Sky Betting & Gaming’s (SB&G) decision to withdraw from all affiliate activity could set in motion a series of similar moves in the gaming affiliate industry, according to a number of legal experts talking to TotallyGaming.com (TG).
Last week, citing a change of regulatory requirements, SB&G announced that it would be ceasing affiliate activity entirely by October 2, following an investigation into misleading advice by affiliate tipsters in order to gain large amounts of commission on losing bets.
Speaking to TG, Dr. Joerg Hofmann of German legal firm Melchers Rechtsanwaelte, a member of International Masters of Gaming Law, believes betting and gaming operators could follow suit as a consequence.
“The industry has been ignoring liability risks arising in the context of affiliate marketing for too long and will have to wake up," said Hofmann.
According to the report, thus far operators have been “ignoring” liability risks in the context of affiliate marketing, with Hofmann advising they take a “close look at their partners and policies in place” in order to avoid risk to their company.
SB&G didn’t dress this fact up when announcing its withdrawal: “As you will be aware, the regulatory landscape in which the industry operates is developing and maturing and operators are experiencing increased obligations regarding their regulatory responsibilities and level of compliance,” read the statement.
The operator added that in order to continue to operate in a “compliant manner”, its affiliate activity was “no longer viable”, instead presenting a “significant risk to its business from a regulatory perspective”.
TG also cited the opinion of UK legal consultancy, Clifton Davies’, David Clifton, who called SB&G’s programme closure an “unfortunate but inevitable” consequence of the combined regulatory requirements of data protection legislation, advertising rules and Gambling Commission LCCP demands, “namely that gambling operators must take responsibility for the misdemeanours of their affiliates”.
While TG suggests that the gaming affiliate industry could be at “tipping point” pending the closing of another operator’s affiliate programme, it also notes that other sites may be more reliant on third-party affiliate traffic than SB&G, owed to its ownership of major affiliate Oddschecker.com.