The Senet Group has formulated three ‘fundamental duties and aims’ that gambling operators should ensure their affiliate programs adhere to.

In a report entitled ‘Operator guidance regarding affiliate marketing arrangements’, the responsible gambling body urged operators to fulfil the following three licensing objectives set out in the UK Gambling Act 2005:

  1. Preventing gambling from being a source of crime and/or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder and/or being used to support crime;
  2. Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and
  3. Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed and/or exploited by gambling.

The report outlined a further nine key issues relating to affiliate marketing in the gambling sector:

Contracting and due diligence

The conduct or misconduct of affiliate partners can have a direct and severe effect on operators under consumer and privacy laws and any breaches of these can have a direct bearing on a licence to operate a gambling service.

Age requirements and children

Operators should be explicit on the requirement that affiliates should not itself, nor will it allow, assist or encourage others to, to market and promote services to those under the age of 18. Operators should highlight existing provisions in advertising codes with particular reference to rules prohibiting marketing that is likely to appeal particularly to those aged 17 or younger. This includes use of cartoon and comic book images and child and youth oriented language.

Marketing techniques, data protection and privacy issues

Operators should ensure affiliates are fully aware of the duty at all times to comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 alongside the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, as amended, and the General Data Protection Regulation.

Visibility

Operators should be clear on their requirements in terms of visibility of the plans and practices of affiliate partners. This may include a requirement on affiliate partners to disclose full media buy provisions (pages advertised, landing pages, brand displays, player destinations).

Marketing communications

Operators should remind affiliates of all relevant statutory and self-regulatory requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, the CAP and BCAP Codes of Advertising Practice and the IGRG Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

Inappropriate sites

Operators should set out their policy in relation to affiliate marketing on sites in categories they consider inappropriate. Inappropriate sites may include, but are not limited to, those that: display pornography, promote violence, promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age, promote illegal activities or violate intellectual property rights.

Advertorials

Operators should prohibit advertorial marketing referencing their brands or should have editorial control of any such content prior to its use. ‘Pop-under’ marketing should only happen where previously agreed by the operator.

Social media

Any promotion via Twitter, Facebook or other social media the account must have 18+ in the page bio. In line with Facebook’s policy on gambling advertising, if affiliates wish to advertise an operator’s products and services on Facebook the affiliate must first obtain a Facebook Addendum signed on.

Fraud

Operators should be clear that affiliates cannot engage in, allow, assist, promote, encourage or benefit from, directly or indirectly, any act or traffic that involves fraud, whether of players or commercial entities.

Read the full report here.