eCOGRA: Q & A with Andrew Beveridge

lots0

Banned User - troll posts - flaming
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Location
Hell on Earth
First, my personal thanks to you Mr. Beveridge for taking the time to answer these questions.

I do find it odd that Mr. Beveridge finds it necessary to use an intermediary to answer questions here. (even if she is hot in those shiny black pants... :notworthy) Is this just a way for Mr. Beveridge to avoid answering direct questions from members? Or am I missing something here?

Unfortunately, Mr. Beveridge's answers have only helped to re enforce my unfavorable opinion about Ecogra.

Blaming affiliates and 'affiliate watchdogs' for problems that these same affiliates and affiliate watchdogs have helped to expose in your licensees, funders, certified members or whatever you want to call them... Is really not very... Cricket.
Especially when those 'problems' slipped right by ecogra.

I am glad to hear that the ecogra website is going to clean it's self up...
The ecogra site has really become a gateway to some very shady websites.

The idea that ecogra is going to pick and choose what aspects of a casino business to 'license' or 'certify' is disconcerting....
What you are saying in effect is that dishonest people can run your 'certified' online casinos as long as they run 'some' parts of their casino business in what you deem to be in an ethical manner. But you don't care if your 'certified' partners are ethical in business with affiliates, other webmasters or if they are ethical in any other aspect of their business. I don't think a lot of people are gonna buy that line.

But the reality is that eCOGRA right now is the industrys best shot at effective self-regulation...

The self regulation 'test' has had several years to show some progress... and I think most of us will agree 'self' regulation has failed miserably for the players and for the business partners of online casinos.

You can't collect a fee for 'certification', help to promote and market those you 'certify' and then call your organization independent. Well I guess you can call your organization 'independent'... But you sure as hell can't expect people to believe it.

Thank you again Mr. Beveridge for taking the time to answer these questions. I hope that next time you will be able to directly engage the members here in discussion and debate.
 

Pinababy69

RIP Lisa
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
To quickly address some of the points he made.

Interwetten: It was not a software malfunction, I think its clear to anyone with even half of a brain.

Arctic Poker: Didnt have a seal? then what is this? from 10th feb 2008
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.

Look at approved poker rooms. What do we have there? Yes, Arctic Poker.

Dear Mr.Beveridge dont underestimate our intelligence.

Hey Spider, I agree with you re: Interwetten and it not being a software malfunction. I personally believe that the software performed exactly as it was programmed to perform. The issue was in poorly written T&C's, and that is not the fault of the player. It also doesn't explain away why the exact same promo was run in the exact, same manner as it was the weekend before, when it WAS honoured. And FTR, before I even posted his responses here, I sent him a lengthy email and told him I disagreed with his/their response on the whole issue....although admittedly quite a bit more diplomatically than you did.

I also believe there comes a point when you realize you've reached an impasse. They believe they made the right decision, I believe they're wrong. I've stated my case, and there's not much more I (or anyone) can do about that. Except to choose to never give Interwetten a dime of my money, and advise anyone I know (or who ever asked) to do the same. Affiliates still happily promote this place, and they should share some of the heat as well. But I won't get into that part of it.

Regarding Arctic Poker, I remember I nearly fell off my chair when I read the response that they weren't a seal holder at the time of the review on Casino Action. I was so sure I had checked my facts thoroughly.

Andrew provided us a further explanation this morning, which I just read and will post as his reply. It seems there was a delay on the part of eCOGRA in updating their website, and thus it was still showing Arctic Poker as a member. Arctic Poker had also been informed that they were no longer eligible to display the seal.

Andrew's response to Arctic Poker:

I acknowledge that the Arctic Poker seal was being displayed as an approved site around the time that the Tusk seals were suspended. However this was incorrect, and this is precisely the reason we said in our initial statement on the matter that It should further be noted that the operations applicable to Arctic Poker (www.arcticpoker.com) did not form part of the eCOGRA review, and therefore the seal for this site has been revoked, as the time by which it should have been reviewed has expired. If necessary I can provide further details on our review and reporting process which will explain why there was a delay in removing the seal following the onsite review.
 

