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IGC Supports Survey of All E-Commerce Consumers

25 July 2005

VANCOUVER, Canada -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Interactive Gaming Council asks everyone who has ever made any kind of financial transaction over the Internet – whether the transaction involved gambling or banking or the purchase of any product or service or even the sale of personal possessions at an auction site -- to complete a brief online survey prepared by Rohan Miller, a professor at the University of Sydney (Australia) School of Business. Large-scale participation in the survey will enable Dr. Miller to draw significant conclusions about the confidence that consumers have, or lack, in e-commerce sites.

"Interactive gaming is a subset of e-commerce in general," said Rick Smith, Executive Director of the IGC. "This survey deals with the key issue that all of us engaged in e-commerce face daily, whether we are selling products such as software or books or CDs or services such as banking or hotel reservations or offering a game of blackjack, and that issue is trust. Anyone managing an e-commerce site needs to know what qualities matter to a consumer when he/she is deciding whether to trust a site with their hard-earned money."

The survey, at, requires only five to 15 minutes to complete. No individual participants will be identifiable. Results will be published in the academic literature. The survey has been approved by the ethics committee of the University of Sydney. The survey went live on 11 July 2005 and will continue for a month.

The IGC has underwritten the cost of the survey with money from one of its members for the purpose of conducting a survey that could benefit both players and operators.

One series of questions in the survey deals with disputes between e-commerce sites and consumers. Respondents are asked, for example, to rate the importance of third-party dispute resolution. This is a crucial issue, Dr. Miller said, because Internet consumers often do not have ready nor affordable access to the legal system that protects them from much of the risk involved in traditional, real-world transactions.

"Prior to making Internet purchases," Dr. Miller said, "consumers are likely to look for cues (e.g. protective laws, professional associations, licensing, familiar brands) that will provide them options that will reduce risk and provide avenues of recourse in the event of dissatisfaction." Smith said the survey results could assist in establishing a best practice for the resolution of player disputes. He and Miller said the knowledge gleaned from the survey could help any e-commerce business reduce the perceptions of risk entailed in conducting transactions at its site.

Separately, the IGC has strengthened its Code of Conduct, which all of its members are obligated to follow. At its meeting last month, the IGC Board of Directors approved the first revisions to the code in five years. The new code states that, to ensure fairness, operators of online games should have each game's performance "analyzed by an independent, qualified person on a regular basis." It requires members to implement anti-money laundering procedures, and directs them to use age and identity verification services as part of their efforts to prevent access to their sites by minors. The code also states that members agree to the IGC performing checks on their compliance with the code. The complete code is on the IGC Web site at

"In five years, the industry has matured and technology has changed, so it was important to update and improve our Code of Conduct," said Keith Furlong, Deputy Director of the IGC. "We recognize that there are limitations to what any trade organization can do to enforce proper behavior by its members, but this new code reinforces the point to our members, and to prospective members, that the IGC demands high standards. Ultimately, it is the duty of governments worldwide to use their power to license and regulate all forms of gaming for the protection of their citizens. Sadly, few governments have stepped up to the challenge of regulating online gaming, and the IGC is doing what it can to fill that void."

About the IGC

Formed in 1996, the IGC is the leading trade association for the international interactive gambling industry with its membership operating or supplying services to most of the reputable interactive sites on the World Wide Web. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the IGC champion's fair and honest interactive gambling environments. To help parents protect their children, IGC members are encouraged to participate in the self-labelling system of the Internet Content Rating Association. The IGC has developed a Code of Conduct for members, and a program called Helping Hand to assist problem gamblers.

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