eCOGRA is the e-Commerce Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance body. While they are best known for their auditing and publication of payout percentages for online pokies as well as online casino table games, they also set a range of other standards for their eCOGRA seal-holders. The body sets a range of regulations that help casinos achieve the objectives of “player protection, fair gaming and responsible conduct by operators”, according to their Generally Accepted practices Statement. Today we start a series looking at exactly what eCOGRA thinks is safe, fair and responsible in various areas of online casino dealings. Our first part focuses on Guidelines for Receipts and Payments – do our favourite online casinos comply?
Efficient, Prompt, Complete, Accurate and Legal
These are the base standards to which the payment and receipt procedures of online casinos holding the eCOGRA seal must comply. The actual objective is:
Payment requests/receipts shall be efficiently and promptly attended to and payments/receipts shall be completely and accurately processed, in conformity with the law of the jurisdiction where the player is located.
Basically, you should be able to expect that an online casino applies money to your account as quickly as possible once received, and pays you out as quickly as possible once your withdrawal request is received. It isn’t rocket science (though with the delays that some online casino players experience, one can begin to wonder!).
Documentation of Receipt and Payment Procedures
There are several minimum requirements that eCOGRA accredited online casinos must adhere to, and documentation of procedures and steps taken features heavily. The actual stated minimum requirement related to documentation include:
- “All receipts from and payments to players must be conducted through a formal documented process”
- “All information regarding receipts and payments must be logged and retained by the applicable parties”
- “The locking of player accounts shall be conducted through a formal documented process”
Your Access to Your Data
eCOGRA guidelines also provide for your access to your own payment and receipt data with a casino. One of the minimum requirements for all seal holders I that “Players shall be able to access their account history dating back for a minimum period of one month, including all deposits, withdrawals and payments”.
If your casino also complies with eCOGRA’s recommended practices, they will make available your player account statements to you on request also.
Some of the recommended practices in the eCOGRA guidelines are aimed at preventing fraud, both internal to the online casino, and external (from players). The regulations which aim to minimise the chance of fraudulent activity include:
- Only authorised users should have access to payment approvals, and be able to submit these to financial institutions
- Segregation of payment request processing, payment approvals and reconciliation of payment data.
- Procedures should be in place for creating exception reports (for when things don’t go to plan), and for following up any rejected transactions.
- Access to customer master data should be restricted
- Payments should always be reviewed and authorised by a management-level staff member before completion.
It is important to note however, that these are just the ‘Suggested Practices’ from eCOGRA – not minimum requirements.
The eCOGRA seal is a symbol well worth looking for at your online casino. However, it also pays to ask the casino whether they meet only the minimum requirements, or also comply with suggested practices!