ASA rulings add fuel to the affiliate fire

At the same time that the termination of Sky Betting & Gaming’s affiliate marketing programme dominated debate on the first day of the Betting on Sports 2017 conference (including David Clifton’s panel session), the ASA has upheld complaints against four online gambling companies for irresponsible adverts published by an affiliate without their approval or awareness.

The adverts suggested that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems such as depression and that it could be a solution to financial concerns. The ASA also concluded that, in each case, the advert was not obviously identifiable as an advertisement and the commercial intent was not immediately clear.

The rulings were against 888, Sky Vegas, Ladbrokes and Casumo Services, the ASA considering that, as the beneficiaries of the marketing material in each case, the operators were responsible for the adverts and for responding to the ASA investigation.

David’s August 2017 Legal Expert article for SBC News “Don’t gamble on your affiliates” explains that licensed gambling operators can be left carrying the can for failings by their affiliates not only in relation to advertising but also under the LCCP and data protection legislation.

Update: As reported in SBC News on 15 September, following on from the above, Paddy Power Betfair has streamlined its affiliate marketing terms of business, adding a new ‘1 Strike Policy’ to its Betfair and Paddy Power partnership programs, informing its affiliates that it will immediately suspend any marketing partner found to have breached its following promotional/messaging guidelines:

  • No SMS (text) marketing
  • No ‘advertorial style’ marketing referencing Paddy Power or Betfair brands
  • No ‘pop-under’ marketing allowed
  • Affiliate partners must disclose full media buy provisions (pages advertised, landing pages, brand displays, player destinations)
  • Any betting tips/tipster content must ‘make clear that it is in fact a challenge and must not imply that success is guaranteed’
  • All promotional offers must be attached to appropriate Paddy Power and Betfair terms and conditions.
  • Consumers must be aware that publisher works independently of PPB brands.
  • Any promotion via a Twitter, Facebook or other social media the account must have 18+ in the page bio
  • Affiliate/Partner must use creative approved by Paddy Power or Betfair marketing