Malta Recognizes eCOGRA Standards - Wednesday 19th of April 2006

LONDON –- The Lotteries and Gaming Authority ofMalta (LGA) and independent standards organisation eCommerce and OnlineGaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) have agreed to closer cooperationin pursuit of player protection measures.

Subject to certain conditions, the LGA has agreed that operators usingsoftware supplied by eCOGRA members, and that is subject to eCOGRA'sprinciples and testing methodologies, will not be required to submit tofurther review and monitoring processes required for the award of a Maltaonline gaming licence. The LGA will continue to use its own methodologiesin conducting due diligence investigations on all applicants to decide ontheir suitability as licensees and to review other appropriate areasaddressing player protection and responsible operator conduct.

The discussions follow investigations by the LGA in a search foroptimum testing and operational systems. Malta is a full member of theEuropean Union.

The agreement will potentially apply to a wide range of online casinosand poker rooms, comprising a significant proportion of the availablebusiness. Malta numbers 71 online gambling sites as licensees, and thereare 76 major Internet venues carrying the eCOGRA "Play It Safe" seal.

There will also be more cooperation between the two bodies on playerdisputes to ensure that these are heard fairly, independently and within areasonable timeframe. The LGA has its own compliance and disputes officerand eCOGRA offers a dedicated dispute mediation service through its FairGaming Advocate.

Further discussions will now detail the finer points of cooperation andconsistency between the requirements of the two bodies, based on anacceptance of common principles of honesty and efficiency in the interestsof player protection.

Mario Galeo, the chief executive responsible for Malta licensing saysthat he is pleased with the agreement reached with eCOGRA and looks forwardto close cooperation and communication in the interest of creating betterconditions in the online gambling industry.

"We share a common purpose in seeking to ensure that the player isgiven fair gaming and efficient, courteous service by casinos and pokerrooms that are licensed and regulated by our respective bodies," he said."We look forward to a closer working relationship that benefits both theplayers and the industry in the years ahead."

The CEO of eCOGRA, Andrew Beveridge said he was delighted that the LGAhad approved the testing procedures and operating standards that hisorganisation had introduced for the "Play It Safe" seal operations.

"eCOGRA is keen to interact with any jurisdiction that shares ourvalues and we regard this closer relationship with the LGA as a significantstep toward consistent global regulation for safe online gambling," hesaid.

The agreement follows a similar collaborative arrangement with theKahnawake licensing jurisdiction in Canada, which was signed late last yearby the directors of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and eCOGRA.

eCOGRA has announced that the growing interaction between majorregulatory and standards authorities is broadly aimed at achieving widerconsistency across geographical borders in regard to requirements andstandards concerning online casino and poker room relations with the playercommunity.

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