The trade association RAiG has finally decided to support calls for statutory licensing to be introduced for gambling affiliates in the UK market.
UK.- Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG), a trade association created by Oddschecker, Better Collective and the Racing Post, has said it supports calls for a major overhaul of the UK affiliate scene through the introduction of a statutory licensing or registration regime.
The association, which now counts BonusFinder.com, Moneta Communications and Natural Intelligence as members, said that it supported the concept “in principle” pending details on how the system would work and what benefits it would offer to customers, and providing the system did not place a major expense or burden on affiliates.
It said that after carrying out a review of current social responsibility standards for affiliates, it had concluded that although voluntary measures could improve standards to an extent, it recognised that it would be more effective for minimum requirements to be enforced via a licensing regime.
It said licensing would be best conducted by the Gambling Commission rather than the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) since the advertising watchdog was not a licensing body nor a statutory regulator. It noted the Gambling Commission also already had experience authorising third-party providers through its gambling software provider licences and lists of approved alternative dispute resolution providers and software testing houses.
RAiG Chair, Clive Hawkswood, recognised that the issue had proved divisive in the industry and said that the association’s six members had debated the issue for several months.
He said: “The decision to support the principle of a licensing or registration system was not taken lightly and we have been assessing the pros and cons for many months. This issue will achieve greater prominence as the government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005 picks up pace and it is vital that we play a constructive role as policies evolve rather than waiting on the side-lines for measures to be imposed.
“It is appreciated that this is an issue where opinion across the sector is divided and RAiG will make clear that, as with any trade body, it can only speak on behalf of its members. Despite that, we hope everyone in the affiliate marketing world and beyond will keep an open mind about any proposals which would serve to create a safer gambling environment.
“As with all forms of licensing and regulation, the devil is usually in the detail and the aim must be to work with all stakeholders to ensure that any provisions are proportionate and, most important of all, effective in improving safeguards for consumers.”
RAiG aims to represent the iGaming affiliate sector but has been accused of serving only the largest businesses in the sector and overlooking the affiliates that gain traffic through pay per click (PPC) rather than search engine optimisation (SEO). It supported the Gambling Commission’s decision to restrict PPC advertising to over 25s.