In most gambling jurisdictions, casinos and online casino software companies must submit for independent testing. This is the seal of approval that says the game, software or casino platform: – Operates exactly as designed and advertised, in compliance with operational and legal protocols; – pays the advertised rates of RTP (return to player); – Uses a fully functioning RNG (random number generator); is not rigged or unfair.
Why are Casino Audits and Independent Testing Services Important?
The reliability and fairness of casino games is an understandable concern for online casino players, particularly newbies. Thanks to top-tier gambling regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission, and the creation of independent technical test houses such as eCOGRA and iTech Labs, this is no longer a prime concern for players who know when they see a testing lab’s stamp of approval, everything is above board.
For casinos, submitting to auditing and tests proves they are transparent, fair and it can also help them stay ahead of the curve as industry regulations change frequently. Audits are also helpful when it comes to the casino yearly licensing audits – as they will already be aware of any problem areas and have worked to resolve them.
“The underlying philosophy of eCOGRA is based on the achievement of the objectives of player protection, fair gaming and responsible conduct by operators, software providers and relevant service providers.” eCOGRA (2003)
eCOGRA (e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), is probably the most well-known casino testing lab, their stamp of approval and legitimacy appearing on casino and casino software websites everywhere including industry giants like NetEnt and co-founders Microgaming.
Created in 2003 and based in the UK they specialise in testing and certifying online gaming software and systems, independently of the developer or casino to ensure it meets licencing requirements is fair and responsible according to their own ‘eGAP’ framework.
If you’re looking for an online casino to play on here at CasinoGuide, you can use our filter to show only those who have been audited by eCOGRA. See the best casino sites here.
What Do eCOGRA Do?
- Jurisdiction Approvals: Audits of a casino to ensure it meets the conditions of a licencing commission such as the UKGC or Alderney and so on.
- Security Audits: For both casinos and software suppliers to ensure they meet the security protocol and levels required by a licensing authority.
- RNG and RTP Audits: eCOGRA undertakes data monitoring, output measurements, testing and certification of game RTP (return to player) and RNG (random number generator) for over 100 casino sites. It is this testing that verifies and ensures a game generates its theoretical rate of RTP, compares it with actual game results, and ensures is fair in its results.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Service: Lastly, eCOGRA is a recommended ADR service, which is an important and independent role when casinos cannot solve disputes with players internally.
How Do They Audit Casinos?
By working together with the casino, or software developer eCOGRA undertake casino/games testing and audits against their assessment criteria to produce unbiased results. They spend months in advance of an auditing planning and preparing before undertaking the thorough review. The methodology of which incorporates the monitoring of policies and procedure and substantive testing. Concluding, they then either award the casino their approval and seal or they do not dependant on the outcome and then publish the results.
Players can check for eCOGRA seals, which can be for safe and fair operators, certified software, live dealer tables or trusted affiliate sites before they opt to play with an operator. This works as an extra layer of security for the player and keeps casino operators compliant with their licencing conditions.
iTech Labs has been operating since 2004, offering testing and certification for all types of games and online gaming platforms including Quality Assurance and Security Testing too. They are a global testing lab and boast more than ‘100 years’ combined experience across their principal and senior consultants.
What Do iTech Labs Do?
The casino certification services iTech Labs offer depends on the casino’s gambling jurisdiction and is catered to it, but can be broken down into:
- RNG testing and certification: This tests for statistical randomness in several ways. The correct operation of an RNG ensures that game results, dice rolls, jackpot triggers and so on are statistically random.
- RTP/RNG monthly audits: Actual game wins and losses are calculated to see actual RTP in comparison with theoretical RTP. Results and certification are given. Respectively the RNG is audited for use in card games.
- Games certification: Evaluating games rules compared with gameplay, functional testing, emulation testing, RTP and code to ensure the game operates exactly as it should
- Annual and security audits: Auditing the casino or platform against jurisdiction and iTech criteria. This prepares gambling operators for their yearly licencing jurisdiction audit and helps them keep up with compliance.
- Platform testing/certification: This tests casino sites and platforms. Looking in particular at players registration and accounts, privacy, player protection, and security auditing.
As with eCOGRA iTech Labs have their own methodology for testing, built on years of casino experience and based on the casino or operators jurisdiction. Players can click on the iTech Labs logo if they find certification on a casino or software developers site and directly check audited rates of RTP and so on, creating transparency and fairness in online gaming.
Gaming Laboratories International
GLI is undoubtedly the biggest casino software testing lab on this list. They are global working with more than 475 regulators, suppliers and operators. With more than 30 years in the industry, they are also the oldest, having started in 1989, they are the pioneers of independent testing services.
GLI advocate it is their team of experts in all fields of gambling quality control and testing as well as their bases on all 6 continents that make them unmatched by any other gaming test lab. Additionally, they also award winner in the industry, named Best Test Lab at the Central and Eastern European Gaming Awards. Another big iGaming testing lab that you may have heard of is Technical System Testing (TST) they are a subsidiary of GLI and attest to their market power.
What Do Gaming Labs International Do?
“GLI’s mission is to provide world-class testing, certification and professional services to the global gaming industry with independence and integrity.” GLI (2019)
As with the previous two gaming labs, GLI offers game and platform testing, certification, consultations and audits in all areas of casino gaming. Arguably, they offer more services for gambling operators including topics like proxy gaming, iGaming workshops, Fantasy Sports and Social Gaming. But they don’t see their role ending there, as experts in global jurisdictions they advocate that operators using their services can see greater revenue through advice on global expansion, emerging markets and trends. However, they do not offer ADR services as with eCOGRA.
Expleo Technology UK Limited
Expleo has a much smaller market reach, being an approved testing facility with only the UK Gambling Commission, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, and the Malta Gaming Authority. They are not limited to the casino industry and as a general technology testing firm, they specialise in many industries.
Their focus is on prevention rather than detecting problems in games or casino software and they work together with casino operators from the start. They concentrate on quality assurance and software testing service as well as compliance certification.
Other Approved Casino Software Testing Labs
UK players may also come across QALabs PTY Limited, Gaming Associates Europe, Quinel M. Ltd and Trisigma B.V as they are registered by the UKGC as approved testing labs for the UK jurisdiction, but they are a less common choice.
In general, they supply the same services and stamp of casino, software or games approval of the testing labs and as they are approved by the UKGC they provided a trusted service.
Stay Safe: Play with Audited Software
Testing casino software and games is a part of casino and software licensing. It is what allows players to know that they play in a safe and fair environment and is key to ensuring integrity in online gaming.
Good casinos submit to regular testing- above what is stipulated by licencing conditions – to ensure they offer the best online casino experience and are compliant with a fast-moving market. Make sure you stay safe and always play with tested and licensed casinos and software.
All of the online casinos recommended by our experts here at CasinoGuide are completely safe to play on, so you can choose with peace of mind.