UKGC Addresses Operators and the Public Explaining the Matter of Free-to-Play Games

Two months after the LLCP changes came into force, some still cannot understand some matters regarding the free-to-play games.

Therefore, the UK Gambling Commission has decided to address those matters, by publishing a statement a few days ago, with the aim to clarify all the things both the operators and the public must know about free-to-play games.

The Free-to-Play Games Matter

Concerned about the fact that free-to-play games were still being available through gambling operators’ affiliates, some members of the public have turned to the UK Gambling Commission. The regulator, as always prompt with responses, has published an explanation that both the operators and the public could use. The Commission explicitly stated that has been made aware that online casino and betting operators have been benefiting from the advertising models as used by their affiliates which offered free-to-play real money versions of games on their websites without verifying players’ age.

The UKGC explained that the changes in the LCCP on age verification that came into force on the 7th of May meant that remote operators from now on must ensure that they have verified the players’ age before the players can access its free-to-play games. In fact, the Social Responsibility Code 1.1.2. stated that operators were responsible for the actions of third parties with whom they have contracts for the provision of any aspect of the operator’s business related to the licensed activities. The regulator also reminded the operators that they must require the third party, in this case, their affiliates, to conduct themselves as they carry out activities on behalf of the operator as if they were bound by the same gambling license conditions and subject to the same practice codes as the operator itself. The Commission directly addressed operators and affiliates to take steps immediately to ensure that their free-to-play games could not be accessed by young people via the affiliates’ websites.

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Final Warning

The UK Gambling Commission continued warning operators to ensure that the new LCCP provisions on free-to-play games were applied to the affiliates they hire to do the job, even if it meant amending advertising methods. The new requirements do not apply to other forms of advertising such as videos of games or screenshots, the Commission explained, which might be available on the affiliate’s websites because these kinds of ads do not allow direct interaction with the player.

In this cases, the Commission said, there were existing marketing and advertising rules they need to follow, and the Remote Technical Standards 6A paragraph d. The regulator emphasizes, though, that these requirements did not apply for B2B suppliers who were strictly offering only demo versions of their games in order to present them to commercial third parties rather than players, and eventually sell them. Those who needed a more detailed overview of the existing regulation could take a look of the Remote Technical Support 6A paragraph d, as the Commission said.

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