IGBAffiliate has broached the topic of whether affiliates should go expensive registration and licensing process to provide information to consumers. Established industry leaders argue that this is the right way forward whereas smaller operations argue against it.
Gambling Licensing in GB and Should It Apply to Affiliates?In an article published on Wednesday, September 9 on IGBAffiliate’s website, two gambling industry experts discuss why licensing affiliate websites. Thomas Jones, an affiliate owner himself and founder of bingosites.co.uk, has argued against the idea, seeing in a way to restrict the market to only established companies who have already amassed a fortune from the iGaming industry.
Jones point of view is a direct reply to the Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) trade association which proffered the idea that a registration and licensing regime should be introduced for affiliates in Great Britain.
Yet the suggestion has driven a wedge in the community, as exemplified by Jones’ position. RAiG argues that introducing a registration process for affiliates would provide players with an additional peace of mind as well as raise safety standards in the industry.
However, RAiG, which is mostly represented by established companies in the industry, fails to note that this would restrict smaller affiliates that are only now starting out.
According to IGBAffiliate, companies such as Better Collective and Natural Intelligence have been able to afford licensing in the burgeoning market in the United States, but not many can whereas they can still provide worthwhile product.
Naturally, affiliates should be held accountable and they should seek to ensure a higher quality of product that does not mislead consumers. However, if previous attempt to overregulate are any indication, forcing affiliates out of the market could backfire.
The Case Against Overregulation AffiliatesThe objections outlined in the articles have been raised by RAiG members too, only in other context. For example, opponents of the idea argue that great affiliates may be at risk and forced out of the market should license and legal fees apply, skyrocketing the cost of running an affiliate operation significantly.
The upkeep cost of hosting a website, tweaking the design and populating it with quality content costs thousands of pounds annually. Another good argument against is that just because a website isn’t driving as much traffic, it doesn’t mean that it’s not already meeting the high standards set out by the regulator.
Avoid the Establishment of OligopolySecondly, a licensing process would make the Great Britain affiliate market far less competitive, giving clear advantage to companies and publishers that have been in the industry for decades, thus cementing their position and establishing a sort of oligopoly.
While household affiliate names have substantial resources, they still have to compete with some very good affiliate websites even today. Those same websites find creative ways to stay competitive and even cut into the rankings of the leading websites.
Ultimately, this is good for the consumer. There is another justification not to introduce licenses for affiliates, though. The UK Gambling Commission would be swamped with investigative work and worse, it may inadvertently discriminate against smaller websites, opening investigations more often into up-and-coming websites rather than established leaders.
Do Not Slam the Regulator with New ResponsibilitiesThirdly, the UK Gambling Commission is even now trying to keep up with lawmakers who are changing rules and laws too quickly. Given the current coronavirus lockdown, the commission has even been forced to consider redundancies as a hallmark of solidarity and financial safety net.
With laws quickly changing, the UKGC is somewhat struggling to keep up, fending off irate MPs left and right. Adding to its tasks would compromise the quality of the service and regulatory work it is already carrying out.