Rusty

Banned User - repetitive flaming
Joined
Jul 23, 2006
Location
Manchester UK
First of all on behalf of the forum many thanks to PinaBaby for putting so much time and effort into this.
I would also like to thank Andrew Beveridge for taking time out to address the questions and issues raised.

I found some of His answers interesting and positive but many very much like eCOGRA's suggested practices and guidelines were ambiguous and lacking substance.
Remember eGAP is an acronym for Generally accepted practices.

Much of how you feel about Mr Beveridge's response will depend on how cynical you are about eCOGRA's claim they are independent and objective.
For example take His opening statement;

Before I proceed to answer your questions, Id like to emphasise that eCOGRA protects the player in three main ways - it creates a safer playing environment by maintaining internationally appropriate best practice business and integrity standards at its accredited online gambling operations; it guides players to those establishments where it is confident they will be well treated, and it provides a free and impartial mediating service to handle any disputes[/B]

"creates a safer playing environment by maintaining internationally appropriate best practice business and integrity standards."
If that is not a pure example of a PR sound-bite that has no substance I don't know what is.
There is no real evidence it has created safer playing environment.
Internationally appropriate? Appropriate to who and how and why?
Best business practice and integrity standards (subjective)

It also guides players to the Casinos that fund their operation but that doesn't come across as well.

Obviously the impartial is still a matter of debate hence this thread.

Then;

...objectively ensure that a fair and professional regime of standards is in place, and is complied with, by major companies that have made the considerable commitment that accreditation by eCOGRA demands.

Ensure means to make certain of and how can you make certain of compliance when you only make recommendations?

What is the considerable commitment a Casino makes to eCOGRA?

This on being independently financed;

...the balance derived from professional fees from both accredited companies and a growing number of external companies who see value in our range of business services.

For accredited companies we can read Casinos so obviously the conflict of interest issue will remain until eCOGRA itself is accountable and it is motivated to be purely objective.
(Currently is it not like me paying a detective to investigate me for fraud and then discuss the evidence with me before I decide if I'm guilty or not?)

External companies? Care to elaborate on that?

On the display of the eCOGRA seal;

We try to insist that the seal is not displayed on sites from where non-approved products are accessed, however this is something which needs to be constantly monitored and Interwetten did subsequently sort this out.


Have you tried begging?
What can eCOGRA do in real terms to stop sites falsely displaying the eCOGRA seal?

OK so that is the statement from Mr Beveridge but what does the actual eCOGRA site state when it comes to a commitment to protect players?
The following statement is posted after the list of eCOGRA accredited Casinos. Old / Expired Link
The numbers have been inserted by myself for reference.

While eCOGRA does its utmost to ensure compliance with its principles(1), it cannot offer 100% assurance that the operation of any games at any given site is at all times in accordance with the eCOGRA requirements. (2)Therefore eCOGRA cannot assume responsibility for the consequences resulting from the use of any Internet gaming site bearing the eCOGRA Safe and Fair seal(3). eCOGRA is not liable to any person or group of persons, firm, company or entity for losses of any description that a user of an accredited site may suffer(4). Accredited sites are subject to regular monitoring of their operation.

(1) Why can ecogra not offer assurance its approved sites operate within ecogra requirements?

what practical use to the player are eCOGRA recommendations and assurances if the player can not know if an eCOGRA approved site even operates within these recommendations?

(2)and (3) Is this statement not simply an abdication of any responsibilty by eCOGRA's for its approved sites?

In the context of this apparent abdication of responsibility and lack of assurance an eCOGRA approved site even operates within their recommendations is not the "Safe and fair seal" claim an empty One?

(4) What does monitoring mean in practice and how regular is regular?

Finally, yes finally:rolleyes: but very importantly is the most important issue of all, are the games fair?

On the eCOGRA site there is plenty of corporate speak and technical terminology in the literature about the TGTR testing process which is supposed to ensure fair gaming but again there is no real attempt at transparency and detailing exactly what constitutes a fair game.

