The majority of valid complaints received by the independent player protection and standards body were resolved within 72 hours. "Operators have responded in a fast and cooperative manner to those cases where I have requested information and explanations, and have been quick to respect my findings in each case," Rees reported, adding that it had been noted that a small percentage of players still tried to circumvent terms and conditions governing play and payouts.
"This small category of players has become more creative in their tactics, but the operators have developed correspondingly improved methods to identify and then lock them out," she said.
eCOGRA oversees the online gambling activities of some 145 tier one online gambling sites owned by some of the biggest and most established operators on the Internet, and makes available a free dispute resolution service to players using those sites which have been awarded eCOGRA’s “Safe and Fair” seal.
During the first 6 months of 2011 a total of 475 complaints were received, 57 of these being in respect of sites outside the eCOGRA sphere of influence and therefore not accepted. A further 60 were invalid due to insufficient information or irrelevant enquiry.
The 358 valid and legitimate complaints accepted by the FGA featured cash-in problems (41 percent), bonus issues (23 percent) and locked accounts (21 percent) as the main disputes, with an average complaint rate of 13 per week across all 145 accredited operations. The number of valid disputes resolved in favour of the player dropped to 40 %, a decrease of 3 % on the 2010 figures, Rees reported.
This decrease is attributed to a number of gambling syndicates breaking the terms and conditions that were uncovered by operators through the application of increasingly sophisticated tracking techniques" says Rees. The use of multiple account and fraudulent documents are being picked up on a much more regular basis.