RAiG Leaders Support Radical Reform Of UK Gambling Affiliate System

Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG), has announced Tuesday morning that its membership body is endorsing ‘in principle the introduction of statutory licencing or registration regime’ for affiliates operating on the UK gambling market.

Support for the implementation of an affiliate-centric licencing system follows RAiG ‘s internal review of current social responsibility and responsible gambling requirements relevant to marketing practises for affiliates.

In a statement, RAiG details: “Although much can be done on a voluntary basis in pursuit of that, it has been concluded that the right way to ensure that standards rise across the whole sector is for minimum requirements to be set out and implemented by way of some form of licensing or registration process.”

The founding partners Oddschecker, Racing Post and Better Collective AB founded RAiG in May 2019, which vowed to perform an annual social responsibility audit conducted as an independent adjudicator by Gambling Integrity.

RAiG states in its declaration that its membership will support a comprehensive reform of UK franchise marketing, based upon the ‘proposed system’ and strong appreciation of customer benefits.

RAIG chairman Clive Hawkswood, reflecting on the changes, said: “The decision to support the principle of a licensing or registration system was not taken lightly and we have been assessing the pros and cons for many months.”

“This issue will achieve greater prominence as the Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005 picks up pace and it is vital that we play a constructive role as policies evolve rather than waiting on the side-lines for measures to be imposed.”

Bearing in mind regulatory complexities, RAiG recommends that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) perform the role of licencing body for new regime for gambling affiliates.

UKGC is compared to the Advertising Standards Authority ( ASA), which states that RAiG regulates UK advertising enforcement but has never acted as a regulatory agency or formal regulator.

In support of its new goal, RAiG notes that the UKGC has already set precedents for the direct licencing of third-party vendors, such as industry software suppliers, testing houses and independent Alternative Dispute Resolution ( ADR) services providers.

RAiG’s call for formal licencing follows its announcement in April, in which the trade body backed new social responsibility initiatives in addition to more advertisement and VIP restrictions established by the ‘leadership workshops’ of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

Despite supporting higher standards for UK gambling, Clive Hawkswood emphasised that UKGC and BGC were unable to sideline affiliates from the ‘Collaborative approach to reforming gambling’ of the industry.

Current publishers Reward Finder, Moneta Communications and Natural Intelligence joined the trading body from its inception.

Hawkswood said: “It is appreciated that this is an issue where opinion across the sector is divided and RAiG will make clear that, as with any trade body, it can only speak on behalf of its members.

“Despite that, we hope everyone in the affiliate marketing world and beyond will keep an open mind about any proposals which would serve to create a safer gambling environment. As with all forms of licensing and regulation, the devil is usually in the detail and the aim must be to work with all stakeholders to ensure that any provisions are proportionate and, most important of all, effective in improving safeguards for consumers.”