nline gambling sites bearing the seal are the subject to constant monitoring and annual inspections and reviews by the London-based non-profit organisation, now in its seventh year of operations. One of the requirements for accreditation is an operator’s commitment to work with eCOGRA in the event of player disputes.
Fair Gaming Advocate Tex Rees reports that over the first half of 2010 there were a total of 376 complaints submitted to eCOGRA, 33 of which were at non-accredited operations over which eCOGRA has no influence, and therefore cannot mediate. A further 56 of the complaints were declared invalid due to insufficient detail, irrelevance, abuse or anonymous origin.
The remaining 287 disputes - 76 % of the total received - were resolved by the Fair Gaming Advocate normally within 48 hours, with 47 % settled in favour of the player. "These numbers are similar, and in fact compare favourably with last year's numbers, despite the fact that eCOGRA now has 11 more accredited venues than last year," Rees reports. "We have actually seen a decrease in dispute mediation requests.
"We can attribute a portion of this drop in disputes to the fact that we have now been working with many of the Seal operations for several years and as a consequence a number of policies and procedures have been developed that translate to less cause for disputes. Our operators are also better equipped and motivated to deal with disputes at the operator level, which results in eCOGRA receiving fewer complaints."
Rees detailed Cash-in (43 %), Bonus issues (21 %) and Locked Accounts (21 %) as the principal causes for dispute, with the number of cash-in complaints easing from last year's 51 %. "We dealt with an average of 11.03 disputes a week in the first half of 2010," Rees revealed, adding that this represented an average dispute rate per Seal operation per month of 0.34 disputes - slightly lower than last year's 0.37 disputes.
"This level of performance is satisfactory and well within the standards we have set for our operators," she commented. "Viewed against the very high number of transactions these well established, tier one online gambling venues experience on a daily basis, the number of disputes continues to be remarkably low."