The Gambling Commission has released a statement in order to clarify free-to-play games offered by gambling affiliates. The LCCP made changes back in May regarding age verification. The amendments require remote licensees to verify the age of a customer before the individual is allowed to access the free-to-play games.
Reportedly, licensees may be benefiting from affiliate advertising models that offer free-to-play versions of their real money titles on their websites, without verifying the age of the user.
In the LCCP Social responsibility code provision 1.1.2, it reads that licensees are responsible for the actions of third parties that they contract for the provision of any aspect of their business related to licensed activities. The license holder must ensure that the third party conducts themselves by carrying out activities as if they were bound to the same license conditions as the license holder. They must also follow the same codes of practice that the licensee must follow.
License holders are now being told by the Gambling Commission to ensure that the new provisions on the free-to-play games are being applied by affiliates that they work with. This could include making amendments to the advertising methods being used.
The new requirements are not associated with other advertising formats such as videos of games or screenshots of titles that may be offered via affiliate websites. This is because such content do not allow the customer to interact with the game.
License holders are being told by the commission to take immediate steps to ensure that the games offered as free-to-play are not being access by children or young people from the affiliate websites.
The age verification changes were made by the LCCP after a publication revealed findings of an investigation conducted by the regulator. The investigation found that consumer protection laws were reportedly breached. Online gaming operators must now verify the age of the customer, ensuring they are at least 18, before allowing the individual to deposit funds, access free-to-play games or gamble with real money or bonus funds.