Thomas Jones, owner of NewBingoSites.net, talks about the ways in which operators can help online gambling affiliates meet new compliance requirements.
The relationship between online gambling operators and affiliates is changing and the driving force behind this is new regulatory and compliance requirements.
In the past, affiliates were largely left to their own devices and so long as they were targeting and marketing to players in line with the operator’s basic requirements. This included only engaging players over the age of 18 and in markets where operators can legally accept them, as well as rules around the use of PPC and other paid-for marketing.
But with the wave of regulation that has crashed down on the industry, operators and affiliates have been left a little at sea as to how these new, more stringent requirements can be met. This has put pressure on the relationship between both parties with some saying it has dealt a fatal blow to the entire affiliate ecosystem and that the end is nigh.
This is something of an over-reaction and operators and affiliates can continue to have a long and successful, mutually beneficial, partnership. But things are going to have to change somewhat. Instead of working at arms-length from one another, operators and affiliates must work hand-in-hand to ensure that websites, content and outreach is fully compliant. Below, I outline how I think this can be achieved.
Expectations made clear from the get-go:
The UK Gambling Commission has made clear that the operator is ultimately responsible for the content published on their behalf by affiliates and that they must ensure this content is complaint.
This means that operators must be crystal clear from day one what they expect from their affiliate partners in terms of the content created and any restrictions that may exist.
While a lot of this is covered in the extensive terms and conditions documents that operators provide affiliates, they should also take the time to explain the more critical aspects clearly.
Read and check key content for compliance:
One of the most impactful things operators can do is check an affiliate’s content to ensure it is compliant – this is certainly case for the review they write for the operator. This should include checking for informational accuracy, that bonus terms and conditions are made clear and that any operator-specific terminology (so prefer bonus spins to free spins) is used.
They should also look at how the review page is designed and whether any calls to action are in line with guidelines and don’t contain words such as “Now”. Operators and their affiliate managers should also scan over the homepage to see if the required 18+ and gambling charity links are included on the bottom banner and throughout the site.
Use affiliate compliance tools to help guide publishers:
There are a number of affiliate compliance tools out there that can help operators automatically scan affiliate websites for non-compliant content. If operators are using these tools, they should communicate with all of their affiliate partners – not just the ones that breach requirements – to allow them to check their own sites and make changes.
Compliance breaches are often accidental and simply happen because of a lack of understanding or knowledge on the part of the publisher. By sharing information gathered by these tools, knowledge can be gained and affiliate compliance drastically improved.
Create an affiliate information pack:
At NewBingoSites.net we work with a number of different online gambling brands and each has a different way of working with and managing affiliates.
For us, those that provide an information pack about their brand(s) are often the easiest to work with as we clearly know what we can expect from them and them from us. We actually believe these packs should be standard and include:
- Key terms and conditions clearly highlighted and explained
- Key information about the brand(s) – when established, where based, etc
- Latest welcome offer with significant terms and conditions
- Operator-specific terms and jargon that must be used
- An example of a compliant review and homepage
By having this easily to hand, affiliates can create content within guidelines and also ensure they operate their business correctly moving forwards. Compliance does not need to be the end of the operator/affiliate relationship, but things do need to change. If operators and affiliates follow the above, I believe it will be a change for the better.