Version 1.0 – July 2018
This guide sets out the standards required for all EnergyPartners Affiliates advertising to customers located in the United Kingdom.
It draws upon guidance regarding acceptable marketing and advertising techniques and procedures as provided by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
Because EnergyPartners promotes UK-licensed operators (EnergyCasino and EnergyBet), it is required to ensure that all third parties, including Affiliates, who promote and advertise any products on its behalf are fully compliant, and do so in a socially responsible way.
Laws, legislation and best practice is constantly evolving, so we strongly advise that all affiliates keep up-to-date by reading industry news regularly.
If, at any time, an affiliate is unsure as to whether something is acceptable or not, we ask that they contact their affiliate manage before taking action.
Key EnergyPartners Rules for UK Affiliates
- Organic search (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) traffic is allowed
- SMS, Email, Social, Native, Pop-Up, Pop-Under or any other kind of direct marketing is not allowed unless specifically approved by an affiliate manager
- Strictly no traffic from sites containing pornographic, obscene or illegal material
- Any spins offered as part of a promotion must be referred to as ‘EnergySpins’ not ‘Free Spins’
- Incentivised traffic is not allowed
- All sources and changes should be cleared with an affiliate manager before publishing
- All promoted bonuses must be individually activated or approved by an affiliate manager
Legislation and Regulatory Bodies
EnergyPartners Affiliates are required to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and industry best practices regarding online and offline marketing of online gambling sites. These include, but are not limited to:
- The UK Gambling Act 2005
- The License Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) issued by the UKGC
- The CAP Code and BCAP Code and guidance issued by the ASA
- The PECR Regulations issued by the ICO
- The IGRG Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising
By signing-up to EnergyPartners and undertaking any marketing activity on their behalf, Affiliates are committing to comply with all laws, regulations and industry best practices applicable to online and offline advertising and the marketing of online gambling sites and services, including but not limited to: complying with all EnergyPartners guidelines, maintaining the highest ethical standards at all times, and encompassing all elements set out in the Gambling Act 2005:
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime;
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way;
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
In the interests of ensuring efficient compliance, Affiliates are only authorised to use marketing materials that are either provided by EnergyPartners, or specifically approved by EnergyPartners’ Affiliate team.
Affiliates are not permitted to alter any aspect of the design, appearance or content of authorised marketing collateral unless they first acquire written permission from EnergyPartners. Affiliates should contact the EnergyPartners Affiliate team if they have any doubts, before engaging in any marketing activity.
All EnergyPartners Affiliates are contractually bound to adhere to all the obligations and requirements set out in this document, without exception. Any Affiliate failing to adhere to these obligations and requirements will received a formal warning and compliance advice requiring immediate action.
In cases of multiple or serious violations by an Affiliate, EnergyPartners reserves the right to terminate the account in question immediately, which result in the absolute termination of any business relationship and the withholding of any outstanding payments.
Complete EnergyPartners Affiliate Program Terms & Conditions can be viewed here.
THE UK GAMBLING COMMISSION (UKGC)
All advertising and marketing of gambling products in the UK must be carried out in a socially responsible way, in compliance with the advertising codes of practice issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP). Advertisers, including Affiliates, should also comply with the CAP ‘Guidance on the rules for gambling advertisements’, which contains parts specifically covering topics like ‘Misleadingness’ and ‘Free Bets’, and should also ensure they are aware and compliant with any future guidelines issued by the CAP or BCAP.
It is extremely important that absolutely no advertising or marketing communications include a child or young person, and that no one who is, or appears to be, under the age of 25 is portrayed gambling. The behaviour of anyone featured in any advertising or marketing communications must not be what could be considered to be adolescent, juvenile or loutish.
Placement of Digital Advertisements
EnergyPartners Affiliates must avoid placing digital adverts on websites that facilitate unauthorised access to copyrighted content, such as file sharing and unauthorised movie sharing sites. It is important that Affiliates take all necessary steps to avoid supporting any pirate type sites in order to avoid gambling being associated with criminal activity.
EnergyPartners Affiliates are not permitted to place adverts on any site containing pornographic, obscene or illegal content. TIP: If in doubt, it is best to ere on the side of caution and avoid a site.
Requirements for All Advertisements
- Every advert and marketing communication is required to state all significant qualifications and limitations, and qualifications must not contradict any claim on the advert.
- When adverts or communications are subject to unavoidable space or time limitations, they must nevertheless include as much information regarding significant terms as is realistically possible.
- All online adverts must provide consumers with a clear source for the full terms and conditions of the relevant promotion, and this must require no more than one click away if providing the information on the advert itself is not possible.
- Caution must be exercised when using the word “Free” in any advert (Free Spins etc). If it is used, then the significant terms and qualifications that a customer must meet to take advantage need to be stated in the advert itself.
