eCOGRA Obtains Sports Betting License Amid Campaign for Responsible Gaming

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
11/01/2023/
News
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Highlights

  • eCOGRA became the first non-US testing lab to receive sports betting and iGaming licenses in Michigan.
  • Emerging reports show that several Michigan universities are promoting betting to young students for profit.
  • The MCGB is ramping up activities to ensure responsible gaming safety among children and teens.

In an interesting development for sports betting in the state, the Michigan Gaming Control Board recently granted a license to eCOGRA, an independent testing lab. This is the first time that the MGCB would approve the license of a non-US testing lab.

However, this news comes at a time when the Michigan board is seeking innovative steps to curb underage access to sports betting facilities. Taking this step has become more expedient after revelations of a massive deal targeted at advertising sports betting to young people in Michigan universities.

Sportsbooks and Casino Operators to Use eCOGRA’s Testing and Regulatory Certifications in Michigan

After months of registration activities and standard checks, eCOGRA has gained an official iGaming and sports betting license in Michigan. This license permits it to offer services as an independent testing lab in the Wolverine State. In addition, it would legally grant regulatory certifications to Michigan sportsbooks and casino operators.

Not only does this development mark the first non-US lab to receive sports betting regulatory license in Michigan but is also a testament to eCOGRA’s efforts at penetrating American markets. According to the lab’s CEO, Shaun McCallaghan, this approval was a big step forward for eCOGRA.

“We are committed to expanding our service offering to new jurisdictions that are important to our clients and will continue pursuing approvals where our services are required, being the preferred ITL,” he said. “Authorization to operate in Michigan by the highly respected MGCB is a significant achievement and step forward for eCOGRA.”

Founded in 2003, eCOGRA is an independent game testing and certification agency based in the UK but with an international outlook. Also known as eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, eCOGRA is fully licensed to operate in over 34 jurisdictions, including multiple states in South and North America. Before its approval in Michigan, eCOGRA had previously attained lab and cybersecurity testing licenses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Colorado.

$8.4 Million Deal Between Caesars Sportsbook, Michigan State University, Others Spark Debates

As the expansion of the Michigan sports betting industry continues, there is a growing need to stem the tide of irresponsible gaming attempts. In a recently published news item by the New York Times, evidence of a deal between at least eight universities and Caesars Sportsbook became known.

Titled “A Risky Wager: How Colleges and Sports-Betting Companies ‘Caesarized’ Campus Life,’ the report showed that Caesars Sportsbooks agreed a massive $8.4 million deal to promote sports betting in universities.

More sponsorship agreements included over a dozen athletic departments and land-based casino sites. Michigan State University was also caught in the scandal that exposed its partnership with Caesars Sportsbook MI back in January 2022.

For many universities involved in the deal, students, including those under the legal age, received emails encouraging them to sign-up to gamble or download sports betting apps. All these practices are contrary to the American Gaming Association Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering. The code restricts advertising sports betting in college environments.

Several celebrities have kicked against the promotion of sports betting on campuses, including Dave Ramsey who tagged it “stupidity on steroids.” Dave Ramsey, who hosts The Dave Ramsey Show noted the several disadvantages that come with introducing online gambling activities to underaged students and how it’s a growing endemic in universities.

Michigan Gaming Control Board Intensifies Action Against Introduction of Sports Betting to Children

In a similar turn of events, the Michigan Gaming Control Board is calling on parents to speak to their children about responsible gaming safety. It made this remark after research from the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) made damning revelations.

The studies show that about 2-7% of young people face addiction to gambling, with the rising spate being steady over the past twenty years. As part of efforts to curb these excesses, the Board advised parents to make optimum use of parental control features on gadgets. It also recommended adult supervision when teenagers use mobile phones or watch TV, as this would spur open conversations between both parties on responsible gaming ideals.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments