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Compliance Updates

UK’s Advertising Standards Authority Clarifies Content Marketing Rules for Gambling Advertising

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UK’s Advertising Standards Authority Clarifies Content Marketing Rules for Gambling Advertising
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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s advertisement watchdog, has issued further guidance on the rules applied to “content marketing” of gambling services/products on social media and other digital channels.

The guidance was published as a “remit statement” responding to queries by operators, related to its 2021 “CAP Code on marketing communications appearing on websites, apps and cross-border platforms”.

Questions were raised as to what extent ASA’s remit covers gambling communications displayed on social media through videos, blogs, posts or updates, that did not explicitly promote a brand, but were deemed to “stimulate interest in products or services”.

ASA stated that it had a “common understanding” with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that all social media content published by licensed operators must comply with the standards and protections set by the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code).

As such, content created by licensed operators must ensure the protection of under-18s and other vulnerable groups from the potential harms associated with gambling.

Aware of the diverse range of content communications available to advertisers, ASA noted that it had a distinction in how it applies CAP rules to monitor content.

The guidance noted: “ASA regulates commercial communications in marketers’ own spaces online that are likely to have the effect of ‘selling something’; content that can reasonably be considered advertising.”

“For obvious reasons, it can’t regulate everything in the online space. One of the key exclusions – inspired in large part by the need to protect freedom of expression – is for editorial content.”

ASA warned that it considers the vast majority of content marketing to be “selling something,” therefore, requiring licensed operators to follow CAP Code gambling rules on under-18 protection and to ensure that content cannot appeal to youth culture.

Further CAP Code requirements applied to content marketing restrict under-25s from being featured in a gambling advertisement or prominent advertising role, as a new gambling advertising rule enforced by CAP.

ASA acknowledged that there is potential for some social media content to fall outside of its enforcement remit, in which it will consider complaints on a case-by-case basis.

In the limited scenarios where complaints about operators’ social media are deemed not to be within remit, the ASA will refer them to the Gambling Commission who will consider the content displayed within the boundaries of its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) rules.

ASA concluded: “Ultimately, the message for operators is straight-forward – all consumer-facing social media activity must comply with the standards set out in the gambling section of the CAP Code.

“For consumers, this demonstrates ASA and the Gambling Commission’s continued commitment to work together to deliver joined-up and effective protections.”

Compliance Updates

Smarkets Fined £630,000 for AML and Social Responsibility Failings

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has handed a £630,000 fine to betting exchange Smarkets after identifying a series of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings, including letting a player deposit a six-figure sum without appropriate checks.

According to UKGC, Smarkets allowed customers to gamble without carrying out sufficient source-of-funds checks, while the operator was also found to have failed to identify and interact with customers at risk of experiencing harm.

Specific examples published by the Commission included one customer being allowed to deposit £395,000 during a four-month period, without appropriate source of funds checks being carried out by Smarkets.

The Commission also highlighted a case where an individual was able to transfer significant levels of funds between accounts without scrutiny or source-of-funds checks.

Sarah Gardner, Commission Deputy CEO, said: “This case was identified through compliance checks and once again highlights how we will take action against gambling operators who fail their customers.

“Our investigation into Smarkets unearthed a variety of failures where customers were put at risk of gambling harm.

“It was obvious that poor systems and processes were in place which contributed to these breaches, driven by the company’s failure to effectively implement its policies and controls.”

The operator has also received a formal warning and will undergo an audit to ensure it is effectively implementing its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls, in line with section 117(1)(b) of the Gambling Act 2005.

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Openbox Gaming offers gateway to Asia

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Openbox Gaming offers gateway to Asia
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New provider will deliver fresh content opportunitues to both operators and suppliers

Openbox Gaming, a fast-growing distributor of iGaming content across Asia and other markets, has been issued an IOM OGRA Software Supplier licence by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC).

Having secured the Software Supplier licence, one of the industry’s newest iGaming distributors with a unique USP will be in a position to supply a portfolio of online casino games from a variety of internal and external suppliers, to licensed B2B gaming partners and B2C operators.

Richard Hogg, CEO of Openbox Gaming, commented: “We are excited to be able to continue in our mission to deliver gaming content to regulated jurisdictions worldwide and see this as a major step in achieving those objectives. We selected the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission due to its established and proven reputation and its robust licensing process, which provides the ideal platform for our expansion into regulated markets.”

Tony Ure, Head of eGaming, Digital Isle of Man added: “It is a pleasure to welcome Openbox Gaming to the Island. Ensuring that the Island has a supportive ecosystem for gaming companies to operate their business, whilst maintaining our reputation as a highly regulated jurisdiction that prides itself on player protection is key to continuing the growth of this sector on the Isle of Man. I wish Openbox Gaming every success with their future ventures.”

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Compliance Updates

PopOK Gaming Has Received a Certificate for Georgia

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PopOK Gaming Has Received a Certificate for Georgia
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The innovative iGaming developer and service provider PopOK Gaming is now certified to offer its games in Georgia.

PopOK Gaming now extends its iGaming activities to Georgia as well. This way, local players will have access to our engaging games already loved by many. 18 games, such as Yummy, Lost Treasure, Diamond Flash, 20 Hot Bar, Sultan’s Tale, Los Apaches and others, will bring a breath of fresh air to all players and make their leisure more colourful, tasty and enjoyable.

PopOK Gaming’s local partners will surely get a lot of benefits from this, being able to deliver certified games to their customers. The gain is totally worth it, with the clear potential to drive high traffic to operators’ websites and greatly contribute to their business growth.

Regarding this certificate acquisition PopOK Gaming CEO, Karen Gulkanyan said, “Since iGaming is regulated strictly in Georgia, it’s a huge step forward to deliver our games to the Georgian audience. The path is not easy, yet we are full of hope that our lucrative solutions will immediately appeal to the regional players and increase business revenue for partners, laying the foundation for long-term cooperation”.

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