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Affiliates Affected by UK Government’s White Paper


The white paper finally hit three weeks ago, and it signals a sea-change in UK gambling legislation, empowering the Gambling Commission to act more swiftly and introducing affordability checks, new rules for bonuses, advertising, a statutory levy, online slot stakes and more, but what do these changes mean for affiliates? Let’s take a look.

The government’s white paper has announced that the Gambling Commission is leading the consultations to develop the finer details of the new regulations. Some new measures will affect wagering requirements, time limits, marketing communications and slot stake limits (including lower limits for younger players).

Wagering Requirements

Affiliates have long been interested in recommending the best bonuses to players. Responsible affiliates often explain how the wagering requirements and other significant terms work for each type of casino deal. Some affiliate sites, like, are built around zero wagering bonuses and online casinos, as these sites offer fair bonuses that do not encourage excessive gambling.

The publication of the white paper has firmly placed wagering requirements and other bonus terms under the spotlight. The paper explains that the Gambling Commission will work to “review the design and targeting of incentives such as free bets and bonuses to ensure there are clear rules and fair limits on re-wagering requirements and time limits so they do not encourage excessive or harmful gambling.”

With both wagering requirements and time limits – the killer combination for responsible gambling – firmly targeted, affiliates will have to get on board, ensuring their language is clear and keeps to the new CAP rules (risk-free terminology is under the hammer), correctly represents free bonuses and free spins and is up to date with ongoing changes.

Slot stake limits

The white paper includes new rules for slot stakes, suggesting limits between £2 and £15 per spin, with even lower limits for 18-24 year-olds. This will affect the whole UK casino industry. Slots are currently the most revenue-generating casino game in the UK, and limiting the price per spin will affect revenue, potentially making the UK market less attractive to both online slot sites and affiliates.

The slot stake limits follow a recent roll call of new regulations regarding slot game design, which has already seen the limiting of slot spin speeds and autoplay and feature buy. The white paper sets forth the Commission’s role to continue its review of other game design elements, so affiliates, operators and suppliers can expect more changes ahead.

Will affiliates require a license?

Affiliate licensing was not introduced in the final white paper, as the government felt unconvinced of the arguments made in its favour. In the new regulatory regime, operators continue to be responsible for affiliates, and affiliates must comply with the industry requirements, which include adding gamble aware and 18+ info to all adverts and using ‘please gamble responsibly’ wording, and ensuring correct wagering requirements and T&Cs are also added.

Affiliates don’t currently require a license and are not regulated directly by the Gambling Commission. However, they must adhere to the ASA’s advertising regulations and their CAP and BCAP codes.

The idea of licenses for affiliates is not opposed by most in the industry. Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG) and other affiliate industry leaders have said they support the idea in principle. Without a formal licensing regime, operators must ask for higher standards from affiliates, especially regarding marketing and advertising.

With multiple new changes affecting players, affiliates will also want to ensure they are up to date with any new regulations so they can add appropriate guidance for players and create content that meets user intent.

The affiliate industry will continue to be invested in player safety

The affiliate industry is strongly invested in player safety. As the intermediate between the gambling product and the player, affiliate sites often fill the role of mediator and educator, especially in the area of player safety, where they publish information on responsible gambling practices and tools. At most affiliate sites, players can find a responsible gambling section informing them of how to gamble responsibly, spot legal UK casinos, and use safer gambling tools.

One example of how affiliates serve responsible gambling is the rise of no wagering affiliates, like Sites like this highlighted concerns regarding wagering requirements early on, putting responsible gambling first and only recommending no wagering casinos. It’s clear from the attention of the White Paper and the Gambling Commission that wagering requirements and short bonus time limits are catalysts for irresponsible gambling.

What’s the overall picture?

With many areas of the White Paper left up to the Gambling Commission consultations, affiliates need to stay on top of all the latest regulations, ensuring they comply to ensure the long-term success of their affiliate-operator relationships and provide the best guidance to players. Moreover, as the white paper has empowered the Commission to act more swiftly regarding compliance issues, operators are expected to ask more of affiliates in the future as industry-wide regulations tighten.

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