With heaps of casino operators already vying for players, and many more joining them each day, it's unsurprising that some less savoury operators want in on the action. Given the vast amount of money that passes through online casinos, it is of utmost importance that you know you're playing somewhere that is safe.
A few times each year (possibly every 3-4 months) operators must undergo an audit, from an independent body. The purpose of casino auditing is to uncover exactly how they are run behind the scenes - and whether they are adhering to the latest regulations. Areas of particular interest, during casino auditing, include player protection (self-exclusion, bet limits and cooling-off periods), data protection and the way transactions are handled.
For players, there are some simple indicators of a casino's trustworthiness - including certifications and seals of approval. Here we will run through the main bodies that award these certificates, so you know what to look out for when joining a new casino.
There are a number of independent bodies that offer casino auditing services. One of the most widely recognized, and respected, is Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC). Considered among the "Big Four" accountancy firms in the world, they also provide a forensic casino auditing service.
The main purpose of the casino auditing performed by PWC is to ensure operators are maintaining their licensing requirements. Failure to do so will result in an operator being given a limited period (up to 30 days) to make the changes necessary to fulfill their license conditions. Once this time has passed, licenses can be taken away. This can ultimately lead to an operator shutting down if they can no longer operate legally.
Whilst they are highly respected, you're unlikely to find any direct sign of PWCs casino auditing. Instead, you will need to check an operator's license, to see whether it is up to date. It is, however, far more likely you may come across an eCOGRA seal.
Established in the UK, almost 20 years ago, eCOGRA is an internationally recognized testing agency specific to the gambling industry. Among other things, they specialize in the certification of online gaming software and systems.
To date eCOGRA is one of the most prolific casino auditing bodies - having conducted over 1,000 compliance audits. These audits have spanned the areas of:
Operators which have been audited, and approved, by eCOGRA are generally easy to spot - as a seal should be displayed in the footer of their website. The best operators will also provide a link to their individual eCOGRA certificate, which shows the date it was awarded and how long it is valid for.