The popularity of online casinos is at an all-time high. From the time the industry emerged in the 1990s, it has grown rapidly, year after year. Online gamblers are drawn to their sites, primarily as a result of online mass marketing efforts and affiliate marketing programs.
It is a multi-billion dollar industry today. With the existence of the internet, there is a wealth of marketing in place. Many of the casino owners recognize the effectiveness of affiliate marketing. As a result of this, much of its advertising is done through its affiliates. It is not a new or unusual business practice. In fact, it is commonly used in many industries.
Recently however, many complaints were received from the public. The complaints are aimed at the affiliate marketing methods, and address a failure on the part of the affiliates to follow the rules of unsolicited marketing. In total, over 6,500 complaints were received, involving 902 websites. The United Kingdom has had the matter under investigation as to the legitimacy of these complaints.
Canada Online Casino Affiliates
Online casinos and internet gambling are legal in many European countries, including the United Kingdom, as well as in some parts of Canada, and more. Following an announcement made by the United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office, Canada chose to join in on the investigation. This comes after learning that many affiliates did not abide by the regulatory rules pertaining to privacy and unsolicited communications. The United States, the Netherlands, and Malta had also joined in on this international investigation, conducted by the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network and other agencies.
Based on the results of its findings, a total of 221 websites will be further investigated. It was concluded that the affiliate website owners posted inaccurate information in their advertising. Information provided on these websites in the form of marketing and advertising the casinos, was also misleading to the consumer.
Other problems were cited as well. These include lack of consent, failure to abide by regulations, a lack of self-regulation, and that they failed to disclose their location of origin. It should be noted, however, that many of the websites in question were cleared of any wrong doings. As a result of the investigation, many online casino owners took actions of their own. Affiliate partner activities in the United Kingdom were closed down by many of the casino owners.
UK Gambling Commission Brings Fines
Two online casinos in particular, 888 Holdings and Paddy Power Betfair, went as far as to discontinue their relationships with any of their affiliates doing business in the UK. Previously, 888 Holdings had received a multi-million dollar fine, imposed upon them by the UK Gambling Commission, for wrong doing, that is by their failure to protect their customers. To date, it is the largest fine ever issued by the Gambling Commission, to an online casino.