The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) is an international non-profit trade association that serves as a collective voice of the interactive gaming industry. Founded in the United States as an affiliate of the Interactive Services Association, the organization has since moved to Vancouver, Canada, where it was incorporated in March 2000. The goal of the IGC is to promote an environment of fair and responsible gambling.
Keith Furlong, who has worked with the IRC for 15 years, was appointed the organization’s CEO in February 2014. His extensive background in online gaming regulation ranges from being on the editorial board for Gaming Law Review to serving in the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Furlong is also currently acting Vice President at Catania Consulting Group, a full-service international gaming consultancy firm.
Janet Viippola is the IRC’s Executive Coordinator, in charge of running the organization’s day-to-day operations. She has worked with the IRC for over 14 years, and currently functions as acting Treasurer and Secretary of the IRC in addition to Executive Coordinator.
Additional staff of the IRC includes Chairman John Anderson, Vice Chair Andrew Branscombe, and Bookkeeper Sabrina Zhu. The 2015-2016 Board of Directors are John Anderson, Herman Behr, Andrew Branscombe, John Coleman, Tony Coles, Keith Furlong, and Christopher Hobbes.
To achieve their goal the IRC works as a public policy advocate, with both governments and the online gaming industry, to promote regulation. Representatives from the IRC often speak at conferences and seminars, as well as testify in legislative hearings.
“There is no denying that Internet gambling is a difficult and complex policy issue,” says Furlong.”The opponents suggest it as simple as prohibiting the activity and hope that it stops. History has taught us that prohibition is not the answer. For governments that want to provide protection for consumers, however, the answer is regulation.”
But the problem is, all regulated online gaming jurisdictions are not created equal, and qualifications vary from one jurisdiction to another. Since the criterion for government regulation that online gaming operators must meet varies in stringency depending on the jurisdiction they are located in, it is difficult to know what online gaming sites can be trusted.
The IRC, in an attempt to provide consumers a way of determining whether an online casino site is trustworthy, developed its own Code of Conduct which could be applied to online gaming companies all over the globe. The IGC’s Code of Conduct ensures that members follow strict guidelines, which specify how gaming operations should be run to ensure transparency, integrity, accountability, and player protection.
Currently, the IGC has members from all over the world, including the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, and the Caribbean. These countries meet the IGC Code of Conduct’s high standards when it comes to issues such as responsible gambling, player protection, underage gambling, money laundering, fairness, and security.
IGC members must first abide by the laws and regulations of their jurisdiction, which includes obtaining a license from their home jurisdiction. Furthermore, members must make certain that their systems are built to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of player information, perform in the manner portrayed, and have controls built-in to prevent access from minors.
IGC members are bound to conducting banking and transaction processing only by accepted standards. Also, members must always have the funds available to pay out all current obligations. Additionally, payouts must be paid promptly when requested.
IRC members must keep detailed transaction records, and make them available in case of an audit. Finally, members agree to have the IGC check their compliance with their code of conduct whenever the IGC pleases.
If a company seeks membership status in the IGC, it must apply with the council and submit a non-refundable fee. If they are granted membership, they will likely display their IGC member status as a badge of honor on their website, as membership offers consumers a certain level of confidence that their online casino is credible and trustworthy.
The IRC will certainly continue to advocate for the regulation of online gaming in countries across the globe. CEO Keith Furlong shares his positive outlook on the future of interactive gaming regulation, “it is our hope that the spread of licensed and regulated online gaming will continue.”
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