eCOGRA Renews Bella Vegas Approval - Online Casino Home


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eCOGRA Renews Bella Vegas Approval

June 05, 2009

The news that eCOGRA has renewed the “Safe and Fair” seal approval of Bella Vegas online casino has not gone down well with many affiliates. The genesis of this outrage goes back to November 2008.

In November 2008 Microgaming decided to pull out of the American online gaming market. All online casino groups that were powered by Microgaming also had to stop servicing American customers. One such online casino group was the Grand Prive group. Bella Vegas is one of the brands of this group. When Grand Prive moved out of America it terminated the agreements with its existing affiliates. Grand Prive was as such committed to pay the affiliates over the lifetime of the player. However there was a clause in the affiliate agreement which stated that the affiliate would not be entitled to referral fees occurring after the date of termination. The problem arose because the Grand Prive online casinos continued to service the existing customers without paying the affiliates. This led to a lot of anger among the affiliate community and to the blacklisting of Grand Prive online casinos at several watchdog forums like Casinomeister. This matter remains unresolved and many affiliates were expecting that eCOGRA would not renew their approval of individual Grand Prive online casinos when the current approval expired. However this has not been the case with at least Bella Vegas.

The issue perhaps takes a different color when seen from the perspective of eCOGRA. eCOGRA’s “Safe and Fair” seal is based on the online casino’s interaction with its players. The guidelines against which the casino’s operations are measured do not include its interactions with its affiliates. Bella Vegas online casino has not done anything unethical towards its players. It complies totally with each and every requirement that is needed for the approval. This may be fine if one goes by the letter of the guidelines. However the spirit of the guidelines has definitely been violated. The affiliates are asking what prevents the Grand Prive online casinos from stopping payments to the players just as they have stopped payments to the affiliates. And so far eCOGRA has not responded to this question.

To understand just how angry the affiliates are it is worth having a look at the website of the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association. At the forum on that website is a long and engaging thread about eCOGRA’s decision to approve Bella Vegas. The issue is whether player security and affiliates security can really be segregated. eCOGRA independently inspects and approves affiliate programs through a separate seal of approval. The affiliates are demanding to know if eCOGRA will defend the rights of affiliates and revoke Bella Vegas’ seal of approval.

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