UK Gambling Act review could equal stricter regulation for affiliates

Last week, the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling met.

They utilised this session to discuss some of UK gambling’s hottest topics, while also hearing from industry representatives. One of the talking points was how affiliates are used within the market.

A strong presence

Kenny Alexander, Chief Executive of GVC Holdings, was present. He was joined by William Hill Chief Executive Ulrik Bengtsson, along with Ian Proctor – who holds an alike position at Sky Betting & Gaming.

Also there was Joint Chief Executive of Bet365, John Coates, and Dan Tyler Chief Executive of Paddy Power.

The role of affiliates in UK gambling

When it came to affiliates, the Committee was worried about a variety of issues. These included their impacts on the customer.

Attendees shared their thoughts on the current affiliate role within UK gambling operations. Bengtsson, for example, mentioned that these websites primarily serve to compare odds. As such, they enable customers to see where they can find the best betting prices.

Meanwhile, Alexander noted that GVC does use affiliates. However, he also stated that these form just a small part of how the company operates as a whole. Moreover, their existing partners must make sure that they’re compliant with territorial laws.

On top of this, Alexander also argued that such websites should have to comply to the same rules as operators. With this, he voiced his support for the Committee to look into doing just this.

Also open to sturdier affiliate regulation was Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the Betting & Gaming Council. She attended the event to answer the Committee’s questions.

Other talking points 

Another key discussion area at the panel discussion was the current state of football shirt sponsorships. At the start of the 2019/ 2020 Premier League season, just three clubs didn’t have a gambling shirt sponsor – Brighton & Hove Albion, Sheffield United and Southampton.

When talking about this, Simmonds said that the BGC and its members would be open to a voluntary sponsorship ban. However, she also argued that such deals can be positive – if operators portray positive messages. One such example of this is Casumo, who used their sponsorship with Reading FC to promote responsible gambling.

Her words were: “I think there are good messages; all the sponsorship that goes on with clubs is about putting responsible messages up as well as the name, but we are actively considering our options”.