eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming
Regulation and Assurance), the online gambling industry’s
player protection and standards authority, has unveiled plans for one of the
world’s largest online gambling research initiatives. It is expected to
provide the first player perspective following continued phenomenal growth of
the worldwide online gambling industry.

Researchers aim to capture the opinions of 20,000 players through a
quantitative internet based survey, supplemented by qualitative focus groups
in six of the industry’s major markets. Over 200 players in the US, UK, Japan,
Canada, Germany and Sweden will be asked for their opinions in the qualitative
exercise, in what is believed to be the first attempt to empower the player
community and put figures on anecdotal feedback about their concerns and
priorities for the industry.

Leading gambling research teams from the University of Las Vegas and
Nottingham Trent University start work on the research immediately with the
resulting ‘eCOGRA Global Gambler Report’ launching in January 2007. It will
provide the most comprehensive insight into player’s attitudes globally, with
a focus on what constitutes fair gaming, perceptions of operator conduct,
including customer service standards and will canvass opinions on what further
player protection measures can be put in place.
The report’s contents will also focus on who gambles, how frequently, why
and with what consequences including its impact on finances and well being.
Importantly, it will also differentiate between poker and casino players.

The eCOGRA announcement comes amid current legislative and regulatory
issues in the United States and the broad concern that the industry is not
doing enough to identify and curb problem gambling. eCOGRA’s Generally
Accepted Practices (eGAP) provide an international framework of best
operational and player protection standards and its “Play it Safe” seal is
currently the industry’s only independently verified certification that
consistently rechecks recipients through a globally recognised international
auditing firm.

Andrew Beveridge, CEO, eCOGRA comments, “We believe this is the first
time that the industry has tried to really identify what its customers – the
players – want and what motivates them. Online gambling attracts people from
so many diverse regulatory regimes that it has been impossible up until now to
conduct research of any scale. It is essential however that player concerns
are fully understood by organisations like eCOGRA which provide the only
effective monitoring and resolution protection procedures. We think the
results will inform regulatory decisions, operator conduct and even software
design for years to come. This announcement represents a step forward for
everyone and a real sign of a maturing industry.”