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eCOGRA Adopts “eGAP,” Principles for Fair and Honest Online Gaming, Offers Important Player Protections

Differences Between Online Gaming and Traditional Casino Games an Important Consideration

MONTREAL – June 18, 2003 – eCOGRA (e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) today announced the adoption of eCOGRA Generally Accepted Practices, also known as “eGAP,” for the online gaming industry. The eGAP requirements stipulate a comprehensive list of minimum requirements and suggested practices addressing player protection, fair gaming and responsible operator conduct.

According to Andrew Beveridge, chief executive of eCOGRA, the organization’s intention is that the eGAP will form the minimum requirements for regulated online gaming and potentially open a dialogue with gaming regulators and policy makers with regard to global regulation of online gaming.

“While various online gaming jurisdictions have done a good job of drafting rules and regulations for online gaming, in many cases the implementation of these rules has been flawed as few regulators recognize the fundamental differences between land-based and online gaming, an important consideration when implementing regulations in an online environment,” said Beveridge.

“The primary objective of eCOGRA’s eGAP is player protection; by providing comfort to the player that the games are fair, the player will be paid in a timely manner and treated fairly, and that the operators will behave responsibly,” said Beveridge.

eCOGRA has adopted a highly comprehensive system testing methodology, known as an outcome-based verification approach to verify randomness and payout percentages. The outcome-based verification process entails a thorough analysis of every transaction for every game by an independent and trusted third party with expertise in this area, such as an auditing and/or games testing firm.

An outcome-based review is ongoing, allowing for important player protections while at the same time providing online gaming software suppliers flexibility to offer exciting games and new options through ongoing system changes and development.

Gaming sites that apply for the seal must use software supplied by a member of eCOGRA and must comply with the eGAP, as documented by a review of the site’s procedures by eCOGRA’s Audit Panel. The sites will also be checked for player protection policies, technical capabilities and anti-money laundering measures. PriceWaterhouseCoopers is a member of the Audit Panel, and other respected accounting firms will be added as members in the near future.

John Anderson, CEO of Virtual Holdings, Ltd., owner and operator of Casino-on-Net, one of the largest internet casino companies stated: “In the absence of appropriate player protections being implemented by regulators on a global scale, we are confident that players will visit reputable online gaming operators that display the eCOGRA seal. The seal will become an instant symbol to the players that they can trust the site to offer fair games and honest, timely payment transactions.”

“eCOGRA’s adoption of eGAP is about credibility; a level of credibility that can only really be achieved when standards effecting player protection, fair gaming and responsible behavior are applied in an appropriate manner where the priority is the interests of the players, but at the same time is satisfactory to regulatory jurisdictions, software providers and operators,” said Bill Galston, an eCOGRA independent director and former Chief Inspector of the Gaming Board for Great Britain. “It is the intention that eCOGRA’s efforts will foster continued debate with regard to regulated online gaming.”

eCOGRA has commenced with six directors, including three independent directors who will always have voting control over board decisions, to guarantee eCOGRA’s autonomy from software providers and operators.

The initial six directors are the Chief Executive, Andrew Beveridge; three independent directors -- Paul Hainsworth, former Director of Risk Management at PricewaterhouseCoopers for Europe, Africa and Middle East; Bill Galston OBE; and Frank Catania, a former Assistant Attorney General in the State of New Jersey and Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement -- together with a representative from each of the founding members, Roger Raatgever, Microgaming, and Russell Foreman, Virtual Holdings.

eCOGRA membership is open for application by any reputable online gaming software suppliers who share eCOGRA’s vision toward fair and responsible online gaming. eCOGRA’s constitution ensures that the independent directors are solely responsible for determining which online gaming software suppliers and operators ultimately qualify for eCOGRA membership and the seal, respectively.


About eCOGRA

The objective of eCOGRA (e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) is to be an independent entity that provides important player protections to consumers, including that operators are honest, games are fair, monetary deposits are safe and winning bets are paid in a timely manner. eCOGRA's founding members, Microgaming Software Systems Ltd. and Virtual Holdings Ltd., account for more than 70% of casino style gaming on the Internet.

eCOGRA is open for application for membership by online gaming software suppliers who share the vision toward fair and responsible online gaming. The eCOGRA Board will limit membership to those suppliers that are accepted by the Board as having and proving the highest level of integrity, are able to comply with the Statements of Generally Accepted Practices and whom the Audit Panel accepts.

Initially, eCOGRA will focus on online casino gaming. It will evolve to include other forms of online gaming, such as sports books, poker and bingo.

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