Affiliate code of conduct forms part of UKGC’s player safety improvements

“Collaborative work” between the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and broader industry has led to multiple new player safety measures being agreed. 

VIP schemes will be restricted to some individuals, as will online advertising. This includes a new code of conduct, which all affiliates are required to implement. 

The new rules will be implemented in due course, with some potentially coming as early as 14th April. 

Online advertising changes 

In a press release distributed this week, the UKGC said that new online ad measures are expected to be introduced by July 2020. Designed to lower gambling exposure to young people, vulnerable adults and children, these measures are listed below. 

  • Adopting and rolling out to all affiliates a code of conduct which will be amended and updated on a regular basis to ensure all measures undertaken by the industry will be implemented equally by affiliates. 
  • A common list of negative search terms (e.g. how do I self-exclude from gambling?) and suppression websites.
  • Using customer data to ensure that paid ads are targeted away from vulnerable groups across social media platforms.
  • Ensure that advertising is only targeted at people aged 25+ in social media and PPC advertising, where platform facilities permit. 
  • Age-gating YouTube channels and content. 
A “collaborative approach” to be “applauded” 

Clive Hawkswood, Chairman of Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG), spoke to AffiliateINSIDER after the UKGC published its planned rule changes. He said that the organisation “very much supports the introduction of additional safeguards”, adding that these will complement many of RAiG’s ongoing initiatives. 

Hawkswood continued with the following. 

“We had previously instigated discussions with The Betting and Gaming Council about how an affiliate code of practice could be developed; the areas that it might cover; and how we can best contribute to the process. Their collaborative approach so far is to be applauded and we look forward to working with them in the future.  

“Although it is appreciated that some affiliates will have concerns about a code being imposed on them, the hope must be that the sector will see this as more of an opportunity than a threat.    

“What cannot be in doubt is that all parts of the gambling industry need to do more to create a safer gambling environment and it is vital that affiliates play their part in that and do so pro-actively.”

Other new measures 

VIP schemes have been a talking point ever since it was revealed that revenue from problem gamblers on such initiatives formed a large chunk of many brands’ revenue. New rules will restrict and prevent players under the age of 25 from being onboarded to potentially-lucrative customer schemes. 

Before becoming eligible for such initiatives, all customers will have to undergo checks. 

Reward programmes will also be subjected to full audit trials. 

UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur has said that it’s “important that these commitments are implemented as soon as possible”.