London, 31 October 2011 - Following its recent accreditation as a full testing agency by the Italian regulator AAMS, the independent player protection and standards body eCOGRA has achieved similar status with the new Spanish gambling regulator, and is now approved to test and certify both i-gaming software and information systems security for the Spanish market.
eCOGRA chief executive officer, Andrew Beveridge, applauded the licensing opportunities adopted by the Spanish regulator in the newly liberalised online gambling market in Spain, commenting:
“It appears that a harmonised EU regulatory environment is unlikely to be achieved in the near future, and operators, software suppliers and testing agencies are currently faced with a formidable challenge in meeting the different jurisdictions’ compliance requirements.
In this environment eCOGRA is very conscious of the need to fulfil our clients’ expectations and the associated audit risks, and we are continually developing our auditing approach to ensure that operator and software supplier clients realise benefits that include:
- A streamlined and efficient audit process ensuring reduced delays in licensing in new jurisdictions and minimal disruptions to the rollout of new products and system changes;
- Reduced testing through a single audit of common regulations across multiple jurisdictions, with possible and consequential annual cost benefits;
- Compliance work performed by professional and industry experienced auditors with a thorough understanding of the operational and regulatory environments;
- Comfort that a familiar testing agency with a proven reputation for integrity and competence is performing the testing work; and
- Competitive testing agency fees.”
Founded in 2003, eCOGRA tests, reviews and monitors the operational activities of almost 200 tier one online gambling venues operated by some of the largest companies in the industry. Its audit and IT professional staff is experienced in the testing and certification of platforms, games, online casino, bingo, mobile and poker networks and sports books to best practice standards that meet international regulatory requirements, including the safe storage database demands enshrined in the new Spanish regulations.
The Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego recently emphasised the importance of comprehensive and professional testing as a prerequisite for a stage one Spanish licence.
Applicants will be required to successfully undergo an assessment process of both games and platform by a testing agency recognised by the Spanish authorities. Once the licence has been issued, the applicant has four months in which to prepare for a final and all-embracing inspection of operational systems, games and hosting facilities, leading to a full licence.
The burgeoning Spanish market represents a significant business opportunity for operators committed to, and able to meet, high standards, and the demand for testing and advisory services is expected to be considerable.
eCOGRA is staffed by highly professional auditors with Big 4 auditing firm experience, information system experts and responsible gambling specialists. The organisation is a leading supplier of compliance and advisory services in the areas of player protection, fair gaming and responsible operator behaviour to stakeholders in the remote gambling industry.
In 2011 alone eCOGRA will perform almost 100 compliance reviews against eCOGRA’s eGAP Requirements, the European Gaming and Betting Association (‘EGBA’) Standards (incorporating the European CEN Workshop Agreement 16259:2011 Measures) and various jurisdictional regulations.
The company is an accredited testing agency with several jurisdictions, and earlier this year the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) awarded eCOGRA the ISO approval ISO/IEC 17025:2005 : General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. This accreditation is one of the quality assurance requirements for approval as a testing agency in various European remote gambling licensing jurisdictions.