HomeInsightsOperators issued reminder of need to monitor where digital adverts are placed

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The Commission has, today, reminded operators of their responsibility to ensure that their digital adverts, and those of their third-party marketing affiliates, are not placed on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

Licence Condition 16.1.1* came into effect on 31 October 2016 and introduced an absolute requirement on operators to ensure that they do not, themselves, place digital advertisements on websites that provide unauthorised access to copyrighted content. This measure imposes a requirement for licensed gambling operators to include a termination provision in their contracts with third parties who accept or place advertisements on their behalf.

This condition came into force following the Commission’s concerns about gambling advertising appearing on pirate websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content. Research was conducted which found that advertising for gambling products featured disproportionately heavily on such websites causing the Commission to intervene. The Commission concluded that those gambling operators supporting these illegal websites (be it direct or via third parties), by placing their advertisements on them were, in the Commission’s view, effectively funding crime, and clearly in direct conflict with the first licensing objective[1] under the Gambling Act 2005.

Since the introduction of Licence Condition 16.1.1, the Commission has “seen a significant reduction in gambling adverts appearing on copyright infringing websites”; however, they are of the view that this has not been eradicated and that a number of gambling adverts continue to appear on these illegal websites. Therefore, the Commission has explained the need for gambling operators to introduce additional controls and to continually review the monitoring methods they have in place. To date, the Commission has not specified any particular actions that licensees should implement to prevent this; however, the Commission is clear about the work it expects its licensees to be conducting.

Licensees are advised to continue to include robust termination provisions in its agreements with third parties in the event that digital advertisements for the licensed activities are placed on illegal websites, and to proactively use the Infringing Website List (“IWL”). IWL is an online portal containing an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites and allows an operator to exclude known illegal sites from advertising its products. Once registered, gambling operators are reminded that they must proactively monitor the IWL on a regular basis to ensure advertising is not being placed irresponsibly.

Further information can be found here.

Licence Condition 16.1.1 – Responsible placement of digital adverts

 Licencees must: 

  1. Ensure that they do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content;
  2. take all reasonable steps to ensure that third parties with whom they contract for the provision of any aspect of their business related to the licensed activities do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content; and
  3. ensure that the terms upon which they contract with such third parties enable them, subject to compliance with any dispute resolution provisions, to terminate the third party’s contract promptly if, in the Licensee’s reasonable opinion, the third party has been responsible for placing digital advertisements for the licensed activities on such websites.

[1] Objective 1: Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime.