It’s time for an in depth Q&A and in this month’s edition, we’re chatting about the latest regulatory changes for online casinos. Affiliate Industry Review answers for everything you need to know in a quick, condensed form.
What is the current state of play?
Ok, let’s start with the simple stuff, what’s happening? The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) and UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have teamed up to make things fairer for users. Their latest target is casino wagering requirements, they have operators and affiliates firmly in their sights.
They want to change the standard of wagering requirements to ensure that players are able to access their own money. They want to reduce the amount of conditions and unfair requirements that are currently in place to stop players from withdrawing after making a deposit at an online casino.
What does it actually mean?
This change will target affiliates and operators, which may have another knock on effect to affiliate compliance. Larger operators have already decided to change their wagering requirements as a result of the report that sparked the new guidelines. William Hill and Ladbrokes have already begun to change the fine print as a result.
In future the typical wagering requirements that we see right now will need to be reduced and clarified. This also comes off the back of a number of complaints from users that they were simply not allowed to withdraw their own money, when the discretion of the operator has been put into effect.
When does it come into effect?
Operators will need to change their game by the end of 2018 to comply with these new regulations. As a result, affiliates will also need to update their promotional materials and reviews to match these changes. This may also affect the welcome offers that we see promoted across the internet, as fewer wagering requirements will mean users are more likely be able to cash out and bonus money (as a acquisition tool) will need to be reconsidered as the main driver to get new customers to deposit and play online.
What affiliates need to do on site and in their promotions to consider this change
As with the bonus tax, this will probably result in a period of flux and change for affiliates. Promotions may change quickly and in order to be compliant, all of your promotional materials must match the actual offers available on the site. Affiliates will need to host creative from within the operator’s programme using links that can be easily updated on their sites. This will also tie into the responsible gambling aspect of the regulations, as wagering requirements can be seen as an incentive to continue to gamble. The actual guidelines won’t be published until later in the year – but affiliates and operators must start to prepare now.
Brean Wilkinson (Founder) www.gamingslots.com says : “Removing the wagering requirement on deposited funds will be widely appreciated by casino players as its the fairest way of offering a bonus. However it will slowly impact the bonus requirement expectation as casino clients are used to receiving high value offers on the proviso that there is a wagering requirement. We may all have to re-think the acquisition strategies to accommodate this change. “
What operators will likely do
Operators will likely adopt a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach that we’ve seen a lot across recent gambling regulation changes. Where they’re not sure of whether they’re compliant, they will likely go overboard with being whiter than white.
This will be a pain for affiliates and it will most likely mean your inbox will overflow with emails from operators – which will probably offer contradictory advice. Any major changes within the gambling industry have had this kind of effect, so we would expect a similar process for this change too.
Unfortunately, this may also mean that some operators close their affiliate portals, as the onus is on the operator to ensure that the terms are clear on affiliate sites.
Roger Katz, Head of Acquisition for Go Wild Casino says: “The impact these changes will have is, in the long term a positive one, and it is a clear sign the UK market is not just becoming more complex but also more mature and mainstream. Furthermore, even though in the short term, it may limit an operator’s ability to be creative with their promotions, these changes create a much-needed framework for clear and transparent rules around bonuses thus lowering the number of player complaints and queries. This in turn will allow operators to focus more resources on providing an overall superior player experience.”
How can we get ahead of this and still convert customers
Again it seems that things are getting harder for affiliates to convert their customers. There are ways to get around this though, especially if you offer real value to these users. This could be by building a real community or offering a unique brand tone that no one else has. Customers will come to you and you will still be able to convert them, even if you do need to be a bit clearer on the terms and conditions.
What can Casino affiliates do now to prep for this change?
As ever, you should be making your way through all of the material on your affiliate site to make sure it’s all present and correct. With operators changing their offers all the time these days, don’t be surprised if you’ve missed one or two. Reach out to your operator partners and start to build that trust if you haven’t already, they’ll appreciate the fact that you are paying attention to compliance.
We hope that this Q&A has been helpful for our casino affiliate readers. Check out our latest Affiliate Bootcamp events if you’d like to come along and ask industry experts all of the questions you have regarding regulation, operator relationships and more.