity to ensure that online casinos are doing what they claim to be. Whether this means that games pay out at the published rate or that they are keeping player funds as secure as would be expected, eCOGRA offers a certification for just about everything.
If you think back to the mid-1990s – if you’re old enough – you’ll remember that the internet was really catching on but many people were terrified of the idea of using their card details in such a manner, and with good reason. This new means of carrying out financial transactions attracted plenty of legitimate businesses, but also some unscrupulous characters. This applied pretty much everywhere and the online casino industry was no different. Just like buying a book from Amazon, the idea of placing bets and winning cash online was new to everyone and had recently been made possible by Microgaming with the creation of their first casino platform.
With few ways to tell the quality casinos apart from the rogues, the industry as a whole began to get tarred with the same brush as many players who were initially enthusiastic began to notice that there was no way to tell where to play safely. For many, it simply wasn’t worth the risk and the initial growth spurt stagnated. Naturally, something had to be done and players needed a way of being sure that their cash was safe.
Action was taken in 2002 with two big gaming brands, 888 and Microgaming, joining forces to restore trust in their products and their industry. The year saw the creation of eCOGRA as a completely independent body that sought to have the last word on whether a casino was really trustworthy and reliable or not. However, that was just the tip of the iceberg as they looked to set standards that every casino would look to aspire to.
eCOGRA is by no means the online casino police – they only have jurisdiction over casinos that choose to be a part of the scheme. However, the positive influence of displaying eCOGRA certification on a casino site more than outweighs what the operators have to go through to achieve it and membership is definitely worth having. All of their licensees are regularly inspected to ensure that they are adhering to the rules of eCOGRA and the watchdog is never slow to withdraw support if a partner casino is not up to scratch.
The eCOGRA Seal of Approval is a visual representation of a casino having passed all of the requirements. In effect, it means that your cash is safe and your games are fair and serves as a single logo that means that you don’t need to delve deeply into the ins and outs of security at an operator. eCOGRA also has mediatory rights between players and casinos, so said players know that there is always an external and independent party to consult in the event of a dispute.
eCOGRA is by no means the only company of its kind and the lack of eCOGRA certification does not mean that a casino is bad. Many opt for alternatives, with some even having similar audits carried out by internationally renowned accountancy firms. The close ties that the company has with Microgaming, for example, means that many Playtech and Net Entertainment casinos go elsewhere for the same service.
If you are a Microgaming player, then you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for the logo. eCOGRA still works with Microgaming on a software level and so it should be the first thing you look for. Every one of our recommended Microgaming partner casinos here at Mr Gamez carry the Seal of Approval as it is the easiest way of knowing that you’re playing in safety. The likes of Royal Vegas and All Slots each reach the highest standards set out by the body and top that off by being two of the very best online casinos in the world. If the idea of eCOGRA backing appeals to you then be sure to check out our dedicated reviews of both casinos to see how you can get up and running without delay.