In the latest SMP Snack, SMP eGaming Senior Regulatory Compliance Officer Tom Collister offers expert insight on how affiliates can design an advertising compliance policy which operators will value.

We’ve talked before about why it’s important to design compliance procedures operators will value, now we want to look at one example of how to do it.

As with any operational area, an advertising compliance policy is a useful tool that offers a level of control for employees and companies, with specific guidelines to follow and be aware of. Although not a legal requirement, it is certainly best practice and should outline the requirements of the relevant regulators and the steps taken to meet them.

Operators want to see that you are aware of the relevant advertising rules and regulations. As much as you are working independently and although you may be working for several operators, you are essentially acting as part of the operator’s own marketing department and therefore have a responsibility to understand the requirements imposed on them by the regulator and be aware of the consequences of non-compliance.

As covered earlier in the series, operators are held accountable for breaches of regulations by affiliates, so an advertising compliance policy is key in demonstrating that you are a responsible, compliant partner. You should work closely with the operator to tailor your policy to their needs; they may have specific requests in relation to advert placement and so on.

When it comes to designing an effective policy, the logical first step is to gain an understanding of the requirements of the regulators in your target jurisdictions. In the UK, for example, affiliates need to be aware of the codes and practices put in place by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the UK Gambling Commission.

How you comply with these requirements should be well documented within the policy. If we look at the ASA’s Advertising Codes, for instance, these are designed to ensure that marketing communications for gambling products are socially responsible i.e. safeguard players from misleading offers and promotions and protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed.

Ensuring adverts aren’t sent to or targeted towards under 18s and appropriate advertisement placement should be key aspects of your policy. Common things to avoid are adult sites, illegal streaming sites, pop-up campaigns, or any websites that young people may use. As detailed in a previous article, it’s also imperative that you understand your data protection obligations and consider the means and method of communicating with your contact base, ensuring that you won’t be in breach of rules and regulations such as the GDPR.

Consider the use of resources such as the CAP Copy Advice service. Their expert team offers free advice on the likely acceptability of your marketing communications, which is a great tool for affiliates needing that extra bit of specialist support.

There should also be approval processes included within the policy by way of ‘sign-off’ and ‘version control’. It is good practice to formulate a final pre-publication checklist to be completed before any advertisements or promotional materials are either placed or issued. By having this added security measure in place, it is less likely an advert will end up causing harm or complaint.  

If these pointers on designing an advertising compliance policy were helpful, keep an eye out for next week’s article in which we will look at the steps involved in successful implementation.