UK-licensed Operators must ensure that all third parties and Affiliates advertising on their behalf do so in a socially responsible manner, and follow the regulations and rules issued by the relevant authorities.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide you with a summary of acceptable marketing and advertising procedures, as per the rules set by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
This guide is not intended to be comprehensive; it is intended to provide you with a framework for advertising and marketing regulation. It is your responsibility to make sure your advertising and promotions comply with the current and updated law and regulations.
Relevant law and regulation
As an affiliate of a UK-licensed operator, you are required to comply with all laws, regulations and industry practices applicable to online advertising and the marketing of online gambling sites, including but not limited to:
- the UK Gambling Act 2005;
- the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) issued by the UKGC;
- the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and guidance documents issued by the ASA;
- the IGRG Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.
Furthermore, your activities must be carried out in line with the licensing objectives set out in the Gambling Act 2005:
a) preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime;
b) ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way;
c) protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The UKGC regulates commercial gambling in Great Britain and requires that:
- All marketing of gambling products and services must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner and never be misleading.
- Licensees and their affiliates must comply with the advertising codes of practice issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) as applicable.
- Digital advertisements must not be placed on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.
- all significant conditions which apply to marketing incentives needs to be provided transparently and prominently to consumers.
- Marketing communications (which include advertisements) must state significant limitations and qualifications.
- Marketing communications that include a promotion and are significantly limited by time or space must include as much information about significant conditions as practicable and must direct consumers clearly to an easily accessible alternative source where all the significant conditions of the promotion are prominently stated.
- Terms and conditions relating to consumers’ understanding of a ‘free bet’ offer and of the commitments that they have to make in order to take advantage of such an offer should generally be stated in the advertisement itself.
- No advertising or other marketing information, whether relating to specific offers or to gambling generally, appears on any primary web page/screen or microsite that provides advice or information on responsible gambling.
You can find more information on the UKGC website. Please click here to download the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP).
The ASA is the UK’s independent advertising regulator while the CAP is the sister organisation of the ASA and is responsible for writing the Advertising Codes.
The rules in the advertising codes are designed to ensure that marketing communications for gambling products are socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons under 18 and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by advertising that features or promotes gambling.
According to the Advertising codes, marketing communication must not:
- portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm;
- portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life; for example, over family, friends or professional or educational commitment;
- suggest that solitary gambling is preferable to social gambling;
- suggest that gambling can provide an escape from personal, professional or educational problems or be a solution to financial concerns;
- suggest that gambling can enhance personal qualities;
- condone or encourage criminal or anti-social behaviour.
In line with the objectives above, the CAP establishes that all marketing communications must not:
- be presented in such a way that creates an unjustifiable sense of urgency (e.g. “Bet now!”);
- link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness;
- portray gambling in a context of toughness or link it to resilience or recklessness;
- be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons;
- include a child or a young person. No one who is, or seems to be under 25 years old, may be featured gambling. No one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way; and
- include a player marked as a self-excluded on our gambling operator partners’ website.
For greater detail on approaches that are likely to be unacceptable in individual marketing communications, click on Gambling advertising: responsibility and problem gambling.
Marketers shall also keep in mind the followings standards:
- Curb trivialisation of gambling (e.g. encouraging repetitive play);
- Prevent approaches that give an irresponsible perception of the risk or control (e.g. “Risk Free Deposit Bonus”);
- Provide greater detail on problem gambling behaviours and associated behaviours that should not be portrayed, even indirectly;
- Prevent undue emphasis on money-motives for gambling; and
- Provide more detail on vulnerable groups like problem gamblers that marketers need to work to protect.
The CAP offers also guidance for Advertisers of Free Bets and Bonuses. In particular, in order to not mislead, in your advertising you shall include the significant conditions, which must always be prominently displayed with an advertised offer. Other terms and conditions of the offer must be, at most, ‘one click’ away from the advertising.
In media where it would not be possible to immediately display the full terms and conditions of an offer, for example in sponsored search results or smaller banners, a prominent and clear direct link to the full terms and conditions of an offer should be included. It is useful knowing that advertisers’ own websites and emails are not limited by time and space and the full terms and conditions for offers should be easily accessible.
Also, consider that:
- “Money back” offers must be in cash, not bonuses;
- “Risk free” offers must incur no loss to the consumer;
- “Matched bets” – any stake limitation should be treated as a significant condition and stated up front.
Please click here for the Gambling CAP code.
Furthermore, in your advertising and promotions you shall:
• Include all significant terms around wagering requirements, depositing, withdrawals limits, offer start and end date on all adverts.
• Include: “Begambleaware.org”, “18+” and that “T&Cs apply”.
• Specify any other restrictions which apply.
ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
The ICO’s PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) guidance, explains how to apply the Regulations on:
• marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
• cookies (and similar technologies);
• keeping communications services secure; and
• customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification and directory listings.
On the basis of Regulation 22, electronic marketing communications can be sent exclusively when at least one of the following conditions is satisfied:
• the individual has specifically consented to electronic mail from you;
• the individual is an existing customer who bought (or negotiated to buy) a similar product or service in the past, and have been given a simple way to opt out both when their details were first collected and in every message you have sent to them.
In any of the following case: emails, texts, picture messages, video messages, voicemails, direct messages via social media or any similar message that is stored electronically, you must not disguise or conceal your identity, and you must provide a valid contact address so they can opt out or unsubscribe. Customers who choose to opt-out of marketing must be removed from the database with immediate effect.
It is important to consider that:
• Marketing databases must have been acquired lawfully, with specific and obvious content given to market the receiver of the correspondence.
• You must remove self-excluded customers from all marketing databases immediately.
• All marketing material must be clearly identifiable as such and also your details must be clearly presented in the advert.
In case we receive a complaint about your advert:
We will disclose the affiliate’s contact details to the complainant directly.
Should we receive a regulatory fine as a result of the affiliate’s actions, the affiliate will be required to reimburse us in full for the amount of the fine.
If you fail to comply with all the relevant regulations and/or the T&Cs, we may close your affiliate’s account and withhold further commission.
We hope the above helps you to gain a clearer idea of what we expect from you.
The Affiliate Marketing Team