UKGC Enforcement Report highlights affiliate promotion concerns

Having launched its second annual ‘Enforcement Report’, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has developed an overview encompassing the UK betting sector, addressing the efforts being made to roll out the UK regulatory agenda and industry directives.

The report highlights seven key focus areas in the UK gambling policy – safer gambling, AML, marketing/advertising, illegal activities, affordability, consumer protection and compliance – which offer readers a breakdown of ‘notable enforcement cases’ sanctioned against UK licensed incumbents over the past year as well as a ‘health check tick-list.’

The regulator addressed a number of regulatory concerns in the report, having emphasised that gambling operators are failing to take ‘sufficient care with the imagery and words used in adverts for gambling products to ensure that they are not likely to appeal to children.’

Working alongside the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), the UKGC emphasised that operators must ‘make sure gambling adverts or sponsorship links do not appear on football website pages that are targeted at children.’

The Gambling Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur said: “I want gambling consumers in Britain to be able to enjoy the fairest and safest gambling in the world and I want gambling operators to work with us to put customer enjoyment and safety at the top of their corporate agenda.

“As the report shows, we will be tough when we find operators bending the rules or failing to meet our expectations, but we also want to try and minimise the need for such action by providing advice, a programme of support material and compliance activity to help operators get things right in the first place.’’

McArthur states that during the course of 2018/19, the commission has been alarmed by the number of occasions it has had to enforce ‘tough actions’ protecting consumers and the wider public.

Throughout 2018, the UKGC identified LeoVegas as a culprit for advertising, with 31 of the 41 advertisements failing ‘to state significant limitations and qualifications relating to promotions, despite there being space to do so (eight on its own website and 23 on affiliates’).’

The remaining ten advertisements were highlighted as misleading to customers, ‘as the information needed to make an informed decision was presented in an unclear manner, contrary to CAP code 3.3.’

Nevertheless, the UKGC stressed that the report should be read as ‘industry guidance’, offering betting leadership insights on notable case studies and further providing key criteria ‘health checks’ detailing UKGC best practices and learnings.

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