iGaming Affiliate Partnerships in the UK
- April 22, 2019
- by Affbank Team
- Reviews: 0
Affiliate partnerships mean big business in the gambling industry. Practically every online casino and sportsbook has some form of an affiliate program. It is a way in which platforms boost their own revenue and attract new customers with minimal effort required. A casino offers an affiliate program, while individual users, websites and casino review platforms apply for it to effectively bring in new users for the casino and get paid for this.
In early 2019, the UK Gambling Commission made some important changes to its LCCP. These changes addressed affiliate programs, and how they are marketed and handled by casinos. It is important to understand how affiliate partnerships work in the UK, and what these changes are.
What is an Affiliate Program and How does It Work in the United Kingdom?
Before we delve into the changes the UK Gambling Commission is making, we should remind you of what affiliate programs are. An affiliate program is a service offered to third-party users and websites. In effect, the casino rewards the third party for promoting their website and bringing in new customers. The reward is usually a small amount of cash or a set fee depending on the terms.
There are many different types of an affiliate program. Some businesses reward their partners for how many new customers they bring in. They may offer a set fee for each new user that registers a unique account and makes an initial deposit. Others reward partners for how much revenue they bring in. For example, the partner may receive a commission based on a percentage of what each new customer spends.
Regardless of the type of an affiliate program, casinos should adhere to certain standards and regulations. Within the UK, casinos must comply with standards set by the Gambling Commission. Failure to do so could result in their gaming license being revoked.
What Changes have the UKGC Proposed?
Various changes and improvements have been made by the UK Gambling Commission. It is clear that the Commission understands the importance of transparency and fairness concerning affiliate partnerships. The following are some of the changes made that will affect affiliate partnerships:
Marketing and Promotion
One of the greatest changes the Commission has made involves the actions of third-party affiliates. They have specifically addressed marketing, advertising, and promotion. There are now provisions and regulations for how casinos and sportsbooks manage their marketing campaigns.
Firstly, any casino with a license must comply with the UK advertising codes. These codes are specified by the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency). Furthermore, casinos are prohibited from sending their affiliate marketing spam via both text messages and email. Basically, they must give customers the option to receive or opt out of these marketing promotions.
Possibly the most important factor is that in no way can a casino or sportsbook mislead customers through advertising. Any advertising given relating to promotional programs must be accurate. It cannot contain information that is untrue or misleading. There have been instances where affiliate programs have been miss-marketed and led to customers having a false impression of the casino.
Finally, it is now stated that those casinos providing affiliate marketing must be responsible for the actions of the third-party websites they are working with. For example, if an affiliate partner gave false information about the casino, or advertised something that was not true, the casino should by rights assess this false information and take it up with the partner. Basically, they must ensure that the third-party affiliate partners are promoting their affiliate program in a fair and ethical manner.
Disputes and Complaints
Any disputes and complaints from customers must be handled in a timely manner. The provider must be fair, transparent and effective. Essentially, it is not acceptable for any complaints or disputes to be simply dismissed. The provider must follow through with any complaint and give it due consideration.
Unfair Practices and Terms
Finally, the UK Gambling Commission has also made changes to unfair practices. The gambling industry is unfortunately littered with disreputable casinos and sportsbooks, who simply want to scam users and partners out of their hard-earned cash.
To help combat this, the Commission is changing the way that action can be taken against casinos not following procedures and regulations. This means that casinos will have to treat their customers and affiliate partners fairly, and give them due notice of any change in service, regardless of how small or insignificant it is.
What Implications could these Changes Have?
These changes are certainly a step in the right direction. Casinos and sportsbooks may not feel the same way – it will require more effort and tighter procedures. In the long run, however, everyone should benefit from improved processes and accountability. Casinos should have streamlined and more effective affiliate services. Furthermore, affiliate partners themselves will enjoy a fairer and more enjoyable cooperation. The terms and conditions should be clearer, and there should be no hidden information that they can’t access.
There is a different aspect to these changes however. The new regulations and rules that the UK Gambling Commission has introduced could negatively impact conversion rates. By conversion rates we mean the percentage of clicks/visits that result in some form of action by the customer. This is because casinos could reduce their affiliate programs and concentrate on other areas of marketing instead.
Tightened regulations mean that casinos may have to revamp their affiliate and PPC marketing strategies. They may ultimately decide that the increased competition, and the increased requirements that they have to comply with simply aren’t worth the effort. If profits and ROI are reduced, the incentive might not be there.
Both affiliates and casino operators utilize PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing. Under the rules of the UKGC, they must pay close attention to the digital ad content, which should be compiled in a socially responsible manner. This means that the ad shouldn’t be placed on the platforms or websites, where children and young people make up a significant portion of the audience. Moreover, marketing content should be clearly identifiable as an ad and reflect its commercial intent. This implies that the PPC competition will increase greatly in the following years, because it now requires more targeted strategies using keywords and phrases that might be more specific.
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