It is a coup to gain support from the Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG), the trade association formed by Better Collective, Oddschecker and Racing Post.
Now conditional support has been pledged for a statutory licensing or registration regime for affiliates active in the British gambling market. This support will become effective if there is a demonstrated impact on consumers.
The concern revolves around social responsibility and responsible gambling standards. Clearly these areas need attention and voluntary compliance. Standards should be raised across the sector along with a specific licensing process.
It is time to set aside the role of the UK ad watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This is not a licensing body or statutory regulator. It is now in the hands of the RAiG.
The commission has established a list of resolution providers and software testing houses. Now a system has to be put in place and it need not be burdensome. The commission notes that a licensing model would supplement an extensive range of regulations for affiliates.
According to RAiG Chair, Clive Hawkswood, the decision was not taken lightly and followed considerable stakeholders debate as the organization wants to speak on behalf of all members.
“[It] is vital that we play a constructive role as policies evolve rather than waiting on the side-lines for measures to be imposed.”
As with all forms of licensing and regulation, the devil is usually in the details, he said. The aim is to ensure that any provisions are proportionate and most important of all, effective in improving consumer safeguards.
RAiG serves as the voice of the iGaming affiliate sector; but it is divisive and criticism abounds.
For example, when a working group established by the British Gambling Commission announced that PPC advertising should be restricted to players aged 25 and over. RAiG declared its support, prompting affiliate entrepreneur, Richard Skelhorn, to declare that the association’s SEO-focused members had the most to gain from restricting PPC-driven businesses.