bet365’s Urge for Regulatory Compliance Wreaks Havoc and Multiple Gambling Affiliate Account Suspensions

After multiple instances of online gambling operators and their affiliates failing to promote iGaming services to players in a manner compliant with the rules set out by the UK Gambling Commission, the regulatory body has warned all its licensees that heavy sanctions await all those who do not stick to the rules.

With the commission putting greater pressure on iGaming operators, said operators have, in turn, begun putting greater pressure on their affiliates over the past several weeks. Regulatory compliance is a must in order for iGaming operations to be provided in a legal manner and in a well-regulated environment. However, the increased pressure and the fact that regulatory oversight has intensified in a very short period of time have wreaked a considerable amount of havoc in both the overall iGaming space and the iGaming affiliate space, in particular.

There have been two types of developments following the announcement that the UK Gambling Commission will toughen its stance towards the way iGaming services are provided and promoted to players from around the nation.

There have been operators that have decided to scrap their affiliate programs completely. It was in early September when it became clear that Sky Betting & Gaming would close its Affiliate Hub affiliate program for good, citing growing regulatory concerns for its decision. Thus, the company practically terminated lifetime contracts and deprived long-time affiliate partners of revenue generated by players they had themselves referred to the operator.

Other iGaming companies urged their affiliates to compel compliance with regulations and informed them that the lack of compliance would be sanctioned heavily.

bet365, one of the largest and best recognized brands in the iGaming space, was the latest to urge compliance from its affiliate partners. And while it is understandable that the operator is trying to avoid scolding from the UK Gambling Commission and even worse, heavy fines for failing to warn and prevent its partners against violating the regulator’s codes and principles, the way bet365 requested compliance from affiliates actually caused massive confusion and resulted in multiple accounts being suspended.

How Did bet365 Urge Compliance from Its Partners?

On September 26, 2017, bet365 affiliates were informed via email that they had to remove the UK Opening Account Offer promotion from all their websites as the operator has been working on a new promotion, one fully compliant with codes and principles laid out by the UK Gambling Commission. Affiliates had to remove the promotional material by noon on September 29.

In addition, they had to first confirm that they have been informed about the upcoming changes via email and then send a second email to confirm that they have removed material in any way representing bet365’s old UK Opening Account Offer. As mentioned above, they had to do that by noon on September 29.

The gambling operator also pointed out that all its partners who have missed the deadline would have their accounts suspended and would have their commissions changed to 0% for the suspension period.

What Went Wrong?

In the first place, bet365 gave its affiliates a very short period of time to act. However, that was not the biggest issue. Multiple affiliates have used the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association’s forum to complain about having their accounts suspended, even though they have managed to send the necessary confirmations. Their accounts remained suspended for days and they had to wait for days for any information about what was actually happening.

Requiring compliance from one’s own partners is an understandable move at a time of severe regulatory pressure. However, when you urge your affiliates to compel compliance within a set period of time, and a very short one, you should, too, be able to act just as quickly and to remove any doubts and misunderstandings.

It is also important to note that with their accounts being suspended, a number of affiliates were not able to withdraw their commissions for the previous month, which further complicated the whole situation for all involved parties.

Communication and quick response to inquiries is an important element for the successful business relationship between iGaming affiliate programs and their affiliates. And we have witnessed one more instance of how miscommunication and slow communication have resulted in a wave of complaints and doubts cast.

How Did bet365 React to the Wave of Complaints?

Here it is important to note that bet365’s recent actions indeed caused great havoc and inconvenience for many of its affiliates, but the operator actually and eventually reacted to the complaints.

The operator announced that it would not reduce the commissions to 0% for the suspension period for most of the affected affiliates and promised that it would look into the matter in as quick manner as possible. There are affiliates to have had their accounts restored. However, there are still affiliates that are yet to have their accounts restored or have had their accounts restored only to have them closed again.

The latest update on the ongoing situation came from bet365 Affiliates on Thursday, October 5. The affiliate program urged all its affiliates to confirm compliance with regulatory requirements, no matter what markets they are targeting. Partners will have up to October 20 to fulfill the requirements posed or they will have their accounts closed and subjected to review. They will also not be able to withdraw their commissions during the period of suspension.

The operator also warned all its affiliates that they will be subjected to the same fines and penalties, irrespective of the scale of their business. bet365 further pointed out that its partners should be fully compliant with the laws and regulations in all the countries they are targeting players and promoting the company’s services.

It is true that affiliates now have more time to act. However, it is yet to be seen whether the new regulatory compliance request will cause further stir and inconvenience for the affected parties or will hopefully be carried out relatively smoothly.

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