- Advertising and marketing of any sort is strictly forbidden from appearing on any primary web page or screen, or microsite that provides information or advice on responsible gaming.
EnergyPartners Affiliates must not, under any circumstances, undertake promotional activities which:
- Promote any guarantee of winnings,
- Glamourise gambling activities, or
- Provide any other form of encouragement that could unfairly influence an individual to use the services promoted by EnergyPartners, or
- Target any websites which minors are likely to frequent.
UK Gambling Commission Rules and Regulations
Useful information and advice can be found on the official UKGC website, and a copy of the License Conditions and Codes of Practice is available to download here.
ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY (ASA)
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority is the body responsible for providing guidance for all advertising in the UK, including that of the gambling industry. It also receives, investigates and acts on complaints about misleading, offensive, inappropriate, wrong and illegal advertising.
Affiliates, especially those used to marketing in non-UK markets, should not underestimate the power and reach of the ASA. The ASA is very pro-active and will even act on single complaints against companies and organisations of any size.
Social Responsibility and Harm
All advertisements and marketing communications promoting gambling must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm nor condone or encourage criminal or anti-social behaviour; they must be socially responsible.
- This means that advertisers are required to protect children, young people and other vulnerable members of society from being harmed or exploited.
- EnergyPartners requires all Affiliates to play their part in protecting these vulnerable groups.
Gambling advertising cannot capitalise on or exploit the likely traits, susceptibilities, credulity, inexperience, lack of knowledge or aspirations of children, young people or vulnerable people, and must not be likely to be of particular appeal to such groups. No person who is, or appears to be, under the age of 25 is allowed to be portrayed in a gambling advertisement.
TIP: we appreciate it can be difficult to determine whether something is likely to appeal to children or young people (for example, when games are based on animated characters that are also appreciated by adults). In these cases it is best to contact your affiliate manager first.
Gambling advertisements are strictly prohibited from linking gambling with seduction, sexual success, enhanced attractiveness or personal qualities. Again, this is a rather ambiguous requirement, but in a nutshell it means that whilst you can of course feature attractive people (after all, ‘attractive’ is a relative term) in an advert but, as a whole, it must not link gambling with seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. Gambling must never be portrayed as enhancing attractiveness, self-image or self-esteem. For example, an advert in which a person or character is admired by others, as a result of their gambling, is not acceptable.
Problem gambling behaviour. To comply with Social Responsibility rules, under no circumstances can it be suggested or implied that gambling is a way to tackle debt or financial issues. Likewise, gambling cannot be portrayed as an alternative to employment. All forms of marketing material must not suggest that gambling can provide an escape from personal, professional or educational problems such as loneliness or depression; they must not portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life; for example, over family, friends or professional or educational commitments; they must not suggest peer pressure to gamble nor disparage abstention; they must not suggest gambling as a rite of passage. Of course, it is fine to portray gambling as being important and interesting to people, but it must not be to the exclusion or detriment of other aspects of life.
Never suggest or imply that gambling can be a ‘business’, ‘job’ or way to earn a living.
Misleading communications. All marketing communications and advertisements are required to clearly include all significant limitations and qualifications. Such information must be as clear, legible and comprehensive as practicable considering any time or space limitations. All online advertisements are required to direct consumers to a source containing the full terms and conditions, and it must be no more than one click from the advert.
Examples of ‘Significant limitations and qualifications’:
- Entry requirements and directions, including costs, factors or conditions that are probably going to influence a person’s understanding of the promotion.
- Free ways to participate, if applicable.
- Start and end dates, if applicable.
- Significant exclusions and availability restrictions (for example, if a promo is only available on certain products or sections, plus geographical, age and date restrictions).
- Proof of purchase requirements, if applicable.
- Details of prizes or giveaways, including the number (or estimate if undetermined).
- Name and address of promotor if not already obvious.
EnergyPartners affiliates should always avoid creating marketing campaigns that could affect vulnerable people and cause adverse effects. Again, this is a very vague and broad requirement, open to interpretation, and as such the ASA looks at marketing communications case-by-case. Because of this it is important to ere on the side of caution, be thoroughly aware of all guidance, and appreciate that some specific marketing approaches may have a particular impact on problem gamblers and those with a high risk of developing a problem.
Affiliates should familiarise themselves with GambleAware’s definition of problem gambling:
- “behaviour related to gambling which causes harm to the gambler and those around them. This may include family, friends and others who know them or care for them.
- If someone is struggling to control their gambling behaviour it can cause stress, depression, anxiety, or they may fall behind at work and worry about money. If someone’s gambling is causing any of these effects, it is considered problem gambling.”
However, affiliates should also understand that the ASA will take a much broader view when considering vulnerability. For example, statistics illustrate that males ages 18-34 have a higher than normal risk of becoming problem gamblers, so they may consider this when looking into complaints. Likewise, the ASA will consider other demographics, like groups of people who could be disproportionately overrepresented in a targeted audience, who may be subject to certain economic conditions, the ability to understand information and mental health factors.
