he report reveals that certain complaints submitted to the FGA came from a player syndicate fraudulently manipulating bonuses, which an in-depth investigation uncovered.
"Security considerations prevent the disclosure of the location and modus operandi adopted by the swindlers, who were all subsequently discovered and blocked," Rees recounts.
A total of 846 disputes (2009: 826 complaints) were submitted online to eCOGRA throughout 2010, an increase of 10 % over 2009. 67 of these concerned companies not accredited through eCOGRA and therefore outside the ambit of the FGA's authority.
A further 125 were found to be invalid, being fraudulent, non-specific or abusive and anonymous in nature. The remaining, or valid, 654 disputes (2009: 628 complaints) concerned cash-in problems (44 %); Bonus issues (25 %); and Locked accounts (19 %).
12 % were categorised as 'other' and involved software fairness, responsible gambling and spamming allegations. Over the 12 months, an average of 43 % of disputes was resolved in favour of the player.
"The small decrease in the percentage of disputes resolved in favour of the player, and a corresponding increase in allegations of unjust bonus disqualification have been proved through detailed investigation to be connected," Rees reports.
"A fraudulent player syndicate was caught out by sophisticated security systems, resulting in its members submitting allegations which subsequently proved to be false, but had to be painstakingly followed up."
The free eCOGRA disputes resolution service has been in operation since 2004, and has handled a total of almost 4 500 disputes over that period. Almost 49 % of these were resolved in favour of the player.
The level of disputes per accredited eCOGRA site was again remarkably low for the volumes of business transacted, with a typical accredited site delivering only 0.38 disputes on average per month throughout the year.