RAIG releases details of social responsibility audit for members

26 November 2019

Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG), the new trade association formed by Better Collective, Oddschecker and Racing Post, has published details of its social responsibility audit with the aim of showing that its members are compliant with relevant UK regulatory requirements.

The framework for the audit will include an interview with management at each member or potential member, covering key issues such as their approach to compliance and direct marketing. A review of the internal policies and procedures related to the promotion of licensed products will also be carried out.

RAiG will also carry out a random spot-check of a minimum of 100 pages of the products for marketing regulatory compliance, with all members required to provide a list of the products its controls that target the UK market.

Other processes will include a random spot-check of a minimum of 10 examples of direct marketing and a random spot-check of up to 10 of the member's social media accounts.

The auditor will then analyse the findings and categorise any recommendations into three sections: suggested improvements, urgent improvements and serious failings.

Suggested improvements would be when an activity is below the expected level of compliance, while urgent improvements are when an activity is significantly below the expected level of compliance and changes should be made within 30 days.

Serious failings would be when a member or applicant has not addressed an existing suggested or urgent improvement within a recommended timeframe without good reason. Those with a serious failing would be referred to the chairman and their membership or application could be withdrawn

Businesses that wish to join the RAiG must first undertake the audit and address any failings that it identifies before they can be accepted as a member.

“As with all of RAiG’s work it will evolve over time but setting up the audit process and getting it piloted by our founding members marks a huge step forward,” RAiG chairman Clive Hawkswood said.

“I very much see it as a benefit of membership rather than something that members or prospective members should be concerned about. As transparency has become something of a watch word for RAiG it was also important that we put this paper into the public arena.

“We now feel much more comfortable about encouraging other affiliates to join RAiG simply because we can be open about what is required.”

Sarah Ramanauskas, senior partner at Gambling Integrity, which conducted pilot audits, added: “We look forward to working with RAiG in the future, in the belief that the annual social responsibility audits will not only provide assurances about compliance, but also provide a platform for sharing best practice and enhancing standards of consumer protection.”

Aside from the audit, RAiG has also set out a number of other measures as part of its approach to promoting responsible gambling among its members.

Other items that are under consideration include marketing suppression for self-excluded customers, specialist training with a view to developing courses for members and non-members and publication of safer gambling information.

RAiG is also looking at improving co-ordination with gambling operators to seek a more consistent approach to regulation and compliance, as well as enhancing transparency by assessing how consumers might be made aware if a commercial relationship exists between an affiliate and an operator

“With the pilot successfully completed and with the audit arrangements now in place, we can concentrate on improving standards within the affiliate sector so that it plays its part, and is seen as doing so, in creating a safer gambling environment for consumers,” Hawkswood said.

“Against this background we are now actively encouraging other affiliates to apply for membership and expect to make further announcements on that front very shortly.”