For example there is absolutely nothing there that would not allow the return of a slot to be changed yet still be deemed fair under the TGTR regime.

There is absolutely nothing there that prohibits weighting either.

It is more concerned with a software companies viability as a business and their financial integrity than any game-play mechanics so I for One would certainly take any statements of fair gaming with a rather large mound of salt.
Still like eCOGRA it is better than nothing but therein the problem lies.

They can overcome all the cynicism though by continuing to liaise with players (this is a good start) and taking action on the areas of concern.
Their judgments on player cases will be scrutinised and if they follow through on their promises and claims then conflict of interest concerns will gradually fade.
They need to find a way of toughening up their act and being able to guarantee compliance from their members or where transgressions occur acting swiftly, decisively and with transparence.

They have a dodgy engine,a long road ahead and it is all uphill.
Someone may have to get out and push but if they make it they will be a massive asset to all in the industry.
Still without the players they are nothing, we should all remember that.
 

bb1webs

Webmaster
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Location
BondedCasinos.com
Although three major and competing companies provided the substantial funding to get eCOGRA off the ground six years ago, the intention was always that the non-profit organisation would in time become independently self-funding, and we are currently on the threshold of that achievement

how nice to be on the threshold of profit.

Funny I don't recall there EVER being mention of ecogra becoming a for profit entity.

Do I really need to go on about what's wrong with that?

.......



I'm curious. If you folks lived in a town which was home to an outlaw would you be content to let that outlaw continue to exist there based on the fact the outlaw never did anything wrong in your town?

Perhaps some might be. To me, a killer is a killer, a thief is a thief, a rapist a rapist and so on. Doesn't matter where they choose to practice.

To say its okay for casinos to break contracts with affiliates because its not effecting players is akin.

Furthermore many players choose casinos based on the fact they have their affiliate to rely on as recourse. This recourse is out the window of course when the sponsor takes such action. Who is making the players aware that they are losing their affiliate as a means of recourse? How can one under such circumstance claim this isn't effecting the players in a negative way?

I run a cash-backed guarantee on my recommendations. Of course I pulled the guarantee way back (it has a 30 day grace period to allow players time to find out and choose another) ... but there may be those who won't find out ... tell them this didn't effect their status.


To claim the aff program is separate from the casinos is believable.

To claim that company is willingly giving up income that has already been earned is not ... the only way that would happen is if the aff program is tied into the casinos and then ... it becomes completely fathomable that they would want to cut out their partners.
 

mojo

Dormant account
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Location
East Coast
2. Considering how unethical it is for the GP affiliate program to treat its business partners in this matter, what assurances does the player have that the casino side of the business will treat its players any better?

I have had various discussions with Grand Prives management to understand what transpired with their affiliate program, and I dont believe all the facts are properly understood by the affiliate community.

I am of the opinion that Grand Prive would have been judged less harshly if a certain watchdog in the affiliate community had taken advantage of Grand Prives offer to explain their side of the story.

Thank you for your response.

Could we have an explaination of these facts? Regardless of the 'watchdog' site, the are other avenues of reaching affiliates. The watchdog site, I assume CAP, is not responsible for GP's actions. I am feeling a 'pass the buck' here.

Grand Prive is certainly judged harshly and is rouged most everywhere. This is a huge and serious problem for affiliates. How can we be assured that the casinos won't suddenly shut down as well? We can't. Whether the aff program was owned independantly or not, it still was a representative of the casinos. It offered 'lifetime' earnings. With endorsement of seals on the casinos, including ecogra, affiliates believed that. Trust is gone and subsequently and unfortunatly that effects ecogra seals as well.

This issue is far from over and it would help tremendously if ecogra could get aboard and help us out.
 

Tengil

Senior Member
Joined
May 4, 2006
Location
Finland
What some of you affiliates seemed to have forgotten is that the "Safe and Fair" seal is for the consumer, in this case the player, to ensure that they (sealholders) adhere to the standards set up by the seal issuer. And there have and allways will be companies that "screw" their business partner without it affecting the consumer.

