At last month’s AffiliateFEST, which was held in conjunction with SBC’s Betting on Sports, BGO.com CMO Allan Turner discussed the state of compliance in the iGaming industry in a presentation entitled: Understanding Affiliate Advertising Compliance Codes. In the presentation, Turner, who also manages the BGO Buddies affiliate programme, reviewed how brands and affiliates can protect themselves from drifting askew of evolving guidelines.
Below are several key takeaways from Turner’s presentation:
Legislation & Regulatory Bodies
Essential to adhering to compliance requirements and best practices is understanding key stakeholders at a regulatory level and the legislation that informs their decision making. Such notable legislation includes:
- The UK Gambling Act of 2005
- IGRG Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising
- PECR Regulations – Issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
- CAP Code and guidance documents – Issued by the Advertising Standards Authority
- Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) – Issued by the UK Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a particularly noteworthy body, given its authority and the strict demands that it places on transparency of terms and placement of advertising. UKGC guidelines to bear in mind include:
- All ads or marketing communications must state all significant terms or qualifications for the offer
- Ads must direct consumers to a page where all terms and conditions of the promotion are stated, which must be no further than one click away from the ad itself
- When the ad is for something ‘Free’ like Free Spins or NDB, the main terms must be stated in the ad itself
- Affiliates must not place digital content on websites providing access to unauthorised copyrighted content
- No advertising or marketing content can appear on pages about responsible gambling
Mandatory Significant Terms
When crafting ad campaigns and their corresponding terms and conditions, it’s essential that operators and affiliates be aware of key terminology and where those terms are applicable. Turner provides nine examples where such vigilance will keep marketers within the stated guidelines.
- Targeted players (‘new players only’, ‘existing players only’)
- Deposit info (‘no deposit required’ or ‘min deposit X’)
- Offer and promo codes (‘X% up to £X on 1st deposit’ etc)
- Wagering requirements (if they apply)
- Expiry Information (‘3-day on free spins’ or ‘offer expires on XX.XX.2018’)
- Info about bet limitations (‘min bet £X’ or’ max bet £X when playing bonus’)
- Deposit and withdrawal info (‘£10 min deposit’ or ‘cash withdrawable at any time’)
- Game restrictions (‘free spins available on X games’)
- Info about additional terms (‘Full terms apply’)
Information Commissioner’s Office
A topic not always top of mind with regards to compliance but still of paramount importance is that of marketing conducted via email, text, SMS, voicemail, DM and social media. This is where the ICO’s PECR policy comes into play.
Part of the ICO’s role is determining which audiences are eligible to receive communications. As a result, communications are limited to those who have consented to receive correspondences via opt-in and existing customers who bought a similar product or service and are provided an opt out method.
The ICO is also responsible for implementing the following guidelines to which marketers must adhere:
- Emails must follow UKGC codes
- Databases must have been acquired lawfully and in adherence of GDPR
- Self-excluded customers must be removed for all marketing databases
- Customers who opt out must be removed from databases immediately
- All marketing material/email copy must clearly show details of the affiliate sending
10 Tips to Avoiding Non-Compliance
In concluding the presentation, Turner offers a summary of guidelines to stay aligned with compliance requirements and industry best practices.
- Make sure the offer listed on your ad matches what is currently on the operator site/landing page – always check where click lands
- Always use significant terms for an offer on the ad
- Don’t omit key information
- Age restriction – always display 18+ logo or wording on ads
- Customers’ level of gambling should be in proportion in terms of any offers/incentives available.
- Make sure terms about required deposits are clear
- Don’t hide important information about an offer or provide information that contradicts the headline claim
- Always provide opt out on email/SMS communications
- All adverts should be socially responsible (i.e. no people under 25 in ad, no indecent or offensive materials).
- Ensure full terms for the offer are 1 click away from your ad