Fraser Linkleter: white paper proposals strike right balance for affiliates
The UK government has recently published a white paper outlining its plan for reforming the regulation of online gambling. The white paper has been eagerly anticipated since the government announced the review of the Gambling Act, and let’s be honest, most of its contents have already been leaked or speculated on, to some extent.
As an affiliate who also holds a GB casino operator licence, Slots Temple is in a unique space within the industry, giving us a notable position and perspective on the white paper and its implications for the gambling sector. Our primary business model is still based on affiliate revenue, however because we have a GB Gambling Commission licence we are held to the same standards as an operator.
This gives us a balanced perspective on the affiliate/operator relationship and how the new white paper is likely to affect the wider industry, but in this article I’ll discuss how this white paper will affect the affiliate industry in particular.
We believe the potential for stricter limits around deposits shouldn’t result in a significant reduction for affiliates. Most responsible operators rightly started imposing stricter deposit limits and affordability checks a while ago, so affiliates working with responsible operators will not see much change.
The new stake limits are interesting – particularly the £2 limit on under 25s. We think this is a good call that will prevent younger players upping their stake within a session. I can’t think of examples of UK affiliates who actively target a younger demographic, but if they exist hopefully these limits might make them think twice about doing it.
It seems there are no plans for affiliates to be licensed in the white paper, which is possibly a missed opportunity to stop some of the more unscrupulous overseas affiliates from targeting UK players in irresponsible ways. Due to the non-licensing of affiliates the responsibility will continue to fall on the licensed operators to ensure their affiliate partners are meeting the required standards.
The white paper’s tightening of the rules will likely see operators keep affiliates on a very tight leash. For those of us who are already fully compliant and work closely with operators to ensure everything is as required, we shouldn’t see much impact of this continuation, however there are plenty of affiliates out there who still don’t comply with the operators’ requirements and those who are still lagging behind or cutting corners may find themselves out of business soon.
One of the aspects of the white paper that we at Slots Temple fully support and welcome is the increased focus on strengthening consent for email and direct marketing. We believe that this will benefit the whole industry and improve its image and trustworthiness among consumers. Any reduction in unsolicited, low quality player communications that spam their inboxes or phones is good news for us and for our players, as it will reduce annoyance and frustration and increase engagement and satisfaction.
Unfortunately, the affiliate industry has a bad reputation for the amount and quality of emails and direct marketing being sent out, and some affiliates are still not complying with the rules and best practices. We hope that the white paper will help to improve this situation and raise the standards of the affiliate industry, as this will be a positive step forward for everyone involved.
Overall, here at Slots Temple, we welcome the reform as it supports safer gambling and reduces gambling related harm. We’ve just got to be careful that restrictions on players don’t become so much so that black market operators benefit, which would be massively counterproductive. What the white paper is proposing seems to get the balance about right.