London, 24 October 2012 - The regulatory auditing and testing agency eCOGRA is benefitting from commercial opportunities opening up for online gambling testing agencies with the expertise and resources to provide compliance and audit services to major international companies seeking national licensing.
With the increasing number of governments opting for the regulation of internet gambling rather than banning this form of digital entertainment, a diverse and often complicated matrix of national regulatory requirements has emerged in Europe, creating an operator demand for independent specialist auditing and testing.
One of the major publicly listed international groups in the industry, Unibet, is among the industry front runners in identifying this professional need and creating a scalable multi-jurisdictional structure to answer the challenges involved.
Earlier this year Unibet constructed a clearly defined Request for Proposal (RFP) and invited a number of top testing agencies to bid for the account by describing in detail the qualifications of professional staff, how such a project should be approached, the timeframe, and at what cost.
The objective of the RFP was to select a strategic partner capable of furnishing Unibet Group with high quality and cost-efficient servicing of the regulatory compliance needs of the entire Group to ensure that the requirements of the jurisdictions where Unibet companies are licensed are properly identified, implemented and externally audited.
Among Unibet's requirements is the ability to conduct audits in accordance with the IAASB (International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board) Auditing Standards, as well as according to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard.
The player protection and standards body eCOGRA emerged from the competitive process as Unibet Group's ‘Regulatory Audit Partner’.
Andrew Beveridge, the chief executive of eCOGRA, welcomed the challenge of ensuring that Unibet is compliant at all times with the regulatory requirements of the jurisdictions where Unibet is licensed.
“Unibet is an industry leader in terms of promoting responsible gambling and player protection, and demonstrating the highest levels of regulatory compliance, and therefore we are very pleased to be appointed the Group’s Regulatory Audit Partner" he said this week.
eCOGRA's involvement commenced in Denmark, where eCOGRA has performed compliance reviews for over a quarter of the Danish licensees following an assessment by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to extend eCOGRA’s ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation to cover all 5 Danish certification categories.
Ewout Keuleers, General Counsel for the Unibet Group, noted that the Unibet choice of eCOGRA as its Regulatory Audit Partner was based upon a proven industry track record and extensive competitive RFP benchmark l.
"We are confident that eCOGRA's extensive mix of professional Big 4 audit firm, IT and industry experience will enable them to effectively assist us with the diverse spread of regulation and testing principles and methodologies being adopted throughout Europe,” he said.
Founded in 2003 to set and improve operational standards and player safety in the online gambling space, eCOGRA has amassed a wealth of experience in implementing international best practice standards and requirements and ensuring these are maintained through regular review and monitoring.
171 of the most established and successful internet gambling websites are accredited and policed by the independent, London-based company, which is staffed by professional auditors with Big 4 auditing firm experience, information system experts and responsible gambling specialists.
The organisation is respected as a major supplier of compliance services in the areas of player protection, fair gaming and responsible operator behaviour to stakeholders in the remote gambling industry.
In 2011 alone eCOGRA performed over 100 compliance reviews against its own eGAP Requirements, the European Gaming and Betting Association (‘EGBA’) Standards (incorporating the European CEN Workshop Agreement 16259:2011 Measures) and various jurisdictional regulations.
The company is an accredited testing agency with several jurisdictions, and has been awarded the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) ISO approval ISO/IEC 17025:2005 : General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. This accreditation is one of the quality assurance requirements for approval as a testing agency in various European remote gambling licensing jurisdictions.
Unibet was founded in 1997 and is an online gambling company listed on NASDAQ OMX Nordic Exchange in Stockholm. Unibet is one of the largest privately-owned gambling operators in the European market and provides services in 27 languages through www.unibet.com, www.unibet.dk, www.unibet.fr, www.unibet.it, www.unibet.be, www.unibet.com.au, www.maria.com and www.mariacasino.dk. Today, Unibet has 6.7 million customers in over 100 countries. Unibet is a member of the EGBA, European Gaming and Betting Association, ESSA, the European Sports Security Association and is audited and certified by eCOGRA in relation to responsible and fair gaming.