New gambling marketing affiliate trade association formed
A new trade association, Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAIG), has been launched, chaired by former Remote Gambling Association CEO, Clive Hawkswood.
In a press release published earlier today (that can be downloaded below), the association’s founding members – Better Collective, Oddschecker and the Racing Post – say that they “recognise the role that affiliate marketing providers must play as part of wider industry initiatives in the UK to promote social responsibility and a safer gambling environment for consumers”.
RAIG is now seeking to recur further members from within the affiliate community. As a condition of membership, each member will be subject to an annual social responsibility audit which will be conducted by an independent third party, Gambling Integrity. The full Code of Conduct that will apply to RAIG members can also be downloaded below.
According to RAIG’s press release, the new association:
- is committed to engaging proactively with politicians and other stakeholders in any consultations and discussions that are relevant to the responsible marketing of gambling products, and
- will also be giving early consideration to whether and how it might support relevant projects in the sphere of research, education and treatment as well as the options for improving the training for those working in the gambling affiliate sector.
Commenting on the launch of RAIG, Clive Hawkswood has said:
A broad group of affiliates have been discussing the need for a dedicated association for some time. Particular credit should go to the founding members of RAIG for making that a reality and, crucially, for deciding that it should focus exclusively on social responsibility and safer gambling. The new audit process will be a key driver to achieving compliance and progress in these crucial areas and raising the standards of the affiliate marketing sector as a whole. However, the members are anxious to go beyond that and we look forward to engaging with other stakeholders, especially regulators, to explore what additional measures might be considered in the future. Affiliate providers of marketing services are already subject to extensive regulation, but more can always be done in relation to consumer protection and RAIG will provide the forum for that.
Jesper Søgaard, CEO of Better Collective, has said:
For Better Collective, compliance and responsible gambling have always been core focus areas due to our commitment and vision to empower iGamers. I am therefore extremely proud that we become co-founders of RAIG which I believe can be a game-changer for compliance standards for affiliates and which will ensure a lift of the entire industry in terms of responsible behaviour for the benefit of the users.
More information is available on RAIG’s website here.
1. Clive Hawkswood has been interviewed by AffiliateINSIDER in an article published on 28 May 2019 entitled “Clive Hawkswood: The affiliate sector has been misrepresented”, that can be downloaded below.
2. On 26 November 2019, RAiG published details of its social responsibility audit (that you can also download below) that all of its members and prospective members are required to undertake on an annual basis. Its accompanying press release states as follows:
Responsible Affiliates in Gambling introduces social responsibility audit, unveils priorities for its work programme and opens up for membership
- Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) has today published details of its social responsibility audit.
- The audit process provides assurance that RAiG members are compliant with relevant UK regulatory requirements. It will also facilitate the sharing of good practice with the aim of improving consumer safeguards in the longer term.
- As a result of developing the audit scheme and consultation with other stakeholders, RAiG has also decided to add several issues to its work programme.
Undertaking the social responsibility audit and successfully addressing any failings that might be found will be a condition of RAiG membership. It will be repeated on an annual basis. The paper published today covers areas such as the Purpose of the Audit; Frequency; Cost; the Framework; Practical Arrangements; the Auditor’s Report; and the Review Process. As the social responsibility audit is central to RAiG’s operation, completing the pilot has been a priority. Sarah Ramanauskas, Senior Partner at Gambling Integrity, who conducted the audits, commented: “The companies involved could not have been more co-operative or committed to the process, and I am pleased that they all passed. We look forward to working with RAiG in the future, in the belief that the annual social responsibility audits will not only provide assurances about compliance, but also provide a platform for sharing best practice and enhancing standards of consumer protection.” The audit is, however, only one part of the RAiG work programme. Other items which are now under consideration include:
- Marketing suppression – for self-excluded customers (in the first instance, RAiG is exploring options with organisations such as GAMSTOP, the national online self-exclusion scheme);
- Staff training – it is important that those working in the affiliate sector are aware about the wider issues associated with gambling and the harm that gambling can cause. In pursuit of this, RAiG has begun engaging with providers of specialist training with a view to developing courses that would be available to both members and non-members of RAiG.
- Safer gambling information – for example, what should affiliates provide to their customers and how might that best be achieved?
- Improving co-ordination with gambling operators – it is in the interests of both sectors to seek a more consistent approach to regulation and compliance; and
- Transparency – assessing how consumers might best be made aware if a commercial relationship exists between an affiliate and an operator. Measures emerging from the work programme will form part of a RAiG good practice document which in due course would be published for the benefit of both members and non-members. Commenting on the audit, RAIG’s chairman, Clive Hawkswood, said: “As with all of RAiG’s work it will evolve over time but setting up the audit process and getting it piloted by our founding members marks a huge step forward. I very much see it as a benefit of membership rather than something that members or prospective members should be concerned about. As transparency has become something of a watch word for RAiG it was also important that we put this paper into the public arena. We now feel much more comfortable about encouraging other affiliates to join RAiG simply because we can be open about what is required. With the pilot successfully completed and with the audit arrangements now in place, we can concentrate on improving standards within the affiliate sector so that it plays its part, and is seen as doing so, in creating a safer gambling environment for consumers. Against this background we are now actively encouraging other affiliates to apply for membership and expect to make further announcements on that front very shortly. Anyone interested in that is very welcome to contact us at https://www.raig.org/about-us/contact/”
About Responsible Affiliates in Gambling
Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) is a trade association founded in 2019. Its founding members were Racing Post, Oddschecker and Better Collective. The purpose of the association is to foster wider initiatives in the UK affiliate marketing sector to promote social responsibility and create a safer gambling environment for consumers. As a condition of membership, each member will be subject to an annual social responsibility audit which will be conducted by an independent third party.
A copy of the Social Responsibility Audit paper can be found here. For further information please contact: email@example.com
About Gambling Integrity
Gambling Integrity, founded in 2013, works with gambling and lottery operators around the globe. Its services support regulatory compliance and best practice in player protection, social responsibility and crime prevention. Gambling Integrity is a Level 4 certification assessor for the World Lottery Association’s Responsible Gambling Framework. It is also the independent auditor for the National Council on Problem Gambling’s iCAP player protection standards for online gambling in the US.
For more information see: www.gamblingintegrity.com
3. In a complete about-turn from its previous firmly adopted position (quoted by David Clifton in iGB’s Affiliate Monitor entitled “The affiliate sector and the Covid-19 crisis”), RAiG announced on 30 June 2020 its support for a licensing or registration regime for gambling affiliates (as reported by us here).