To maintain a relationship of trust between online casinos and players, independent organizations were founded.
Online gaming associations are associations promoted by online gaming operators and online gaming software providers in order to promote the interests of the online gaming industry in a credible and independent manner. The online gaming industry operates in an external environment that consists of the players, governments and society at large. It is not possible for operators to interact with these agencies individually. Online gaming associations act on behalf of the industry as a whole in allaying the concerns of these external agencies and when required taking steps to protect the well-being of the industry. The online gaming industry consists of members who are competing with each other and differences and even disputes are inevitable. Online gaming associations act to resolve these disputes in an amicable manner thus avoiding bad publicity and costly litigation.
Different online gaming associations have slightly differing objectives, but all of them act to promote and protect the online gaming industry. Over the past years the online gaming associations have been active in the following fields. One of the major functions is dispute resolution between players and online casinos. Whenever a dispute is referred to the associations they examine the evidence in an impartial manner and try to resolve the dispute in a just and fair manner. Another function of online gaming associations is to set benchmarks for the gaming industry particularly in the areas of responsible gambling and fair play. A high level of integrity in these areas not only makes the industry more credible to its customers but also tends to put a brake on government controls. The third function of online gaming associations is to represent the industry when dealing with governments and to organize legal defense should the need arise.
There are many reputed and influential online gaming organizations:
eCOGRA – eCOGRA was founded in 2002 by Microgaming and 888.com but functions as a completely independent body. Its primary functions are to resolve disputes between players and online casinos, set benchmarks for the online gaming industry and inspect casinos vis-a-vis those benchmarks. Its seal of approval is much sought after by online casinos.
Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) – The IGC is a non-profit trade association that serves as a collective voice for the interactive gaming industry. It has amongst its members those who are associated with the online gaming industry. Its objective is to address the challenges and opportunities facing the online gambling industry in order to ensure an environment of fair and responsible gambling.
Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) – is a not-for-profit corporation that works to preserve the growth and innovation of the Internet. It is playing a major role in defending Internet gaming operators against unjust laws like the UIGEA and unfair government actions by providing the best of legal defense.
Online Gaming Alliance (OGA) – OGA was founded in 1997 and inspects and certifies online casinos powered by Grand Virtual. The casinos that meet its exacting standards in fairness, security, reliability and entertainment value are allowed to use its logo.
EGBA (European Gaming & Betting Association) – The EGBA is a not-for-profit association set up by the seven leading online gaming operators in Europe. It is active in trying to forge a common online gaming environment in Europe by defending the industry against government control and bans.
Remote Gambling Association (RGA) – The RGA was formed in 2005 through a merger of two existing associations. It represents some of the largest online gaming companies and provides the industry with a single voice to regulators, legislators, and key decision makers around the world.
Casinomeister – Casinomeister is not an association but a web site that has been known as the casino watch dog and player advocate since 1998. The web site is a storehouse of useful information on the online gaming industry. Casinomeister’s main functions are taking up players’ causes against erring casinos and warning the players against rogue casinos.