And an affiliate is not a consumer. And as far as I know there arent any rules or regulations that must be followed from a legal standpoint (in affiliate marketing).

And in business you dont accept every contract that is brought to you. You negotiate, consult lawyers etc.

Therefore I dont think the GP case is relevant in discussing eCOGRA. If the affiliate program would have been approved by eCOGRA then it would be relevant.
 

lots0

Banned User - troll posts - flaming
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Location
Hell on Earth
Thank you for your response.

Could we have an explaination of these facts?...
Thats the problem with this third hand question and answer (no offense meant to Pina) but in this format Mr. Beveridge does not have to answer direct questions. He makes a statement, through an intermediary and basically that is the end of it...

I think Mr. Beveridge's statement leaves more questions than it answered.
 

mojo

Dormant account
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Location
East Coast
What some of you affiliates seemed to have forgotten is that the "Safe and Fair" seal is for the consumer, in this case the player, to ensure that they (sealholders) adhere to the standards set up by the seal issuer. And there have and allways will be companies that "screw" their business partner without it affecting the consumer.

And an affiliate is not a consumer. And as far as I know there arent any rules or regulations that must be followed from a legal standpoint (in affiliate marketing).

And in business you dont accept every contract that is brought to you. You negotiate, consult lawyers etc.

Therefore I dont think the GP case is relevant in discussing eCOGRA. If the affiliate program would have been approved by eCOGRA then it would be relevant.

I think that all aspects should be considered together. Software, players affiliates. If one is being treated poorly then there is a good chance others will be too. CM explains it better here:

https://www.casinomeister.com/rogue-casinos/grand-prive-bad-casino-practice/

Most affilates are players too.
 

Nandakishore

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Location
I live near Munich in Germany.
Although Mr. Beveridge has spent lot of time in answering Pina's excellent questions, I am now less convinced than before that eCOGRA is operating to guard the interests of players. The institution was created by some of the biggest solution providers of the industry, and since I don't believe that these giants are ideal examples in philanthrophy, I think eCOGRA serves primarily the interest of them and not us, the players and affiliates.
 

AussieDave

Banned User
Joined
Dec 24, 2005
Location
Australia
I was hoping that this thread would produce an open dialogue.

Unfortunately IMHO most of the responses given by Mr. Beveridge are nothing more than Spin Dr PR, driven home by semantics.

Whether eCOGRA has plans of becoming independently funded is neither here nor there. Because right now they are not!

Which is why I keep shouting that eCOGRA is embroiled with CONFLICT OF INTEREST issues.

In so far as players and their recourse of action against an eCOGRA ruling...If this was a genuine prospect then this process should be placed into the hands of an external mediation arbitrator. Anything else and it's just another CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

When does a body & or person(s) need to be versed in online gambling procedures to be able to make an educated judgement call on what is fair & just treatment of a player? In my book it's either right or it's wrong.

In so far as the GP chain of events, they've been black listed on more than a few respected portals and watchdog sites. That should represent a very clear message to the general consensus about the Grand Prive` fiasco.

Anyway they're my thoughts and opinions.


Cheers
T

PS Never underestimate your opponent.
 

Tengil

Senior Member
Joined
May 4, 2006
Location
Finland
I think that all aspects should be considered together. Software, players affiliates. If one is being treated poorly then there is a good chance others will be too. CM explains it better here:

https://www.casinomeister.com/rogue-casinos/grand-prive-bad-casino-practice/

Most affilates are players too.

Its irrelevant if affiliates are players too.

An affiliate could be described as an entrepeneur. You have to have some basics in business law when you sign contracts. You are not protected the same way as consumers for obvious reasons.

Many contracts involve cancellation clauses. Here is a link that may be useful for you: Old / Expired Link

Edit: so it looks that even if you were able to take GP to court you would lose
 

mojo

Dormant account
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Location
East Coast
Its irrelevant if affiliates are players too.

