Hawkswood seeks more members for new affiliates body

20 May 2019

Former Remote Gambling Association (RGA) chief executive Clive Hawkswood is seeking new members for Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAIG) after being appointed as the chairman of the new trade association, which has been established by Better Collective, Oddschecker and Racing Post.

The body will aim to encourage operators and their affiliate partners to adopt responsible marketing of gambling products and a “safer gambling environment for consumers”.

Each member of RAIG will be subject to an annual social responsibility audit, conducted by compliance specialist Gambling Integrity, with audits of the association’s three founding members taking place in June. Associate membership fees of £5,000 in the first year will include the cost of the audit, Hawkswood told iGamingBusiness.com today (May 20).

The audit is designed to ensure compliance with a range of existing statutory and non-statutory regulations, including the UK Code of non-broadcast Advertising and Direct and Promotional Marketing, known as the ‘CAP’ code; the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, known as the ‘BCAP’ code; and the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

Other guidance issued by regulators such as the Advertising Standards Authority, the Gambling Commission and Information Commissioners’ Office on affiliate marketing requirements will also be taken into consideration, as well as any additional measures that could be adopted over time.

The findings of the audit will only be shared with the company concerned and Hawkswood, who added that he is hopeful that membership fees will reduce in the future.

“We don’t want the fee to be a barrier to entry,” he told iGamingBusiness.com. “For the association to have more credibility, obviously it needs more members and it would be good to have not just the biggest guys.”

Hawkswood’s fellow directors at RAIG will include Better Collective’s head of business development Karl Pugh, Oddschecker head of commercial Guy Harding and Racing Post digital director Cian Nugent.

The four-person board will remain unchanged for the first 12 months as the association speaks with a range of industry stakeholders – including policy-makers and organisations that focus on reducing problem gambling – to establish a future work programme, Hawkswood said.

After the first year, the board structure will open up to new additions.

“Part of that is due to the fact that the co-founders are the ones who have provided the set-up costs,” Hawkswood added. “In the first year we need to discuss the issues raised, look at what the priorities will be, and also be open about what we can do and what we can’t do.

“Now the structure is in place and it’s out in the open, we can have proper conversations. We want interested parties to provide input even if they don’t ultimately join and that will be the focus for the next few months.

“We want to find out what stakeholders’ priorities are in this area and we want to be transparent about what we can work on and what we can’t work on.”

Whilst the association is seeking the input of various stakeholders, full and associate memberships will be restricted to affiliates.

Hawkswood stepped down from the helm of the RGA at the end of January. He had previously served as secretary general of the Association of Remote Gambling Operators for a year, before it merged with the Interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association in 2005 to form the RGA.

Hawkswood, who has also served on the boards of GambleAware, Gamstop, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling and the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group, told iGamingBusiness.com ahead of his departure from the RGA that the industry’s reputation was “at rock bottom”, but added that social responsibility measures could improve public perception.

Sarah Ramanauskas, Senior Partner at Gambling Integrity added: “The RAIG’s focus on raising standards, together with its objective of providing a safer environment for players, is an important and timely initiative.”