Focus on eCOGRA: Now is ‘ideal time’ for expansion into U.S. iGaming market

June 13, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
June 13, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

While America’s online gambling market is still in its early stages, international operators and software developers with years of experience are available to help it grow and evolve.

Those involved with online gambling in Europe and other areas where it was legalized before the turn of the century have a “noteworthy advantage” from their knowledge of effective regulations and expertise in providing what users want, said Shaun McCallaghan, CEO of eCOGRA. The company, based in the United Kingdom, is an independent testing laboratory and certification service licensed in 36 gambling jurisdictions around the world, including six U.S. states, with Connecticut being the latest to award authorization.

“The American market represents a realm of boundless opportunities for European operators and software developers alike,” McCallaghan said. “This opportune moment presents an ideal time for expansion into North America as the demand for content skyrockets. Software developers in particular stand to reap the rewards.” In return, the American market would benefit from the “wealth of knowledge and expertise” of firms with long histories in online gambling.

In April 2023, the six states with legal online gambling reported $475.7 million in igaming revenue, up by 14.4 percent from April 2022. New Jersey led with $158.9 million, an increase of 16.1 percent from April 2022. New Jersey was the first state to legalize online gambling and in November will mark the 10th anniversary of its first online casinos.

The other states with legal online gambling are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Delaware; Nevada allows only online poker. TechNavio, a market research company based in Ireland, recently projected that global online gambling revenue will grow by $150 billion from 2022 to 2027.

Formed in 2003 with the aim of providing self-regulation in the first years of legal online gambling in various jurisdictions outside the United States, eCOGRA now specializes in the certification of online gaming software and audits of information security management systems. It was the first non-American testing agency authorized to provide certification services in the United States.

McCallaghan sees the United States “at a momentous juncture” as states recognize the potential tax revenue from legal online gambling. “As the American landscape evolves, it’s imperative for businesses to navigate the intricacies of the regulatory framework while prioritizing the delivery of exceptional user experiences,” he said. “By combining industry expertise, technological prowess, and a commitment to responsible gaming, stakeholders can position themselves as key players in this burgeoning market.”

While eCOGRA is authorized to offer services for land-based betting and casinos, its specialization in online operations provides an extra level of expertise, McCallaghan said. Its services cover multiple areas of online gaming, including software testing, Random Number Generator evaluations, cybersecurity assessments, and regulatory compliance reviews.

As the American market gains momentum, operators and software developers must meet regulations that vary by state. He suggested that non-U.S. operators and software developers planning to enter the American market explore partnerships to gain a foothold in the market.

McCallaghan said eCOGRA is the market leader in Europe for testing, inspection, and certification services and will offer similar services tailored for the United States. The company’s multijurisdictional approach can reduce certification fees and minimize disruptions in the application process, he added.

eCOGRA has tested and certified thousands of games for online gambling jurisdictions around the world. To ensure that game mechanics, features, and gameplay meet regulations and deliver the promised player experience, the company’s approach encompasses testing of functionality, performance, compatibility, integration, and security. The company also provides customized social engineering assessments as well as system vulnerability, and penetration testing.

In addition to expanding into the United States, eCOGRA is exploring opportunities in other international markets, McCallaghan said.