eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) 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 Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nevada (Las Vegas) 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 canvas 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 concerns that the industry is not doing enough to identify and curb problem gambling and ahead of the major changes in the UK regulatory regime under the 2005 Gambling Act, due to come into force next year. 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.”
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