During this year’s ICE and iGB Affiliate London conferences, compliance and safety in the gambling industry was a hot topic brought up during most of our conversations. Now, Erica Anderson discusses the path forward with three experienced stakeholders from Kindred Group, Rightlander and Web Analysis Solutions Limited.
“What is BGC doing?” Those words welcome visitors to the website homepage of the recently launched Betting and Gaming Council. For a comprehensive answer to the question, the site highlights the association’s dedication to responsible advertising as well as an uncompromising stance with regards to age verification requirements and self-exclusion programs.
The arrival of the BGC comes at a time when concerns and commitments regarding safer gambling practices have reached fever pitch, the subject matter more omnipresent than ever. It’s within that context that we spoke to three experienced industry stakeholders, each approaching the discussion from a different vantage point but unified in their belief that safer gambling practices are as essential as they are inevitable.
Standards for Safety
Mathew Symmonds, Director and Founder at Web Analysis Solution Limited, explains that an association like the BGC is important not just for its mandate but also for the way in which it has been structured.
“As an affiliate, it will help us to operate more effectively in regulated markets and will also mean that, given that the BGC has been founded by operators, it will be directed by those who understand the industry and how affiliates work,” says Symmonds. “Having strong industry associations like this means that conversations take place before policies, rules and regulations are enforced, leading to decisions that are practical and achievable.”
The BGC launch arrived in tandem with a list of five core ‘Safer Gambling Commitments’, the development of which was facilitated by The Senet Group, an independent body created to promote responsible gambling standards. A major focus of the commitments is education, evidenced by the allocation of £10m in funding for a national education programme that is “designed and delivered by relevant experts for children and young people over the next four years.”
Launched in 2014, The Senet Group was founded on a collaborative effort between several leading operators. The “Safer Gambling Commitments” were similarly strengthened by support from operators like Aspers bet365, Caesars, Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power Betfair), Genting, GVC (Ladbrokes-Coral), Playtech, Rank Group, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill.
Kindred Group Head of Affiliates Ryan Henderson is encouraged by the role that operator-led groups could have on the conversation surrounding safer gambling practices. “I would hope that the BGC seize the opportunity to present the other side of the social responsibility (SR) / responsible gambling (RG) argument in the press and with regulators,” he says. “I would expect to see similar bodies set up elsewhere. We already have a similar body operating in Sweden, trying to help the government there manage their recent regulation.”
Ian Sims, Founder at Rightlander, which specialises in software that monitors and identifies misleading advertising, brings a similar sense of anticipation with regards to the UK and to what extent other regions will follow in its footsteps. Moreover, he specifically looks forward to seeing how affiliate marketers respond to the push for increased compliance standards.
“The number of markets which are at an early stage of regulation will present new challenges as they learn the ropes and decide on strategy. Some may follow the UK lead while others may be more haphazard,” says Sims. “For affiliates to engage with compliance, it is imperative that they understand what they have to do. This may result in more culling [by operators] of affiliates that are either unable or unwilling to invest the time in research. Operators may need to assist them or consider reducing the size of their affiliate base until that knowledge is widespread.”
One you have checked out the second and final part of our iGaming Business article on creating a safer gambling environment, we encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section.