Safety and fairness are paramount concerns to the online poker player, and organizations such as eCOGRA are responsible for making sure that players have someone to represent them when they have complaints. Last year, more then half of the complaints submitted to eCOGRA were settled in the player’s favor.

Player protection and standards organization eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) oversees around 120 tier one online casinos and poker rooms, and offers a dispute resolution service to players from sites that have been awarded eCOGRA’s “Safe and Fair” seal. Tex Rees, eCOGRA’s Fair Gaming Advocate, released her report for 2007, which shows an increase in demands for mediation and very positive results for those mediations. These are some highlights of her report:

• During 2007 a total of 783 complaints were received, which is more than the previous year.
• Out of these only 645 were considered legitimate, since 93 of these were about sites that are not covered by eCOGRA and 45 were invalid for having insufficient information or being irrelevant.
• Settlements in favor of the player were reached in over 68 percent of the 645 valid and legitimate complaints.
• The main causes for complaints were: Payout problems (47 percent,) Bonus issues (28 percent,) Locked accounts (21 percent) and Miscellaneous (4 percent)
• The average dispute per site per month remained at less than one half of one percent.
• The Fair Gaming Advocate Tex Rees maintained an impressive average response time of less than 72 hours for complaints.

Fair Gaming Advocate Rees commented on these figures:

The number of valid disputes received increased over the past year, and I believe this is a result of players becoming more aware of our mediation service and our ability to respond quickly in achieving a fair outcome.

Resolutions in favour of the player reached 68 percent, and there appear to have been fewer chancers submitting questionable complaints in 2007. I suspect that this is because there is a greater awareness that complaints will be thoroughly investigated in pursuit of a fair and unbiased resolution.

It is once again very reassuring to note that the average number of valid disputes received per approved site per month remains particularly low at 0.44 percent. This is a clear indication that the approved operators, together with eCOGRA, are being effective in meeting the need for fair gaming, player protection and responsible operator behaviour.

Players of sites with eCOGRA’s “Safe and Fair” seal can play confidently, knowing that they count with Reese’s full and speedy support in case of any complaints or suspicion of foul play. eCOGRA’s approved sites include Golden Riviera, Poker Room and Pacific Poker.

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