We must all play a part in fair play

Roger Raatgever from Microgaming discusses player protection

As the egaming industry matures and continues down the road towards consolidation, it will inevitably find itself under greater scrutiny from players, the media, governments, watchdogs and in the case of the publicly listed companies, the broader business community.

When you consider we work in an industry that operates almost entirely online and across many jurisdictions, it is paramount we provide players   with assurances that games are fair, payments will be prompt and there are channels through which they can address grievances.
      While many operators might claim to advocate greater player protection and operator responsibility, few can substantiate their claims. Those who can will find themselves with a potentially powerful point of differentiation through which they can gain a competitive edge in an increasingly saturated market.

“It’s unrealistic for us to expect eCOGRA to deliver
us a more responsible industry on its own. Software
 providers and operators need to play their part ”

Founding father

As a founding member of eCOGRA – the independent standards authority for the industry – Microgaming has long supported the move towards an industry gold standard for player protection and player responsibility. In March, the authority confirmed it had awarded seven new ‘Play It Safe’ seals, bringing the number of seals awarded to 76 sites – six of the latest additions are part of Microgaming’s own Prima Network. Each site has undergone a rigorous audit to comply with eCOGRA’s Generally Accepted Practices (eGAP) requirements, a process that covers everything from payment systems and security to server connectivity and disaster recovery. One specific requirement is that the software is subjected to a total gaming transaction review (TGTR). This is an advanced form of output-based testing that has been developed specifically for the egaming industry to determine the randomness of the RNG and verify payout percentages.

But it’s unrealistic for us to expect eCOGRA to deliver us a more responsible industry on its own. Software providers and operators need to play their part. One obvious way we can influence this area is through the technology we provide and the support we offer our partners. Microgaming’s trademarked technologies, such as PlayCheck and CashCheck, allow players to track payments and played games at the click of a mouse, providing greater levels of transparency than even land-based casinos . These, coupled with extensive levels of back-end support, including marketing and CRM tools, enable microgaming’s partners to offer one of the best player experiences.
      While technology plays its part in driving higher levels of player protection, it’s just as important that players feel they are being treated fairly. A quick browse through the threads of a watchdog chat room will highlight the damaging effects poor CRM can have on the reputation of a site.
      In many cases the sub-standard treatment players endure during the handling of disputes cause greater anger than the disputes themselves. Bizarre, when you consider it’s cheaper to invest in keeping a player than recruiting a new one.

Flying the kite mark

Seals of approval have flourished in other industries for years, because they provide consumers with an easily identifiable visual reference that offers instant assurance – think British Standards Institution Kite mark.
      As awareness for the seal continues to grow within playing communities, and greater numbers of operators open their doors to the audit panel, it is inevitable the ‘Play It Safe’ seal will become an increasingly important player acquisition tool.

      While there is no disputing that variety of games and software security will always rank as the key motivators for players, ultimately it is an all-round positive experience that will determine whether they stay on to become a lifelong customer or no