We recommend certain casinos, but you might wonder how you could possibly know what makes them so special. Why listen to us at all? Here’s something to chew on: don’t listen to us. Listen to the authorities instead. In this case, the authorities use independent testing services. The most well known and trusted in the industry is eCOGRA. You might have come across their logo several times while searching for casinos. The name is an acronym that stands for e-Commerce Online Gambling Regulation Assurance. When you see this logo, click on it and make sure it takes you to the eCOGRA page. This is where you will find the most up to date information about the casino you’re investigating.
The history of eCOGRA goes back to 2002. They are a not for profit organization started for the express purpose of online gambling industry regulation. The founding investors were 888 Holdings and Microgaming. Nevertheless, eCOGRA is independently operated and is not affiliated with any casino. The reason these large online gambling companies funded this non profit whose job is to make sure they are operating fairly is that at the time, the industry was a free for all. Since many casinos are operated anywhere in the world, there was no single government that could enforce laws across the industry. There was no way of knowing who was honest and who wasn’t. The dishonest casino operators were multiplying rampantly and threatened to sink the entire industry within a matter of years. The top casinos decided it was time to take matters into their own hands and self-regulate.
The role of eCOGRA is to randomly test casino software and ascertain that it runs honestly. The way this is done is that auditors will arrive at a casino’s offices and run benchmark testing on the random number generator software, as well as take a good look at how the casino is run. The casino must give itself over to testing if it wants to maintain licensing. Since the licenses are granted by specific governments, this becomes a legal necessity nowadays. The most highly respected government licenses today are handed over by the governments of Gibraltar and Malta, both of which are EU territories.
When eCOGRA determines that a casino is run properly, it grants its seal of approval, which certifies that the casino is “safe and fair.” This seal is a guarantee that according to the licensing requirements, the casino is operating in accordance to law and regulation. The casino is determined to be playing fair and to be free of any dishonest conduct. A further benefit is that it grants a second level of arbitration in case of trouble. Both the licensing country and eCOGRA are there to help.
There are three main things eCOGRA takes a look at. Player protection is taken very seriously, and this forms the first part of the puzzle. When players go to a casino there is an agreement made between the two parties that money will flow one way or another. It is easy to see how money can flow into the casino. They get player credit card information, or whichever payment method sends them the funds, and just keep the money if the player loses. But what if the player wins? The player does not have access to the casino’s credit card information, and cannot directly bill the casino. There needs to be an open and honest system in which the casino disburses the funds it owes the winning player. It would be quite easy for the online casino to just refuse payment. What is the player going to do? Fly over and demand the cash by force?
In fact, this was the very problem with online casinos before regulation took over. The most important thing eCOGRA ascertains is that the casino under scrutiny disburses funds on time and without hassle. Their very license is contingent upon this, and this is what has saved the industry as a whole. Without customer trust there can be no industry. Casinos keep very clear records of all their transactions, and all of these are audited by eCOGRA on a regular basis.
Consumer protection goes further, however. eCOGRA makes sure that the casino is operated securely. It is pointless for the casino to be honest in its transactions if it leaves the door open to hackers and criminals to steal sensitive customer information like credit card numbers. Casinos are required to have up to date security measures that can withstand any cyberattack. This takes the form of firewalls and data encryption. Any communication between customer and casino is protected by these measures, and eCOGRA makes sure nothing goes awry.
The second standard put in place by eCOGRA is in regards to the random number generator, which is the core of the casino software. Without this code, the casino is not a casino at all. Random numbers are required for gambling results to be true. Because odds are based on randomly occurring events in nature, such as how the dice fall on a felt surface due to velocity, torque, friction, and countless other factors that cannot be measured on the fly, the odds are considered to be constant in a statistical manner. In an online casino there are no felt tables, or bouncing balls subject to gravity, friction, and all those minutiae we refer to in a random universe. There are lines of code. And true random events are spectacularly difficult to replicate. Random number generators accurately simulate the randomness of the world, and this is thanks to advanced computer systems and software so complicated that it was considered science fiction twenty years ago. The downfall of random number generators, though, is the fact that because they are software based, they can be programmed for specific results.
Don’t be alarmed. The fact that random number generators can be programmed is exactly what allows them to accurately simulate odds for each individual game. A tweak to the results and you get an accurate representation of blackjack. Another tweak, and you get a true facsimile of roulette. And so on. The casino fine tunes the numbers and determines what the house advantage should be, and then advertises it on its website. This is where it gets sticky. In order for the games to be fair, the casino must stand by its advertised numbers and not change them mid-game. This is imperative in order for the games to remain fair. You can try these games out at Golden Riviera Casino.
eCOGRA takes this matter extremely seriously, and a large part of their testing is devoted to this very issue. They run very complicated systems testing on a regular basis to make sure the software works as intended. The casino does not have time to prepare for these tests, so that the results remain true to life. Only if a casino’s software passes these testing requirements, does it even have a chance to move forward to the third stage of the audit.
Stage three focuses more on the business practices of the casino. They take a look at the quality of customer service. They examine the transactions and where they come from to make sure that there is no illegal activity connected with the casino. They essentially, do a background check to make sure the casino is run in an honest fashion.
Once all the requirements are fulfilled, the casino is granted a renewal of the seal of approval, on which licensing renewal is contingent. This is the only way for consumers to have peace of mind in this industry. Even today, there are many dishonest casino operators whose main business model revolves around stealing money. The only way for a player to seek protection is by avoiding those casinos, and only choosing to play in those casinos that routinely undergo review. All the casinos we recommend on our website are rigorously tested for quality, which means they are a great starting point when choosing a new casino. Be smart and play safe.