Online casinos are a dime a dozen these days, but unless you know what to look for you may not be able to differentiate 100% reputable, safe and trustworthy sites from those that are less so. That’s why eCOGRA-certified online casinos can be your best friend.
Look for the logo for piece of mind
eCOGRA, which is short for e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, is a well-known and globally respected independent and non-profit testing agency that specialises in the certification of online gambling software, systems and processes.
In other words it’s a leading ‘online gambling site ratings agency’ which examines online casinos (and other gambling websites) with a fine toothcomb before it delivers its seal of approval, which is literally published on the homepages of the sites it endorses.
eCOGRA Has Conducted Over 500 Compliance Reviews
This eCOGRA seal tells visitors to a site that it’s been thoroughly checked, vetted and tested in great detail, and deemed fair, honest and worth playing at. Launched in 2003, eCOGRA has conducted over 500 compliance reviews, 100 of which are still current.
Key area it focuses on includes the protection of vulnerable players, combating criminal behaviour, preventing underage gambling, checking for accurate and prompt player pay outs, and ensuring fair gaming by evaluating gambling game RNGs and RTPs.
The million dollar question, however, is whether gambling sites endorsed by eCOGRA are as safe, reliable and worthy as thought to be. In other words does its certification still carry the same weight as before to attract new players to a particular site?
NoDepositExplorer.com Did Some Digging into eCOGRA
To answer this question the owners of top independent no deposit online casino guide NoDepositExplorer.com decided to do some digging, especially given the prevalence of eCOGRA seals on many of the most highly frequented no deposit bonus sites.
“As we endorse many sites offering the eCOGRA Safe and Fair Seal as well as the best no deposit bonuses with took it upon ourselves to research COGRA to find out what its endorsement really means,“ said Ryan D., NoDepositExplorer.com Editor-in-Chief.
“That’s why we put eCOGRA under the microscope,’ continued Ryan D, “And were happy to discover that its Seal is as powerful as ever, for the reasons highlighted below.”
What eCOGRA did and continues to do is examine every aspect of an online casino with the sole aim of finding faults and reporting them to the site so they can be corrected.
In doing so, the site moves one step closer to being accredited and thus perceived by players as a trustworthy and reliable gambling website safe to play on.
The Online Gambling Industry Before eCOGRA
Before eCOGRA was launched, online gambling was well on its way to becoming the billionaire dollar industry it is today.
However, as many top-rated online casinos and gambling software vendors (many of which are still going and thriving) as there were back then, there were also many ‘bad apples’ in operation.
Many of these consisted of ‘fly by night’ operations run by unscrupulous individuals and/or firms whose sole objective was to generate large sums of money fast.
Most didn’t bother to invest the time and money to become licensed and regulated by, and some even tampered with the return to player (RTP) of their games so that players were paid out less (on average, over time) than advertised.
Many Gambling Sites Operated Without Oversight
The result was a plethora of online gambling sites operating completely to their own tune with no oversight whatsoever from any gambling jurisdictions or any other type of regulatory bodies and/or independent ‘watchdog’ organisations.
Many players who were unlucky enough to pick these unscrupulous casinos to sign up with, claim bonuses from and make deposits with got burnt. For instance, many had their bonuses unceremoniously cancelled and their winnings confiscated for no rhyme or reason and without due warning.
Others had their bonus winnings withheld when they tried to cash out them out, even in cases where they followed the respective bonus terms and conditions (T&Cs) to a tee. Worse still, some players at these casinos were denied their withdrawal requests, even in the absence of bonus play.
Players Had No Recourse Over Unscrupulous Sites
But the biggest problem faced by players ‘suckered’ by these unscrupulous gaming sites was a total lack of recourse or ‘policing.’ In other words there was no one they could lay a complaint with as the buck stopped with the respective disreputable / rogue casino.
It was a marked increase in reports of this kind that helped give rise to eCOGRA, a firm that from the very beginning hired qualified staff well-versed in IT, finance, law, business administration, accountancy, auditing, game testing and data analysis.
In short, then and now this successful management-owned organisation is staffed with specialist personnel with a single goal – to vet and rate online gaming sites and their processes and systems top to bottom and left to right, leaving no stone unturned.
eCOGRA’s Fair and Safe Seal Tells Players a Site is Safe
For online gambling operators who seek out the services of eCOGRA the benefits are all too clear – have an independent 3rdparty firm completely test it and confirm that it’s 100% compliant according to the eCOGRA Generally Accepted Practices (eGAP) before issuing it with a Fair and Safe Seal that informs new players that it’s safe to join.
All of this due diligence revealed that eCOGRA’s reputation and seal holds just as much sway as it did when it was launched over 15 years ago. Players that know about eCOGRA are free to seek out online casinos and other sites certified by the agency.
Even players that aren’t aware of eCOGRA feel the effects of it (and its rivals like Gaming Labs International) without knowing it.
Verifiably Safe and Secure Sites Have Become The Norm
How? Because by creating an atmosphere of verifiably safe and secure sites, ‘dishonest’ sites increasingly stand out as the exception rather than the norm. This means they are recognised faster as frauds and thus fall by the wayside faster, preventing players from being drawn in by them.