AffiliateFEST Session Summary: Compliance is “a good thing”

Compliance was one of the hot topics at last week’s massively successful AffiliateFEST event, with the overarching view from panelists being that it can in fact be a positive thing for the sector.

On a panel entitled ‘Panel Discussion: Regulatory Update – What is the affiliate opportunity?’, industry figures assessed what affiliates need to do to become more stringent in terms of their business models and marketing operations.

John Hagan, a partner at prestigious London-based gambling law firm Harris Hagan, claimed that a compliance focus is long overdue.

“As I explained, I’m a gambling regulatory lawyer, and we have a client in compliance that says “everything’s okay until it isn’t”, and a focus on the gambling sector and affiliates has been overdue and is a good thing,” he insisted.

“It’s not a bad thing to be focusing on compliant advertising by affiliates, socially responsible advertising by affiliates, not misleading consumers by failing to make them aware of significant terms, enabling informed choice, and the focus on all of these matters is all essential for the long-term sustainability of the industry. It will create an environment in which reputable affiliates will be able to thrive in the future.”

Fellow panelist Jade Zorab, Head of Corporate Development at SMP Partners, chimed in with the view that it all boils down to responsibility, while also arguing that the affiliate industry is often given too much of a rough ride.

“It’s really difficult, because as an industry we all need to be responsible,” she began. “Whether we are the operator or the affiliate, it’s really important that there’s a shared knowledge and understanding that the operator takes the initiative to educate the affiliate sector on their responsibilities and what their requirements are.”      

Meanwhile third and final speaker Nick Nocton, a partner at gambling advisory firm Mischon de Reya LLP, offered some words of advice on how to be compliant.

“The best way to assist with a potential sale is to ensure that your systems can demonstrate compliance with the key obligations that you have, and that you have people internally who are cognisant of what you should be doing and should have been doing,” he expressed.

“Whether that’s the regulations that are applied directly to your business – say GDPR – or those that apply indirectly through your relationships with your operators – like the LCCP (licence conditions and codes of practice) for the UK or any other regulatory obligations that you may have.

“So, it helps to put some resources into it from an early stage. You’ve got to dedicate some time to getting your head around these obligations, as otherwise you’ll find either that you’re cut off by the operators on whom you rely, or you fail to adapt as you grow.”      

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