The UK gambling industry’s regulatory authority, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued a warning to industry operators over the promotion of Free-To-Play (FTP) games.
The authority has issued a clarification on the rules associated with FTP games that are promoted through affiliate sites, reminding operators of their responsibilities. The warning comes after the UKGC became aware that some operators were benefiting from a marketing model in which affiliates offer FTP versions of games that can be played for real money to attract customers.
Under recently introduced Licence Conditions and Codes of Practices (LCCP) rules, operators have to ensure that all customers have their ages verified before they are able to access gambling or betting content. In its update, the UKGC points out that LCCP provision 1.1.2 makes all licensees fully responsible for third party operators who they work with as part of their marketing strategy. This means that license holders are required to guarantee that the rules on age verification are followed by affiliates as well as by the licensed company itself.
In stressing the importance of this principle, the UKGC emphasise that third parties have to abide by the same rules as licensee companies and should:
“…conduct themselves in so far as they carry out activities on behalf of the licensee as if they were bound by the same licence conditions and subject to the same codes of practice as the licensee.”
There are some exemptions to the new provision, which will not apply in the case of marketing that revolves around screenshots or game videos, since these do not involve audience interaction. Age verification is also not a requirement for marketing to other business clients and commercial third parties. The UKGC conclude their warning by advising all operators to take immediate steps to ensure that FTP games operated by affiliates cannot be accessed by underage individuals.