ONLINE GAMING`S REGULATORY BODY, ECOGRA, SUPPORTS STATE POKER BILL `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 (www.eCOGRA.org).
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 PokerPulse.com) 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 industry’s 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