Third Party Online Casino Watchdogs

Third Party Online Casino Watchdogs

Over the years, a number of independently appointed (or self-appointed) “watchdogs” have been setup to try and offer the player an extra level of protection. While the majority of these have been well-intentioned, they have also been poorly managed or otherwise motivated, meaning that in today’s world there are only really a couple of what you might term “authentic” certification seals. And even these are open to debate on effectiveness.

I’ll start with the most contentious one. It is contentious largely because of where it came from and also because it has the highest profile and is arguably the most active. It goes by the name eCOGRA (“eCommerce Online Gaming regulation and Assurance”) and was initially funded by the software manufacturer Microgaming (see above). It mainly concentrates on providing backup for players playing at Microgaming casinos, but has started to expand it’s remit to include other casinos using other vendor platforms.

The irony is, that of all the software providers, Microgaming imposes the most stringent guidelines on it’s casino licencees, in theory meaning that regulating these properties is an easier job. The truth is though, that while the majority of Microgaming casinos do operate a fair game, the quality of operations is diverse enough to mean problems can, and do, occur. However in my eyes, eCOGRA offers the most comprehensive and valuable service of all the online watchdogs and while it is still growing, is deserving of my support at this juncture.

As mentioned it has it’s detractors. Aside from the Microgaming link, it is widely felt that eCOGRA come down on the side of the casino too often. In truth, I believe the problem lies in communication, and the fact they cannot, or will not, publish their reasons for dispute resolutions on the basis that it shows fraudulent players (of which there are many) how they are able to spot a fraud. Hopefully this will change.

I’m not going to go on and on about how eCOGRA “seal” their casinos, but there is a comprehensive and always improving “eGAP” inspection process that is undertaken…you can read more at the eCOGRA website if you feel so inclined.

Of the other watchdogs out there, you’ll occasionally see the name “Montana” (or more accurately, “Montana Overseas”) mentioned. Montana is a disputes resolution service for players playing at RTG software-based casinos, set up and funded by RTG themselves. Questions over Montana’s effectiveness are commonplace, and it certainly seems to me as if they could improve communication and the speed of responses. However, there have been occasions where they have provided a satisfactory resolution to player issues, particularly as RTG themselves do not seem so good at regulating their licensees properly (putting it politely!).

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