On May 26 a new piece of legislation will be introduced which stands to have a huge impact on the European iGaming industry. The legislation in question is the Privacy and Communications Directive which will require users to provide their permission to any website that they visit to drop or track cookies.
Failure to comply with this new directive will result in fines of up to £500,000. This figure will appear astounding to many given that the maximum fine for drunk-driving is just 1% of that amount in the UK– and dropping cookies certainly has certainly never killed anyone!
Many average internet users aren’t aware that identifying information is seldom stored on a user as a result of cookies. As a general rule they have little interest in the person themselves, simply their behaviour on the internet. The doors that are opened by cookie tracking are almost uncountable and closing this door will cause many e-commerce companies to take a step backwards. Of course the new directive isn’t stopping cookie dropping outright, it’s just ensuring that users must consent to cookies being dropped. However the likelihood of users allowing cookies to be dropped due to the common belief described above means that many will not.
Not only will this render some iGaming technologies to be useless but more importantly it will make the roles of affiliates much tougher. Sites that rely heavily on targeted ad networks such as AdSense for their income will be in even bigger trouble as the targeting will be much less specific meaning that click through rates will drop drastically. Mechanisms which have been nicknamed ‘Do Not Track’ are having the fine touches put to them by browser-creators currently meaning that unfortunately, these scenes are going to come to fruition.
Being Prepared for New Cookie Laws
If as a webmaster, affiliate or even operator you’re reading about this for the first time or didn’t realise that the date of enforcement was quite so close then you may find yourself panicking about your lack of planned changes. If this is the case then don’t fret as you’re not alone. UK analysts KPMG looked at the websites of more than 55 UK organisations and found that 95% of them were not compliant with the laws that are due to be introduced next month.
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who was put in charge by the government of regulating the new rules in the UK, they claim that users must ‘knowingly indicate their acceptance’. Online shopping baskets are likely to be deemed exempt by the ICO but any cookies being used for analytical purposes or first and third party advertising will not.
So what is there that iGaming sites can do in order to comply with the new law? Well Conrad Bennett of Webtrends explains that action should be taken soon.
He says: “Our advice is to, firstly, conduct a cookie audit of your website. Remove any cookies that are no longer required”.