Gambling Affiliate Sector Could Face Stricter Regulation as Part of UK Gambling Act Review

The most recent meeting at the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry saw some of the hottest issues regarding the UK gambling sector emerge. Apart from the presence of gambling in professional sport, aggressive gambling advertising on TV and social media and targetting underage individuals, the Committee also heard about the use of affiliates in gambling and how local gambling companies feel about the regulation of their affiliates.

The talks raised some speculation that gambling operators’ affiliates could become officially subject to special licences as part of the review of the UK Gambling Act, with users of one of the largest gambling forums on a global scale – the one of the Gaming Portal Webmasters Association (GPWA) – sharing thoughts regarding such regulation over the past few days.

At the meeting, Committee members shared their concern about the use of data management specifically in relation to affiliates, not to mention the concerns they have been circumventing some restrictions applicable to regulators and generating revenue share from players’ losses. Part of the talks were focused not only on gambling through social media but also on the general concept of affiliates in gambling, with the Committee asking representatives of the top five British gambling operators various questions regarding their opinion on affiliates and their regulation.

Top 5 Gambling Operators’ Representatives Seem to Back Stricter Affiliate Regulation

Considering what gambling operators’ representatives shared at the meeting, everyone seems willing to see stricter regulation of the affiliate gambling sector, with licensing also being discussed as part of the regulation.

As mentioned above, gambling industry representatives faced some questions about their opinion on affiliates, and more specifically on the fact they are not required to comply with various rules that are applicable to themselves. For example, affiliates of gambling operators do not have to stick to the watershed for gambling advertising and can even circumvent self-exclusion. Having this in mind, the Committee asked the representatives of the leading five gambling firms in the UK to justify using third-party operators to drive customers to their companies’ services mainly through social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Asked what they would do if they see any affiliate activity that contradicts their approach to social media marketing, gambling firms’ representatives shared they would terminate their relationship with the third-party operators. They further noted that a special licensing regime for affiliates through the UKGC sounds like a logical and positive thing to do, with Mr Alexander from GVC Holdings sharing an opinion that affiliates should be under the same requirements as gambling operators.

GPWA Users Are Against Social Media Advertising

The five biggest gambling operators in the UK confessed that they still use affiliates but they are not as many as they once used to be. As mentioned above, they backed the idea of stricter regulation of the affiliate gambling sector in the months to come in order for the industry regulator to make sure customers are well-protected against potential harm.

Despite the good intentions of the industry, some users of the GPWA, such as a user called golfbettingsystem, shared that the thing that is actually concerning is there was a “superficial understanding” of what affiliates actually do. The user seems not to support the considered changes, saying that lumping “all gambling affiliates under the umbrella of social media tipsters” is “naive and inaccurate”.

Other users of the GPWA have commented that gambling advertising on social media should be heavily restricted, as it could affect people badly, especially when it comes to vulnerable individuals and children. Some of them, however, shared that licensing the affiliate gambling sector may not necessarily happen, as it is unknown whether it would actually change anything, not to mention the fact that gambling companies still need to observe their policies regarding third-party operators.

  • Author
Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.
Daniel Williams
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