Leading operators allay concerns over gambling affiliates

Leading operators allay concerns over gambling affiliates

A number of major operators in the UK have allayed concerns raised by a House of Lords Committee over the use of affiliates in the gambling industry.

Published 7th February 2020

The House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry met this week to take evidence from representatives from the market.

Kenny Alexander, chief executive of GVC Holdings; Ulrik Bengtsson, the chief executive of William Hill; Ian Proctor, chief executive of Sky Betting and Gaming; John Coates, joint chief Executive of Bet365; and Dan Taylor, chief executive of Paddy Power Betfair were all present.

Brigid Simmonds, chair of industry body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), was also in attendance to answer questions from the Committee.

The Committee cited concerns over affiliates, saying such activity takes place outside of regulations put in place by the Gambling Commission. Several members of the Committee were worried about the impact of such referral services on the consumer.

Bengtsson of William Hill made the point that most affiliate sites serve as odds comparisons platforms that allow users to see where they would be able to get the best prices for their bets.

GVC’s Alexander noted that while the operator does use affiliates, this is only a small part of the business, with all of its current partners subject to strict rules to ensure they are operating in line with UK regulations.

Alexander also called for affiliates to be licensed and abide by the same rules as operators, backing the Committee to look into regulation, while Simmonds said she was open to further regulation for gambling affiliates.

The panel also took questions on sponsorship in football, with Simmonds saying that the BGC and its members would consider a voluntary ban on both shirt and perimeter advertising. However, she also said such sponsorship can be positive as it allows licensed operators to portray responsible gambling messages.

“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,” Simmonds said.

“Grassroots sports benefits from a lot of the money put into sport and we want that sponsorship to be used responsibly. We go into clubs and work with players and coaches to ensure they know the rules.”