The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has reminded all its licensees of the issues surrounding the age verification of its customers accessing free-to-play titles, highlighting that they have a responsibility to monitor affiliate compliance on the matter.
The news follows on from the changes to license conditions and codes of practice changes back in May, which specifically related to the implementation of age verification. The changes meant that remote licensees must carry out thorough checks on the age of any customer, before they can access its free-to-play games.
Issuing the reminder, the UKGC reminded licensees that it “has been made aware that licensees may be benefiting from affiliate advertising models, which offer free-to-play versions of real money games on their websites without the necessary accompanying age verification of users.”
Explained in a media release, the UKGC called upon its licensees to be reminded of LCCP social responsibility code provision 1.1.2 that states: “Licensees are responsible for the actions of third parties with whom they contract for the provision of any aspect of the licensee’s business related to the licensed activities.’’
Licensees must “require the third party to conduct themselves in so far as they carry out activities on behalf of the licensee as if they were bound by the same licence conditions and subject to the same codes of practice as the licensee.
Operators must guarantee the implementation of LCCP provisions on free-to-play games, ensuring that the measures are imposed on gambling affiliates, which may result in the adaptation of company advertising strategies.
The new requirements do not apply to other forms of advertising such as screenshots or videos of games which might be available on gambling affiliate websites, as these do not allow interaction by the customer, nor to B2B suppliers offering demo versions in order to sell them to commercial third parties, rather than consumers.
Concluding its reminder, the UKGC stated: “You should take steps immediately to ensure that your free-to-play games cannot be accessed by children and young people via affiliate’s websites.”