Flawed or misleading perceptions of risk and control
EnergyPartners affiliates must ensure that they do not give or encourage misleading perceptions regarding risk and control in their marketing communications. Basically, this means that information should not state or imply that a gambler has more control over a bet, or less risk, than they actually do.
Using unrepresentative examples, skewed data, or overly emphasising the control given by specific facilities like ‘cash-out’, for example, should be avoided. Failure to follow this guidance is likely to result in marketing communications that encourage socially irresponsible gambling, leading to financial, social or emotional harm, in violation of ASA rules.
Impulsiveness and urgency
Marketing communications cannot unduly pressure the audience to gamble, especially with regards to significant time limitations.
When an offer or promotion is subject to a significant time limit, for example short term expiry date, it must not be presented in a way that unduly emphasises a sense of urgency. Particular note should be paid to calls to action, like ‘Bet Now’, ‘Deposit Now’ or ‘Enter Now’, or more imaginative CTAs centred around time running out – anything that could be perceived as pressuring consumers to act, is likely to be found to breach ASA rules.
It is most likely acceptable to remind consumers that offers are subject to time-limitations, but great care should be taken regarding wording and imagery.
TIP: keep up-to-date with industry news, and previous rulings (available on the ASA site here), to gauge what kind of tone and wording is acceptable.
Great care should be taken to avoid portraying gambling as something to be done lightly, without much thought or consideration. Consumers should not be encouraged to gamble repeatedly or frequently, to gamble more than they would normally be inclined to do, or to spend more than they can afford to lose. Affiliates should always be careful when encouraging people to use promotions and open accounts.
Problem gambling behaviour and other indicators
Affiliates should not create any marketing material that portrays people or characters who display any problem gambling behaviour, or other linked indicators. Illustrative examples are: losing track of time while playing/playing for a long time, chasing losses, a preoccupation with gambling, being distracted by gambling, moodiness due to gambling, dishonest behaviour, secrecy, and ditching other things to enable gambling.
Official ASA Guidance and Codes
It is highly recommended that EnergyPartners affiliates familiarise themselves with the official guidance provided by the ASA. The following links can be referred to:
- CAP Code
- CAP Code Gambling Section
- ASA Help Section on Gambling
- Guidance on Advertising and Social Responsibility
- Promotional marketing: Significant Terms and Conditions
- Promotional marketing: General
- Advertising Guidance – guidance on the use of ‘free’
- Betting and gaming: Free Bets
- Advertising of Free Bets and Bonuses
INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS OFFICE (ICO)
Electronic marketing messages are covered by the ICO’s PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations), which contain specific rules for emails, SMS (texts), calls and faxes. In particular, Regulation 22 stipulates that electronic marketing communications may only be sent to individuals who:
- Have specifically consented to receive such communications (opted-in)
- Are existing customers who bought (or negotiated to buy), a similar product or service in the past, have been provided with a clear and easy way to opt-out both when their details were first collected, and in every message subsequently delivered to them. All electronic marketing communications are required to include a valid contact address, so that consumers can opt-out/unsubscribe. ‘Electronic communications’ covers emails, SMS (texts), picture/video messages, voicemail messages, direct messages delivered via social media services, and any other message that is stored/delivered electronically.
Things to keep in mind:
- Any marketing database used must have been compiled and obtained legally, with relevant records of clear and specific consent for the data to be used to market to the individuals.
- Self-excluded customers should be removed from databases immediately; in view of this, marketing mailing lists are to be updated immediately prior to the launch of any promotion, campaign or routine mail shot.
- Opted-out customers should be removed from databases immediately.
- All marketing material needs to be identified as such, clearly, with details of the marketer clearly provided (‘marketer’ is the affiliate).
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
In May 2018, sweeping new regulations came into effect across the EU, in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These effects anyone using information about EU nations and doing business in the EU.
At a glance, to comply with GDPR, affiliates must:
- Give individuals genuine choice and control regarding opt-ins and opt-outs.
- Use positive opt-ins, rather than pre-ticked boxes or other kinds of default consent.
- Provide crystal clear, specific statements of consent.
- Make sure their consent requests are distinctly separate from other T&Cs.
- Get separate, distinct consent for separate things, and avoid vague or blanket consent.
- Always be clear and concise.
- Specify and third-party controllers who will be using the consent.
- Provide a clear, easy way for people to withdraw consent.
- Maintain evidence of consent (who, when, how, and what was communicated).
- Constantly review consent and refresh as needed.
- Not make providing consent to processing a required precondition of service.
- Not penalise individuals who withdraw consent.
Note: GDPR is European Union legislation. Affiliates should monitor news and make any changes required if and when the UK leaves the European Union (scheduled for March 2019), as UK law may differ thereafter.