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"We can help," says Chief Executive, Andrew Beveridge

The news that a key Bill seeking to legalise online poker in the state legislature of North Dakota is making good progress has been welcomed by the online gaming industry's regulatory body eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (

The CEO Andrew Beveridge commended Representative Jim Kasper for sponsoring the legislation, which now moves to the state Senate for hearing on March 8.

"North Dakota is setting an important state precedent by introducing legislation that will protect players of this popular card game through sound and enforced regulations, and has the potential to make significant contributions to the state economy through taxes and operational presence on U.S. soil," he said.

Beveridge went on to reveal that eCOGRA has recently completed extensive studies of viable online poker regulation in order to add enforced online poker regulation to its services. "Three of the top seven poker operations (as rated by have already started our eGAP inspection process, which is being carried out by one of the world's leading audit firms," he said.

"Player protection is key to the industrys success. Players can feel safe in the knowledge that gaming is fair, payouts are timeous and customer service is superior on all sites certified by eCOGRA. eCOGRA is now well experienced in designing and applying effective regulation of gambling operations through rigorous assessment by internationally recognised audit firms. This verification applies currently to fifty one online sites that handle much of the international online gaming market. eCOGRA would be delighted to share its knowledge with state legislators to further this process." eCOGRA is already involved with a number of online gaming jurisdictions, sharing knowledge about practical and effective regulatory requirements and the methodologies required to ensure effective monitoring.

Gambling regulation has traditionally been the prerogative of individual states in North America, a right that has been jealously guarded despite occasional interference from the federal government. The governor of this progressive state is reported to support the Bill.

The eCOGRA CEO drew attention to comments made earlier this year by eCOGRA indpendent director Frank Catania. Addressing the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, the former director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement observed that 82 jurisdictions worldwide provide some form of regulation for various types of Internet gaming.

He said, "The ability to do real time auditing makes regulation easier and more efficient than the systems currently used by the terrestrial casino regulators. State-of-the-art technology, combined with proper operating procedures, has proven effective in preventing minors from gambling online and in combating money laundering. "This form of gambling cannot be stopped, but it can be effectively regulated and taxed. State legislators in Illinois and Georgia recently introduced bills to permit the online sale of lottery tickets."

Issued by: Andrew Beveridge, CEO
Date: 7 March 2005
Telephone: +44 20 7887 1480

Optional Note for Editors:

eCOGRA is a non-profit, non-partisan body with a full time staff in London, England. Founded by major online software and casino operator groups in 2002, the organisation spent some time researching the concept of regulation with experts throughout the world before formulating a practical set of requirements essential to fair and efficient gambling operations, together with an independent inspection and monitoring system for enforcement.

Approved casinos are identified by a Seal, and commit to a set of professional operational practices which are independently enforced through inspection and monitoring by major international business groups. The infrastructure includes a Fair Gaming Advocate for any player disputes that cannot be resolved at casino level.

The North Dakota Bill passed the state House on February 16 and now moves to a hearing in the state Senate in the regional capital Bismarck on March 8. If it passes, it will position North Dakota as a leader among American state jurisdictions, regulating the industry to protect players and generating important taxes. It could set a precedent and open the door for the first time to online poker operations based on U.S. soil, with positive effects for local economies. Given the huge popularity of poker in the United States particularly, where a reported 50 million citizens enjoy this skilled game the potential is significant.