Online gambling affiliates have a few less UK-facing options as operators feel the heat of increased regulatory oversight.
Last week, affiliate marketing partners of UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings reported receiving emails saying the company was “seeking to exert greater control on the traffic which is generated from the UK.”
888 informed members of its Uffiliate program that, as of January 29, they “must not target UK IP addresses and/or any persons located in the UK” and 888 “shall no longer pay you any commission with regard to money players in the UK.” The change doesn’t apply to non-UK money players or UK money players “which you have generated in the UK prior to such date.”
888’s UK-listed rival Paddy Power Betfair issued a similar notice saying it was looking to “reduce our number of active affiliate accounts.” Affected affiliates were told that their accounts would be suspended as of February 5.
PPB said its move was prompted by its need to conform to “UK gambling marketing requirements.” 888 defended its decision by saying it needed to “ensure that we continue to work in a regulatory compliant and responsible manner in the UK.”
PPB adopted a new “one-strike policy” for affiliates last September after the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) castigated an online affiliate for its “socially irresponsible” promotional content. Last week, the UK Gambling Commission unveiled plans to make operators directly responsible for content produced by their affiliate partners.
888 was already in the UKGC’s bad books (literally) following last August’s record £7.8m fine for allowing thousands of self-excluded customers to continue to gamble with the site. 888 was also among the companies who’d partnered with the affiliate the ASA spanked last September.
PPB and 888 are part of a growing trend among UK online operators. Last September, Sky Betting & Gaming scrapped its affiliate program due to “changing regulatory requirements” in its home market.
Meanwhile, the Mansion Group of online gambling sites has rebranded its iAffiliates program under the new moniker Mansion Affiliates. The change was reportedly due to the company’s desire to achieve a more unified branding presence and not, as some cynics might allege, as Mansion’s attempt to ensure affiliates wouldn’t be able to find them anymore.