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Compliance Updates

ASA Bans BetUK’s Radio Ad Featuring Former Footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa

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LeoVegas-owned sportsbook BetUK has been told by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) not to repeat an advertisement again which featured former footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa, due to its appeal to under-18s.

The radio ad for the operator in September 2023 saw Akinfenwa state he was a brand ambassador for the company. He promoted BetUK’s responsible gambling tools including deposit limits, reality checks and timeouts.

The ASA investigated the ad on the grounds of a complaint which said Akinfenwa may appeal to under-18s, and the body has subsequently ordered BetUK not to repeat the ad.

The ASA acknowledged BetUK’s argument that during his playing career, 41-year-old Akinfenwa never played in the Premier League – and so his appeal to under-18s was “low-risk.”

However, the ASA, referring to the B/CAP guidance, said that Akinfenwa was “likely” to have appeal to under-18s due to his social and media profiles.

“The B/CAP guidance classed footballers at lower league and non-league clubs as ‘low risk,’ but also stated footballers from outside the topflight could be of ‘moderate risk’ on the basis of their social and other media profiles,” the ASA said in its ruling.

Akinfenwa initially rose to fame through the FIFA series of video games, where he was highlighted by YouTuber-turned-boxer KSI for his in-game strength attribute.

“While we acknowledged BetUK’s view that Mr Akinfenwa’s clothing range, BeastModeOn, had broad appeal and was not targeted at children, we considered the manner in which he was portrayed in the media and by which he had marketed himself would have led some football fans to view him as a cult hero in the game,” the UK’s advertising watchdog said.

“We therefore considered that his media profile, alongside our view that he was unusually well known for a former lower league footballer, would have placed him in the ‘moderate risk’ category of the guidance.”

BetUK also argued that only eight percent of Akinfenwa’s followers on Instagram were under-18s and that the radio ad was played during a show which was likely to have an adult audience.

The operator added that 13% of his Snapchat followers were under 18.

The ASA, however, noted in its ruling that Akinfenwa therefore “had at least 157,000 followers who were under 18 years.”

The watchdog added that the true number was likely higher due to the unavailability of follower data for Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok.

“Although his career as a lower league footballer and his media profile in isolation would have placed him in the ‘moderate risk’ category, we considered that because he had such large numbers of social media followers who were under 18 years due to his career and profile, Mr Akinfenwa would be placed in the ‘high risk’ category and was likely to be of strong appeal to under-18s,” the ASA concluded.

Compliance Updates

eGaming Integrity Launches to Enhance Compliance for OGRA Licence Holders and CSPs

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We proudly announce the official launch of eGaming Integrity, a specialised compliance services provider exclusively dedicated to protecting OGRA licence holders and the CSPs that support them.

Our mission is to enable online gambling operators, and the CSPs that support them, with the tools they need to thrive in the Isle of Man, ensuring integrity, transparency, and adherence to industry standards.

The Isle of Man eGaming sector continues to grow at a rapid pace, with the number of OGRA licensees more than doubling in recent years. With the sector having grown so quickly, it has led to a shortage of highly qualified, well trained, and egaming experienced compliance and AML professionals locally. This skills shortage presents a significant challenge for online gambling operators licensed here.

With our team of industry experts and former regulators, eGaming Integrity enables businesses to remain compliant with the stringent regulatory requirements under the Isle of Man licence through our tailored services which include mock audits, remediation, and internal audits.

Speaking about the requirement for such services, Emma Shilling, eGaming Integrity director said “licensed online gambling operators and local Corporate Service Providers have been looking for a credible provider to offer specialist services beyond day-to-day compliance. We’ve already helped several CSPs navigate the sector in previous roles, where eGaming isn’t always the primary area of expertise so businesses have sought our experience and industry knowledge to help them service their clients more effectively.”

Fellow director, Nick Bowden added “our in-depth evaluations prepare operators for regulatory visits, remediation support to bring businesses back into good standing with the regulator, and independent assurance makes sure risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively.

eGaming Integrity are now working with a number of OGRA licence holders and local CSPs, providing customised compliance and regulatory advisory services that align with business objectives and operational intricacies.

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Australia

Australia Enforces Credit Card Ban for Online Gambling

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Australia has enforced an online gambling credit card ban, meaning that players can no longer use them as a payment method.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members have been strong supporters of this measure and have worked with the Commonwealth Government and the financial services industry since 2021 to deliver this credit card ban.

Responsible Wagering Australia CEO Kai Cantwell said that this change was much needed, as Australians should only be gambling with money that they have.

“This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” Mr Cantwell said.

“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members.

“RWA and its members support the extension of this measure to all forms of gambling that have been exempted from the ban such as lotteries and keno.

“If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm.”

RWA members provide a range of tools to ensure people can gamble safely, many of which have been adopted by the Commonwealth Government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).

“The NCPF is expected to be evaluated shortly and we look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protection tools are fit-for-purpose and support a safe and sustainable regulated gambling environment,” Mr Cantwell said.

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Compliance Updates

Ukraine Regulator KRAIL Blocks 371 Illegal Gambling Sites

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The Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) has announced that it has blocked 371 unlicensed gambling websites. It said joint action with the security service led to the issue of Order No. 451/2256, which instructs service providers to block the domains using Domain Name System (DNS) servers.

KRAIL said that during April and May it issued 1000 orders to limit access to domain names and subdomains.

While KRAIL remains operational, Ukraine’s parliament voted in April to disband the regulator. There had been criticism of the regulator’s collegial structure, which requires at least five of its six members to be present for meetings to be valid. Amid disruption caused by military service following the Russian invasion, this has often led to meetings being cancelled and long delays for licence applications.

There will be a second reading of the bill before it can be signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The liquidation of KRAIL would put gambling regulation under the digital transformation ministry until a new regulator is established.

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