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ECOGRA AIMS TO REDUCE UNDERAGE AND PROBLEM GAMBLING AT ONLINE CASINOS AND POKER ROOMS.

LONDON, May 23, 2006: The practical use of effective measures to promote responsible gambling at over 100 top Internet casinos and poker rooms will receive added impetus at the end of May when online standards and player protection body eCommerce and Online Gaming, Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) holds its second global training session in London, UK.

Today, online casino and poker room managers are concerned and committed to resolving the problems surrounding underage and problem gambling. Managers responsible for handling these issues around the world will converge on London for two days of intensive training by a team of specialists from the international Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4). Last year a similar session was held in Cape Town, South Africa for eCOGRA sealed sites.

Andrew Beveridge, CEO of eCOGRA said that the course is part of an ongoing requirement for online casinos and poker rooms holding the `Play It Safe` seal to have trained members of staff overseeing effective responsible gaming measures.

`Because online gaming is so popular, attracting many millions of players worldwide, responsible operators know that keeping their site and their players safe is critical to their long term business goals and the overall good of the industry,` he said. `We are pleased with the commitment of our `Play It Safe` operators, who have now included specific responsible gaming measures, aids and advice on their sites and appointed staff to look after this critically important operational requirement.`

Through lectures, homework and practical workshop sessions, attendees will learn how to identify problem gamblers using Brief Intervention Techniques (BIT) such as the Balinth method and role play exercises to learn how to intervene and deter these situations from arising. Delegates will also analyze case history material, and learn how to develop the latest front-line strategies using BIT through telephone and e-mail consultations with players. The impact of problem gambling on players' families will also be examined in detail, together with appropriate interaction at this level.

Beveridge views responsible gambling best practices as a critically important requirement for the industry from both a compassionate and business perspective.

??Because our software supplier members and seal casinos handle the majority of the industry's revenue and player activity, we feel it is eCOGRA's obligation to ensure that responsible gaming is a top priority,? said CEO Andrew Beveridge. ??Allowing underage or problem gamblers to play is morally wrong, and could have industry wide commercial and legal consequences. Our third party audit teams pay particular attention to compliance by eCOGRA certified casinos and poker rooms and there are very few, if any online gambling venues that can match the effort and commitment our operators have invested in this area.`


About eCOGRA
eCOGRA, the independent standards authority for the online gaming industry, is committed
to protecting online casino and poker players around the world. The non-profit organization addresses the most important issues to players: fast payouts, fair gaming, responsive and efficient service and responsible operator conduct.

eCOGRA provides an international framework of best operational and player practice requirements enforced through inspections, reviews, and continuous monitoring by independent global audit companies. To date, 76 sites comply with these requirements and have been awarded the coveted ??Play It Safe? Seal that identifies to players the safest online gaming sites on the Web. For more information on how eCOGRA is constantly improving standards in online gaming for players everywhere, go to www.ecogra.org.

About responsible gaming requirements at eCOGRA `Play It Safe` operations
All sites are required to carry a prominent Responsible Gaming section in which the dangers of under-age and problem gambling are explained. Seven day ??cooling off,? 6 month self-exclusion and deposit limiting mechanisms are available to gamblers who suspect they may be in difficulty. These will be promptly actioned by staff, who will themselves be on the alert for playing and financial patterns that may indicate an addictive gambler.

Scientifically developed, short self-help diagnostic questionnaires will be included on the site, together with links to problem gambling assistance bodies around the world.

Training programs take place at each casino and poker room to give staff expert tuition on how to identify and handle problem gamblers, and the use of ID verification methodologies. The marketing departments of seal casinos and poker rooms are routinely cautioned against sending any promotional or marketing literature to any player who may be a problem gambler, or those who are underage, or using media primarily targeted on teenagers. Even ??play for free? games on the sites are linked to the same age restriction, responsible gaming and player protection information as the ??real money? sections.




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