An affiliate could be described as an entrepeneur. You have to have some basics in business law when you sign contracts. You are not protected the same way as consumers for obvious reasons.

Many contracts involve cancellation clauses. Here is a link that may be useful for you: Old / Expired Link

Edit: so it looks that even if you were able to take GP to court you would lose

It is not practical to go to court. It's been looked at. That is why we rely on trust so much. In reality, all we have is each other.

I feel it is relevent. After they ripped me off as an affiliate, why would I want to see an ecogra seal on the casino, let alone play there. As a player I don't trust them. I am a player too and it is all relevent to me.
 

Tengil

Senior Member
Joined
May 4, 2006
Location
Finland
It is not practical to go to court. It's been looked at. That is why we rely on trust so much. In reality, all we have is each other.

I feel it is relevent. After they ripped me off as an affiliate, why would I want to see an ecogra seal on the casino, let alone play there. As a player I don't trust them. I am a player too and it is all relevent to me.

Because you would lose as you dont have a case. As an entrepeneur you just cannot rely solely on trust, in this case that they wouldnt use their cancellation clause. In "real" world no business (at least any successful) would survive that way.

I found enough information in 5 minutes, yet your organisations like GPWA, CAP and APCW have failed to inform you about this valuable information. Let alone that any of you would have educated yourself what pitfalls may excist in contracts you sign and agree too.

Entrepeneuship comes with a variety of risks and is not suitable for everyone. And many has learned the hard way before you. So you are not in a unique situation.

May sound harsh but thats how it is.

Edit: I actually have one question for Mr.Beveridge but will post it later.
 

mojo

Dormant account
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Location
East Coast
Because you would lose as you dont have a case. As an entrepeneur you just cannot rely solely on trust, in this case that they wouldnt use their cancellation clause. In "real" world no business (at least any successful) would survive that way.

I found enough information in 5 minutes, yet your organisations like GPWA, CAP and APCW have failed to inform you about this valuable information. Let alone that any of you would have educated yourself what pitfalls may excist in contracts you sign and agree too.

Entrepeneuship comes with a variety of risks and is not suitable for everyone. And many has learned the hard way before you. So you are not in a unique situation.

May sound harsh but thats how it is.

Edit: I actually have one question for Mr.Beveridge but will post it later.

This GP issue is far from over as I stated earlier. A contract is an agreement between two parties. The contract was changed and both parties did not agree. The contract is broken, but not by the affiliate.

We know this can happen. We have no legal recourse and that is why trust is such a huge factor. Especially in the us.

I did not come to argue contract law. Nor to discuss my education or anyone elses.

As a player, I will not play at GP casinos because of the reasons I stated.
 

mojo

Dormant account
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Location
East Coast
I found enough information in 5 minutes, yet your organisations like GPWA, CAP and APCW have failed to inform you about this valuable information. Let alone that any of you would have educated yourself what pitfalls may excist in contracts you sign and agree too.

What some of you affiliates seemed to have forgotten is that the "Safe and Fair" seal is for the consumer, in this case the player, to ensure that they (sealholders) adhere to the standards set up by the seal issuer. And there have and allways will be companies that "screw" their business partner without it affecting the consumer.

Sorry it took so long to really respond to this. I am a paralegal. Which means nothing except I sat through some classes on this. Including contract law. Your post was condescending spiderlegs. I am never allowed to give legal advice as I am not a lawyer. Neither shoud you!

"Some of us affiliates" !!! Sounds like a dirty word.

Everyone who plays at a casino enters into a contract when they click the 'i agree'.. terms and conditions. At every single casino. Sorry to be so HARSH. But every time you play you are under contract. I am a player too! It is all about trust, whether an aff or a player, or both! We just hope and pray that the terms we agreed to will be honored. It is all about trust. When affiliates get screwed it effects you too. When you play at that casino and trust them, affiliates are trusting them as well.

What is the difference if it is an affiliate or a player? The only thing I can figure out is that I am in the US?

Apologies for derailing the hard work from pina. This just really was uncalled for.
 
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