The UK’s betting regulator, the Gambling Commission, has issued a warning to its licensed operators regarding unauthorised advertisements.
The warning concerns operators’ digital adverts and whether they are being used on certain websites, which could provide unauthorised access to content that may be copyrighted.
Third Party Affiliate Sites Could Be to Blame
It seems the digital ads could have been displayed on websites infringing copyright on behalf of licensed operators by affiliate sites.
The regulator has now asked various operators to immediately terminate any contracts they hold with offending third party affiliate pages.
For some time, the Commission has added to a list known as the IWL, the Infringing Website List. This list of owned by the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. The GC’s latest move has been to make a list available to all its licensees to check whether they are currently working with any sites having infringed copyright.
Infringements Could Mean Gambling is Linked to Crime
Affiliate sites earn commissions for passing customers into gambling operators. The worry now is that unauthorised advertising on unlicenced sites leads to a contribution of funding for the said site, therefore inadvertently linking the gambling industry with the crime.
This comes when the industry is doing all it can to disassociate itself from unsavoury groups, achieved via each licenced operator’s anti-money laundering policy which should always be kept up to date as a condition of its licence with the Gambling Commission.
While the Commission reports that it has seen a significant reduction in gambling adverts showing up on sites apparently infringing copyright down the years, some still appear. The latest warnings remind operators that some third-party affiliate sites still use the practice and that it must be stamped out completely.
While it’s true that operators pay affiliate sites to drive business their way, they are naturally assumed to make extra money from these practices by attracting new customers to their brands.
As such, the burden now falls on licensees within the industry to now introduce additional controls. Gambling operators will now need to introduce extra controls or review their current methods of monitoring these practices to ensure that more infringements do not occur.
Commission Has Not Advised Specific Measures
While the responsibility to repair the current situation regarding ads showing on copyright-infringing sites falls squarely on gambling operators, the Commission has not made any specific demands on how this should be achieved.
To date, the GC hasn’t advised specific measures for licensees to prevent infringements but has made it very clear that they expect the situation to be taken care of forthwith.
Despite the great efforts made by the industry as a whole to stamp out any unsavoury behaviour and illegal activity, web-based loopholes are still being exploited.
Recently, the Commission launched a successful investigation into illegal lotteries being run via Facebook, something they managed to stop in Great Britain via the investigation.
In this case, it must be pointed out that affiliate sites exist for the right reasons. While they ultimately earn their revenue by driving new players to licenced gambling operators, they do this by first providing strong content for the reader regarding casino and bookmaker reviews, game reviews and news from the industry.